So-Called Dollars

Frequently Asked Questions

I have one of these. Is it rare? What is it worth?

Sorry to dash your hopes, but chances are that what you have -- whatever you have -- is worth 'not much'. Very few So-Called Dollars are worth more than $100, and even fewer are worth more than $1,000. Odds are that you have a common one that is worth $20 or less... simply because it is always more likely to have a common piece than a rare one. That's why the common pieces are common, after all.

The best current reference for pricing on So-Called Dollars is the section of eBay devoted to these pieces. If you look at the recently-completed listings for So-Called Dollars on eBay (requires a free eBay account), and you can find a recent sale for the same piece that you have, that will give you a good idea of the real value. Of course, you need to take care to notice whether an item actually sold. If you find something that matches your piece and it didn't sell at a certain price, then you can know that yours is probably worth 'less than that', although you still don't know how much less.

Rarities and values are intentionally omitted from this web site. Our best guesses are included in the printed Second Edition. We do want to give you a reason to buy the printed version, after all!

If you don't like any of those answers, feel free to contact us. Be sure to include pictures with your message. We may or may not be able to help you, but we definitely can't make value judgments without seeing as least some sort of picture of what we're supposed to be evaluating.

Do you have any more information about [whatever]?

Rarity and value information is included in the printed Second Edition. Beyond that... everything else we have is here.

Don't you have better pictures?

No, we don't. The pictures on this website are the best ones we have found for each design type. We would happily accept better pictures if you would like to donate them. We will of course give credit for any that we use.

Why isn't [some other piece] included?

Hibler and Kappen in the First Edition defined So-Called Dollars in this way:

This present work is restricted to medals of an exposition, commemorative, monetary and kindred nature. ...From the beginning, however, it was necessary to establish the following specific limitations in order to contain our efforts within a manageable perimeter:

  1. United States only.
  2. Minimum diameter - Size 21 (1-5/16 inch or 33mm).
  3. Maximum diameter - Size 28 (1-3/4 inch or 45mm); but silver Bryan Dollars are listed.
  4. No holed or looped material unless struck plain also. Our Nos. 1 through 3 are the sole exceptions.
  5. No plastic, fiber or similar material unless issued also in one or more metals.
  6. No purely presidential or political medals.
  7. No school, college or athletic medals; no coin club or U.S. Armed Forces medals.
  8. No calendar or store cards; no trade tokens or emergency money.

So... some items are actively excluded because they violate one or more of those criteria. Additionally, we have made a conscious decision in producing the Second Edition not to extend the date range of the First Edition. The First Edition didn't include any item struck after 1963 for the very simple reason that it was published in 1963 and it couldn't list anything more recent. The Second Edition doesn't list anything newer either.

There are probably thousands of additional pieces that could (should!) qualify for listing. Perhaps some day this reference will be extended to include them all. For now, this is what we have.

Please see some additional discussion on our New Discoveries page.