Mail Bag – Which is The Ugliest Coin?

Today’s Mail Bag question comes from Tim S. and it asks a question that has been debated for years. We all know that the United States Mint has produced some stunning coinage over its 200-plus year history. But it has also produced some, shall we say, less than stellar designs too. So which is the worst? What is the ugliest coin ever?

Tim writes,


What is the ugliest coin ever made by the mint? I have some ideas of my own but want to hear yours.


First Tim, thanks for writing in (Tim used the About page to contact me). I appreciate you taking the time.

You are probably not going to like my initial answer but I will start with, it depends.

Naming the ugliest coin depends on your own personal aesthetic and what you look for – what you like – in a coin. For the most part, we Numismatist like intricate designs in coins which means the simpler the design, the less likely most of us will like it. That one of the reasons that the Morgan Dollar is one of collector’s favorite coins. There is a lot of detail in that coin like there is in the Mercury Dime.

To your point Tim, many collectors find the Susan B Anthony Dollar and the Eisenhower Dollar to be unattractive (although I personally love the SBA) and some argue the Presidential Dollars are not all that exciting. But generally speaking, the Barber series of coins – Dime, Quarter, and Half Dollar – are considered to be the ugliest coins made by the US Mint. All three coins shared a Greek inspired Obverse and the Quarter and Half Dollar shared the same Reverse (the Dime was slightly different due to size constraints). When the coins were released, they were generally met with disdain both by the public and Numismatist.

1910 Barber Half Dollar
1910 Barber Half Dollar

Now if the Barber series of coins are the ugliest, it will ultimately come down to your own personal opinion – which is the beauty of our hobby. I, for one, don’t find them so bad yet a good friend of mine literally has one in his collection just so he had one and refuses to collect more as he finds them “hideous”.

Tim, you said you had ideas of which coin was the ugliest – lets hear them! Leave a comment and I encourage all readers to leave a comment on what they think is the one coin that is the ugliest of them all. (But be nice – everyone is entitled to their opinion!)

If you have a question or comment, use the About page to send it in to me.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.