I think most coin collectors reflexively look for and keep all pre-1965 silver coinage that happens to run through our pockets and purses. Granted, it’s pretty difficult to find silver coins in circulation anymore. But there are still plenty of 1942-45 35% silver Jefferson nickels, pre-1965 Roosevelt dimes and quarters, 1964 90% Kennedy half dollars, and 1965-70 Kennedy halves made from a 35% silver composition to be found with careful searching and a little luck.
The question I ask everyone reading this is, what else do you keep? Ever since my young days in the hobby during the early 1990s, I’ve made a habit of saving all Lincoln wheat cents and also pre-1960 Jefferson nickels. In more recent years, I’ve been keeping all pre-1982 bronze Lincoln cents. As you may know, it’s presently illegal to melt one-cent coins for their copper value, worth about 2 cents a pop right now. But I keep them anyway. It seems these are already trading for a speculative bullion premium. And who knows what will happen to that market should the rules change.
I also like keeping foreign coins, and – of course – errors and obvious varieties. But I’m always on the search for something new to look for. What is the next area among circulating pocket change that deserves attention? Has the time come to keep Lincoln Memorial cents, as this obsolete design replaced in 2010 by the Shield reverse Lincoln cent slowly ebbs from circulation? What about pre-Westward Journey nickels with the old Jefferson side profile on the obverse? If there’s one thing we’re fortunate to have in our hobby, it’s choices. And there’s certainly no shortage of coins to collect!