Old Coins From Outside the U.S.If your old coins do not say they are from the U.S., they will usually name some other country. In most cases, you should be able to make out what the country is, although it will usually be in the language of the country that issued the old coin. You can type the likely country name into a search engine such as Google to see what is available on the Web. There are thousands of coin-related Web sites out there for just about every type of old coin imaginable!
If the old coin doesn't have a country name that you can read, you can try visiting Don's World Coin Gallery to look it up. Don's Web site has over 25,000 photos of coins from more than 400 countries, past and present, and his Instant Identifiers page has images of dozens of coins that lack English inscriptions. Just match your old coin to the images, and click the image to get to his information and value page.
Old Coins That Can't be IdentifiedNot all of your old coins will be identifiable using the methods above. In this case, you might have a token, round, or pattern, all of which resemble coins. Try typing the inscriptions you can read into a search engine. As a general rule, if the old coin doesn't have a country name and denomination (saying how much it's worth) on it, it's probably not an official government coin. It can be very hard to learn more about these unofficial coins because very few people collect them, so they're usually not worth very much (if any) money.
Researching Old CoinsHere are some tips for researching your old coins:
- Don't be afraid to check ebay links if they come up in search for your old coin. Sometimes sellers have a lot of detail about the coins in the auctions, plus you'll get an idea of value.
- Be sure to check beyond the first page of search results. Sometimes you won't find what you need until several pages into the listings.
- If you find something very similar, but that doesn't quite match your old coin, try emailing whoever's page (or ebay listing) you're on for help! Send a photo of your coin.
- Try posting photos of your old coin in forums (like the one here at About.com Coins), or emailing it to coin dealers. Sooner or later someone will recognize it.