You don’t have to be a coin collector to make it big time off of loose change. In fact, some of the most valuable coins may be hiding right in your cupholder or change purse. So, if you’re reaching for your change jar, keep your eyes peeled for these rare coins.
1. 1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny
Copper pennies were hard to come by in 1943 because copper was needed for the war effort. So, the U.S. Mint made steel pennies coated in zinc instead. However, the Mint accidentally made a batch of copper ones too. Very few of these coins ever left the facility, but the ones that were circulated are now worth some serious dough. Use a magnet to determine if it is real or not — copper won’t stick. Real 1943 copper pennies sell for anywhere between $10,000 and $1.7 million.
2. 2005 In God We Trust Kansas State Quarter
In 2005, some of these coins were printed with the “T” in Trust filled in. This error is because of grease build-up in the coin die. These sorts of errors aren’t uncommon, but the placement of this particular error is in a pretty interesting place. These coins therefore are worth more to some collectors and can put an easy $100 in your pocket.
3. 1982 No Mint Roosevelt Dime
In the U.S., all coins are printed with a letter indicating the Mint where they were made. S stands for San Francisco; D means Denver; and P is Philadelphia. But, in 1982, the Philadelphia Mint neglected to put a P on the Roosevelt dime. No one knows how many thousands were put into circulation, but nearly 10,000 of these valuable coins were found in Sandusky, Ohio after they were used as change at Cedar Point. One of these rare dimes can sell for up to $300.
4. 2007 Presidential Dollar Coins Missing Edge Lettering
Presidential dollars are typically printed with the words In God We Trust on the edge. But in 2007, a batch of these coins was minted without the inscription. Tens of thousands of the coins have been found in the past decade and can go for anywhere from $29 to $228.
5. 1999 U.S. Wide AM Reverse Lincoln Penny
A calibration error produced an unusually large space between the A and M in America on the reverse side of at least 1,000 pennies in 1999. The mint also make this error in 1998 and 2000, but the 1999 coin is the rarest example of this mistake. These coins can be sold for a couple hundred to even a few thousand dollars.
Similarly, in 1992 the spacing between the A and M were closer together than usual. There are only five known examples of this Philadelphia minted coin, however, making them much rarer than the wide AM penny. One even sold on eBay for $24,056.63 in 2012.
6. 1995 U.S. Double Die Obverse Penny
Slightly skewed alignment during the minting process resulted in a double image on these double die pennies. The doubling is visible on the letters and numbers but the effigy of Lincoln remains unaffected. After 1995, the Denver and Philadelphia Mints used a single hub technique to eliminate the possibility of producing double die coins. Experts estimate 20,000 to 24,000 of these coins are in circulation today and one found in extremely fine condition could be worth up to $1,800.
7. 2009 Lincoln Presidency Cent
Four different designs were printed on the reverse side of 2009 Lincoln pennies. Those that depict the Capitol Dome have the smallest mintage of the four. Less than 130 million were minted in Philadelphia while Denver minted 198 million. In exceptional condition, those in lower mint states sell for about $10.
Back to the Basics
If digging through change in search of valuable coins has peaked your interest, coin collecting may be a hobby you’d enjoy. Many collectors order rolls of coins at their bank and search through those as well. Others prefer looking for coins with a metal detector or buying coins from dealers. Implementing these different methods help collectors find rare coins quicker.
Knowing where to look is important, but so is what to look for. To determine what a coin is worth, you must consider what metal the coin is made of, its condition, and how rare it is. And, once you know where to search and how to determine valuable coins, you can begin a more effective search.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, Hotel Online, SevenRooms, Point 2 Home and more!