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Interesting Facts About Coins for Kids

Coins are so cool! There are tons of different stories behind every coin that you see. Come learn some interesting facts and things you probably didn’t know about the coins we use today!

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Ah, so you’ve come searching for trivia facts about U.S. coins. Welcome, oh curious one, to the best list of coin facts the world will ever see. Today, you’ll find out why coins are designed the way they are, which coins are collectible, the history of coins, and much, much more. We scoured countless databases to find this info, so you don’t have to. And, just so you know, even if you don’t use these facts every day, it’s still good to learn them. Why? Because learning is good for the mind. So, let’s get to it. Here are 50 facts about U.S. Coins.

50 Fun Facts About U.S. Coins

  1. Pennies cost more to make than they’re worth: It’s true, a penny costs just shy of two cents to make. Inflation, which is the rising cost of goods over time, has caused the penny to not be worth as much as it once was. 
  1. The U.S. Mint has plans to stop making pennies in 2023. 
  1. Coins are made from planchettes which are flat, precision cut pieces of metal.
  1. Quarters have more designs than any other U.S. coins. That’s because the back of quarters is changed practically every year. Some quarters represent states, and some represent historical figures. But there are dozens of collections.
  1. The dime is smaller than the penny, despite being worth more.
  1. The woman on the golden dollar coin, Sacagawea, draws her name from Hidatsa. Hidatsa is a Native American language in which Sacagawea means “Bird Woman.”
  1. Every coin is weighed and inspected before it leaves the U.S. mint.
  1. The first coin ever minted/made in the U.S. was the Fugio cent. It’s also called the Franklin cent. It was designed by the founding father, Benjamin Franklin. 
  1. The least valuable / lowest denomination coin ever produced in the U.S. was the half-cent. It was made between 1793 and 1857. 
  1. The most valuable / largest denomination coin ever produced in the U.S. was the $20.00 Double Eagle coin. It was minted from 1907 to 1933. 
  1. The Double Eagle $20.00 coin is considered one of the rarest U.S. coins of all. 
  1. Perhaps the absolute rarest coin of all is the 1794 Silver Flowing Hair Dollar. They can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  1. Funny enough, the 1795 Silver Flowing Hair Dollar sells for far less at approx $3,500. 
  1. The Silver Flowing Hair Dollar was only minted for a year. 
  1. The rarest 1794 Silver Flowing Hair dollar sold for just over ten million, which is the most any coin has ever sold for. And it was resold, for less than ten million, to a foundation where it’s rumored to reside today. 
  1. At 0.5 inches, the Type 1 Liberty Golden Dollar is the smallest coin ever minted. 
  1. The average coin lasts 30 years before it gets too worn down to be used. 
  1. Damaged money can be turned into the U.S. Mint for its denomination value. 
  1. The largest U.S. Mint facility is in Philadelphia, PA. Bonus Fact: Philadelphia was, at one point, the capital of the United States.
  1. In 2019, the U.S. Mint produced the heaviest coin ever made, the 2019 Apollo 50th anniversary 5-ounce silver dollar.
  1. In God, We Trust, a common phrase on most U.S. currency, is actually the motto of the U.S. And Florida. 
  1. The Latin phrase on U.S. coins and currency, E Pluribus Unum, means From Many, One. This phrase originates from The Founding Fathers of the U.S. 
  1. Did you know that no acting president can have their face minted on a coin during tenure? That’s why coins with presidents on them only have former presidents. 
  1. The ridges of coins, known as reeds, are a security measure. Once upon a time, people would smooth coins down to sell them for the metal they’re made from. Reeded edges prevent that practice. 
  1. Speaking of reeds, Conrad Reed, a farmer, found the first chunk of gold that later.
  1. inspired the famed California gold rush. He used the 17lbs hunk of gold as a doorstop. 
  1. There are four U.S. Mints responsible for making coins. They’re in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point. 
  1. Curious to know where your coin was made? To the right of the president’s face is a small S, D, W, or P representing the facility they were minted at. 
  1. The U.S. Mints make more coins than any other mint in the world. 
  1. Coin collecting has long been called “The hobby of kings.” That’s because only the rich can afford to spend money on money they don’t plan to spend. This is as good a time as any to remind you that a collector’s coin once sold for over ten million bucks!
  1. Even though pennies haven’t held their value, they still last quite a long time. The average penny stays in circulation for 40 years. 
  1. Old coins are melted down and repurposed. 
  1. The first mint production had a total value of $11,178.00. It was all in cents!
  1. Fun fact, the U.S. Mint once purchased copper from a mine owned by Paul Revere – yes that Paul Revere. 
  1. In addition to U.S. currency, the U.S. mint has also made coins for another country, over 40 of them!
  1. The 1792 Coinage Act made defacing and counterfeiting outright illegal. 
  1. The most sought-after U.S. coins for collectors are, in no particular order, the 1794-1795 Silver Flowing Hair Dollar, The Fugio Cent, The Gold Double Eagle, The Liberty Head Nickel, The Brasher Doubloon, The White Cent, the 1870-S Silver Dollar. While these are the most sought-after coins, dozens of other collectors’ coins are hard to come by and still fetch a pretty good price. 
  2. The dime was once spelled as “disme” but pronounced the same way. The coin and its original name come from the French. 
  1. Planchets, the metal shape from which coins are made, are mostly made in one of the U.S. Mint facilities. However, penny planchets are purchased due to the increased cost of making pennies.
  1. Did you know there is $2,040.7 billion worth of coins in circulation in the U.S.? It must weigh a ton! (Actually, rough estimate, their combined weight is probably closer to a few thousand tons.) 
  1. Flipping a coin isn’t really 50/50 – at least not all the time. Some coins, namely the penny, have a heavier head than tails. That causes the coin to land heads up 51 times out of a 100. Try it out at home and see for yourself!
  1. The first animal on any U.S. coin was the eagle. That should come as no surprise since the eagle is the national bird of the U.S.
  1. Queen Isabella of Spain is the first real woman to grace a U.S. coin. You can find her on the Queen Isabella of Spain Commemorative Quarter. It’s a specialty quarter made more for cultural value than actual spending.
  1. If the founding fathers had their way, we would exclusively use coins for money. That means no paper bills, and, likely, no cards. The founding fathers didn’t trust paper money which was fairly new at the time. We wonder what they would say about cryptocurrencies. 
  1. Once upon a time, coins were made from gold, copper, and silver. 
  1. In the 1700s there were 2 and 3 cent coins. 
  1. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S President, are both credited with designing the first coins ever minted.
  1. Nickels are actually only around 25% nicke, the rest is copper. 
  1. There are almost 30 billion coins in circulation in the U.S.
  1. The current half dollar coin has a portrait of 35th President of the U.S., John F. Kennedy!

Know any fun facts about U.S. coins that you don’t see here? Reach out and let us know. Or check out some of our other articles and learn more about how money works. Until next time! 

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About the Author

Chadhurst Sharpe

Chadhurst Jainlett Sharpe spent over six years working as a personal finance banker. He's passionate about giving young minds the tools and resources they need to succeed with money.

Last updated on: May 27, 2022