Most collectors amass coins by adding different dates and different mintmarks to their collection. For example, a set of Morgan Dollars is not complete with one single 1881-dated coin struck at the Philadelphia Mint. As a true collector, you also need...
- 1881-CC mintmarked coin, stuck at the Carson City Mint
- 1881-O mintmarked coin, struck at the New Orleans Mint
- 1881-S mintmarked coin, struck at the San Francisco Mint
Together, these four coins give you a complete 1881 set, one from each mint. But in almost every series, there are varieties, some of which are extremely rare and extremely expensive. Some varieties are well-collected and important – such as the 1942/1 (1942 over 41) Mercury Dime. There are versions of both the Philadelphia overdate coin and the Denver overdate coin. Another important variety coin is the 1918/17-D Buffalo Nickel. This rare variety is the most elusive coin in the entire series of Buffalo Nickels and is likewise generally the most expensive. It is a well-respected variety and one that every collector aspires to own. In 1864, the U.S. Mint began striking the copper Two Cent Piece. This coin comes in both Large Motto and Small Motto varieties. The 1864 Two Cent Piece Small Motto is the rarer of the two varieties of this coin while the 1864 Two Cent Piece Large Motto variety is more common.
It would behoove you to learn how to tell the difference between these two varieties as, in Uncirculated condition, the price is about 15 times higher for the Small Motto variety. No discussion on varieties would be complete without noting the most famous of all American coin varieties – the 1955 Double-Die Lincoln Cent. While an average 1955 Lincoln Cent in Uncirculated condition worth about $1, the same date coin but in the Double Die variety is almost 3,000 times more expensive!
Variety is the spice of life and of coin collecting!