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6 Collectible Money Gifts for the Holidays

You don’t have to break the bank to give these unique but affordable presents

A collector holds a magnifying glass over an old denarius coin of the Roman Empire.
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If you’ve ever gotten a U.S. Savings Bond as a holiday gift, you probably remember the seconds of fun you had with it. And that’s the problem with most money-related holiday presents (with the exception of cash, of course) — they’re usually not as exciting as an iPhone or a bike. Nevertheless, if you shop carefully, you can find a money gift that will bring a smile.

A Roman denarius

Price: $55 and up at coin dealers

Close up view of authentic ancient Roman denarius coins
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If you have a history-minded friend, consider an ancient coin, such as the denarius, the standard Roman silver coin during much of Rome’s history. The denarius weighed about 4.5 grams, which would translate into roughly $3.30 at today’s silver prices.

As with all coins, the price you pay depends on condition and rarity. Many coin dealers offer denarii in good or fair condition — meaning “worn but mostly legible” — for $55 or so. You can get a list of coin dealers from the American Numismatic Association.

Very rare and well-preserved coins go for much more. A Denarius of Brutus — yes, that Brutus — can fetch more than $300,000. The coin was struck to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar. With Brutus’ head on the front and two daggers on the reverse, it’s the only Roman coin to celebrate a murder.

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A Greek 5-million-drachma note

Price: $35 at Banknote World

Greek drachmas currency notes and coins
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Inflation is on everyone’s mind these days; the 5-million-drachma note is a relic of one of the greatest bursts of inflation in history. In October 1944, at the height of Greek inflation, prices soared 13,800 percent. The Greek government eventually issued a 100-trillion-drachma note.

And for just $12.99 at online auction sites, you can get a 10-billion-mark note from the epic inflationary bout during the German Weimar Republic, when, in October 1923, prices soared 29,500 percent.

Medals from the U.S. Mint

Price: $20 to $160

detailed view of a line up of Operation Iraqi Freedom commemorative medallions
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Medals can’t be spent, but the U.S. Mint produces them to commemorate historic events or individuals. They come in bronze or silver and range in price from $20 to $160, depending on their diameter and metal composition. This year you can buy medals commemorating the Navajo code talkers in World War II, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and Millard Fillmore, among others. One-ounce silver medals include tributes to the Air Force and Coast Guard and cost $65.

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Old stock certificates

Price: $19.95 and up from Scripophily.net

display of old stock share certificates
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These paper certificates — which are no longer traded on the exchanges — were often beautifully illustrated; others might be appealing to someone who works at a publicly traded company. Kids might like an early Marvel Enterprises certificate ($69.95), while techies might appreciate an old IBM certificate ($39.95). Auto fans might like a General Motors certificate ($19.95), and for those who want to pick a wiener, there’s Oscar Mayer, the famous hot dog company ($34.95).

A hand is holding up to the camera, a silver commerorative coin, showing the Old Mint in San Francisco.
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Special coins

Price: $30.95 and up

The U.S. Mint produces special edition coins, often in proof condition, which is a sharp, bright finish. Currently, you can buy silver dollars honoring Negro Leagues Baseball or the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor ($79 apiece). You can also get a set of five ornaments, each including one of the 2022 American Women quarters, for $30.95.

Special stamps

Price: $9.60 to $12

U.S. Postal Service new stamp featuring the James Webb Space Telescope during the First Day of Issue dedication ceremony at the U.S. Postal Museum on September 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. .
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The U.S. Postal Service cranks out commemorative stamps every year. There are special stamps for pretty much everybody. Some may become prized collectibles. Among this year’s crop are stamps honoring the James Webb telescope, Nancy Reagan, Pete Seeger, women’s rowing and, of course, love. They are all inflation-busting Forever stamps.