You’ll often have to go out of your way to get dollar coins, turning to auctions, estate sales, banks, and even the U.S. Mint to find them. “Coins in circulation” — that is, coins that you use to purchase things — generally just don’t include dollar coins. In fact, more than half of all dollar coins ever minted are currently in government vaults. That said, dollar coins, especially those that are no longer accepted as payment, are coveted by collectors. See below for more details about the different dollar coins that have been minted (so you know what you’re buying) and the best places to find dollar coins of all sorts for sale.
Types of Dollar Coins
All U.S. minted coins can be used for legal tender, though you’d be better off collecting or selling some dollar coins. Coins like gold dollars and silver dollars are worth far more than one dollar. Furthermore, other coins like the presidential coins, though not worth much more than one dollar, have a certain sentimental value that may make them worth keeping in your collection.
In 2007, the U.S. began the Presidential Coin Program. The faces of past presidents were engraved on coins each year until 2011. While millions of these coins were minted, they never really made it into circulation. From 2012 to 2016, new coins were released, though this time, they were only minted for collectors.
The Sacagawea dollar coin was minted in 2000. Unpopular for day-to-day purchases, this coin was only minted for collectors from 2002 through 2008. In 2009, the coin underwent an important change due to The Native American $1 Coin Act and became the Native American dollar coin. This version was only available directly from the U.S. Mint in large quantities. The Native American dollar coin now changes in design yearly to honor individual Native Americans and individual tribes.
Morgan Dollars and Peace Dollars are the most collected U.S. coins. While they were minted for just $1, they are both made of 90% silver. The Morgan Dollar was introduced in 1878 and was minted until 1904. The coin came back in 1921 for just one year. That same year, the Peace Dollar was introduced to commemorate the end of World War I. The coin was minted until 1928 and then came back from 1934 to 1935.
Dollar coins made of actual gold were minted from 1849 to 1889. The U.S. produced fewer of these coins than any other in U.S. history. They also happen to be small in size, due to the high value of gold. Three different types of Gold Dollar coins were produced throughout its minting, each including an image of Lady Liberty. Type 1 was minted from 1849 to 1853 and Type 2 was minted from 1854 to 1855, and Type 3, the most common of the coins, was minted from 1856 to 1889.
Where to Get Dollar Coins
We scoured the internet to find the most common places coin collectors make their purchases. Depending on what coins you’re searching for, you may have to search multiple places. See our list below to find out which option might be best for your specific needs.
Many banks have dollar coins sitting in their vaults, simply because most people don’t like using them for making actual purchases. It’s worth checking with your bank, or even a bank at which you’re not a customer, to see if you can trade your dollar bills for dollar coins. Many coin collectors purchase boxes of dollar coins at a time in an attempt to find the exact coins they’re after.
At banks, available dollar coins will include any that were minted for circulation, like Presidential Dollars and Sacagawea Dollars. Banks are unlikely to have older gold and silver dollars.
Check your local newspaper or do a quick Google search to find local auctions. If you’re just beginning your coin collection or looking to acquire some new coins, local auctions are a good option. If, however, you’re looking for something more specific or rare, you’ll probably have to check out online auctions. Heritage Auctions is a well-established, coin-specific auction site that offers offline auctions as well. Auctions — especially coin-specific auctions — can have any kind of dollar coin, but selections will vary.
Estate and Garage Sales
A quick look at your local newspaper or a Google search will lead you to estate and garage sales near you. You can also try estatesales.net to search for online listings of nearby estate sales. Local estate sales like this will likely offer smaller selections of coins, so they’re best if you’re just beginning your coin collection or looking to acquire some new, non-specific coins.
eBay offers a vast variety of coins, and because most sellers are just collectors, you’re more likely to find a decent deal. You can avoid getting fake coins by checking out seller reviews and looking for clear photos accompanied by thorough descriptions. eBay has a designated section for dollar coins, and you can find almost any kind of dollar coin on eBay.
Amazon, while not as established in the coin department as eBay, also has a designated section for collectible coins, where you’ll be able to find almost any kind of dollar coin. The “refine by” section on the left allows you to sift through the endless options. Two-day Prime shipping is available on many coins so if time is not on your side, (or if you’re just impatient) Amazon is a great option — browse its selection online.
United States Mint
The U.S. Mint website is a very reliable place to purchase coins online. Usually, you will only find current coins for sale here. Occasionally, coins are released for a limited time, just for collectors. The U.S. Mint website is the best place to purchase those releases — they’ll come in mint condition and often with some kind of protective case. The website also allows you to sign up for subscriptions for annual coins and sets.
All of our options come recommended by other coin collectors on the web, but your specific coin collection desires will determine which will be best for you. From the more common Presidential Dollars and Sacagawea Dollars to the rarer gold and silver dollars, these venues are sure to contain some good finds for you.
Interested in other uncommon currency? See our research on where to get $2 bills.