Key Date Collection


What are key date coins?

Lincoln Cent
A key date coin is generally the most rare or difficult to obtain coin of a series. In addition to their rarity, key date coins often carry an additional mystique and allure since they are usually the final coins needed to complete a set. One of the most well known key date coins is the 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln Cent.



What makes a key date?

Mercury Dimes

In many cases, the key date is the coin with the lowest mintage for a given series. Examples of this are the 1916-D Mercury Head Dime or the 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar. Both of these coins had extremely low mintages making them very difficult to locate in any grade.

In some cases, the key date coin is actually an error coin or scarce variety of the series. A particular variety may have obtained such popularity that collectors consider the coin necessary to complete their set. The two most famous examples are the 1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent and the 1937-D Three Legged Buffalo Nickel.

Most recent key dates have been special collectible coins issued by the mint which had limited distribution or a low authorized mintage. A perfect example is the scarce 1995-W Proof American Silver Eagle. Because these coins were only distributed as part of an expensive Proof Gold Eagle Set, very few of the coins were minted, creating a new modern rarity.


Complete your collection

Washington Quarter A complete collection will contain one example of each date and mint mark for an entire coin series. The key date coins can make this a monumental task. However, they also provide an opportunity to truly take your set to the next level. The perfect key date coin can enhance and enrich your entire collection.

Key Date Collection provides you with information and resources to help in your quest to find the perfect key date coin. The site includes images and mintage figures for the most notable key date coins. Each coin also has its own separate web page which provides additional background information as well as a selection of coins for sale.