5 Best Places to See Rare Coins


When you collect rare coins, you can learn a lot from what you read in books, websites and forums. You also learn whenever you visit a show or a Grand Rapids coin dealer. However, if you wanted to see some of the most interesting specimens of rare coins, there are a few exhibits that nearly any collector would enjoy:

  1. The Smithsonian museums house the amazing National Numismatic Collection, and no coin collector’s trip to Washington, D.C., is complete without a visit to the Smithsonian. Many people don’t realize that the Smithsonian museums started with James Smithson’s donation of a large number of gold British sovereigns, with the purpose of melting and financing a national museum. The Smithsonian collection includes U.S. coins and currency, world coins such as U.S. Grant’s sizeable Japanese coin collection, and a large array of medals as well. It features some of the rarest specimens in the world, and entire famous collections like the Josiah Lilly collection of gold coins. The National Numismatic Collection contains over 450,000 coins and 1.1 million pieces of currency. The exhibit, housed in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, is sure to yield some interesting new tidbits for any collector, whether novice or expert.
  2. The U.S. Mints display some prime examples of both U.S. and world coins.  Because of the free coinage provision of the Coinage Act of 1792, people sent in foreign coins to be melted and re-minted into U.S. currency. The U.S. Mints decided, however, to set aside some of the best foreign collections of coins. The Mints also display examples of some of the most beautiful U.S. coins ever created. You can tour the Philadelphia Mint if you happen to be visiting that city, or the Denver mint as well (as long as you make reservations in advance).
  3. Numerous national coin shows have educational exhibits, and rare coins are often on display prior to auction. Google “national coin shows” for full lists. Good possibilities are the World’s Fair of Money (Chicago), the FUN Shows in Orlando, and several others would be well worth your time!
  4. TheWorld’s Fair of Money, sponsored by the American Numismatic Association, will be held August 5-9 this year near Chicago. This is a world class event where dealers, collectors, auction houses, and money organizations will have incredibly rare coins on display, and you’ll find educational displays on a variety of high-quality rare coins. There is also a Museum Showcase display, where one coin sure to draw a large amount of attention is the finest PCGS-certified 1922 Matte Finish High Relief Peace dollar, graded PCGS PR67.
  5. The ANA Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has another diverse exhibit of rare coins. This collection includes over 250,000 numismatic items, with rotating exhibits.

Apart from these, you may sometimes run across great websites, such as auction house websites that share a history and spectacular images of rare coins. When you do find an informative site, certainly add it to your bookmarks. However, viewing a coin online is somehow not the same as seeing it in person. So another option is to check with your local coin dealer and see what particularly interesting specimens they currently have in inventory. Whether you work with a Grand Rapids coin dealer or any other, you never know what you may find. At Mullen Coins, we always welcome your inquiries about great coins in our current inventory, so contact us, or visit us by appointment or at an upcoming show.

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