Check Your Loose Change for These Coins (You Might be Rich!)

Time to check your coin jar. These coins are worth so much more than their face value.
Updated Jan. 23, 2024
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plenty of collectible coins

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If you’re looking for a little extra cash, a good place to start may be your pocket change.  

While the value of coins you’ve tossed in a jar may be only a few dollars, you might find out the coins themselves are special in their own right. And by special, of course, we mean “worth a lot more than face value.”

You don’t have to be a coin collector to have picked up a few rare coins over the years. But if you aren’t an expert, you may not know the true value of the coins you have accumulated.

Here are 10 rare U.S. coins that are worth much more than meets the eye.

1970-S Small Date Lincoln cent with a doubled die obverse

James Bucki/sprucecrafts Rare penny

Who knew a small error could turn a one-cent piece into a $3,500 treasure? Minted in San Francisco in 1970, you can identify this rare coin by checking the lettering of “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.” If they have a doubled appearance, you’ve got a rare one.

Even rarer is the “small date” variety of this coin. Look at your Lincoln penny to see if the 7 in 1970 is level with the rest of the numerals in “1970.” If the 7 is a little lower, it’s not as rare or as valuable. But if it’s the same size, you’re in luck.

1955-P Doubled Lincoln Wheat Penny Rare penny

If you ever find yourself looking at your credit card statement and wondering how you can make more money, a good start may be checking your change for this penny.

The lettering on the 1955 Philadelphia mint one-cent piece has a noticeably doubled appearance that you don’t need to be a coin expert to identify.

Depending on the condition of the coin, this penny is valued anywhere from $784 to $17,057.

2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter with an extra leaf Rare quarter

Minted in Denver in 2004, this rare coin may be a little easier to come by because it went into circulation within this century.

The best way to identify this rare coin is to check the left side of the bottom of the corn cob depicted on the back of the quarter. The extra leaf added to the corn husk makes this 25-cent piece worth something closer to $100.

2005-P “In God We Rust” Kansas state quarter

James Bucki/sprucecrafts Rare quarter

While not all production errors will automatically increase the value of a coin, this state quarter misprint is yet another example of how they so often do.

Minted in 2005 in Philadelphia, the “T” in trust wasn’t quite stamped onto these quarters. If you can find one, you’ve just found an extra $100.

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny Rare penny

Worth well over a million dollars, this extremely rare find is the result of an error made during WWII. In 1943, to save copper for the war effort, the U.S. Mint began making pennies out of zinc instead of bronze. But when a few bronze planchets (the plain metal discs that coins are made of) were accidentally used, one of the rarest U.S. coins was minted.

If you have any pennies from 1943, check to see if they are more brown than gray. If you have one that seems promising, find a local numismatist (coin expert) to see if you’re sitting on a million-dollar fortune.

Pro tip: Coin collecting is only one of many ways you can earn side cash. Here are  6 unusual ways lazy people are boosting their income.

2005-D Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel Rare nickel

The common Jefferson nickel has a picture of a buffalo on the back. But if you have one minted in 2005 in Denver, you might have something worth quite a bit over its $0.05 face value.

Check the picture of the buffalo very carefully. Does the buffalo on your nickel appear to have been speared? If so, you are the lucky owner of a minting error that could earn you more than $1,000.

1964-P Roosevelt Dime: Special Mint Set Rare dime

Unlike most of the coins on this list, the 1964 Roosevelt dime is rare because it was released in a special mint set, not because it was the result of an error.

Special strike dimes typically have smooth, satin-like finishes and sharp, squared-off edges. Find one of these rare dimes at the bottom of your purse and you’re looking at a payday of anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 dollars.

Put your earnings in the best savings account you can find and allow your money to keep earning money for you.

2007 Presidential dollar with lettering error Rare coin

If you began saving the Presidential coins released toward the end of the 00s, you may want to double-check your collection for errors.

One error that could earn you up to $3,000 is lettering around the edge of the coin that is incomplete or missing. If you have an early George Washington dollar, the chance it has this error is even greater.

1922-D Wheat Penny with no mint mark Rare penny

In 1922, the Denver mint produced 7,160,000 wheat pennies. But some of its coin dies were overused and the D in the mint marks of that batch of pennies were hardly visible. In some cases, the D was missing entirely.

If you are in possession of one of these rare coins, you should be aware that, depending on its condition, it may be worth anywhere from $4,000 to $11,000.

1999 Lincoln Memorial Penny with wide AM Rare penny

The U.S. mint struck two main varieties of the Lincoln Memorial cent at the end of the 20th century.

On one type, the letters AM in the word “America” at the edge of the coin are so close that they are almost touching. But the rarer variety has the A and the M set wider apart.

In well-circulated condition, this penny could fetch $45. In new, or uncirculated, condition, it could be worth as much as $530.

Bottom line

W.Scott McGill/Adobe Lot of change money

Go check your coin jar and find out if you have any of these rare and valuable coins. And when you’re done, take the non-valuable coins to the bank and exchange them for paper money. Why? Because the United States is facing a major coin shortage.

If you are reading this and remembering all the times you noticed your penny looked a little weird but spent it without a second thought, you’re hardly alone.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s worth examining your coins. You may have a $1,000 nickel on your hands. Coin collecting is hardly the only way to make extra money on the side. Check out these other legitimate ways to boost your bank account.

Author Details

Olivia Christensen Olivia Christensen is a freelance writer and columnist whose work has been featured in HuffPost, Business Insider, and more. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband and three kids, and when she isn't writing, she's probably hiking.

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