If you’ve spent any time collecting coins, you know that imperfections or alterations in the minting process can result in interesting coins. These coin changes often go unnoticed. Most people probably don’t inspect each penny they get back as change.
But maybe you should take a closer look at the coins in your wallet. Over the years, the United States mint has made a few mistakes and a few conscious changes to coins and coin designs. Many of these coins are worth far more than the value printed on the coin itself.
So the next time you get change after a purchase, look out for these rare coins:
1. 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter with Extra Leaf
Estimated Value: $250-$300
The average Wisconsin state quarter minted in 2004 is only worth 25 cents. But mistakes in the minting process make some Wisconsin quarters worth more. The design on this coin features a cheese wheel, a cow, and an ear of corn. The corn in the regular design has just two leaves.
But some versions of the quarters have an extra line below the left front leaf which looks like another leaf entirely. There are two versions of the altered design-one with a high leaf and one with a low leaf. The high leaf is worth up to $300, while the low leaf is worth up to $250.
2. 2001-P Double Struck New York Quarter
Estimated Value: $400
This quarter has an obvious flaw. The coin design of George Washington’s head was struck not once, but twice. The result is a double design with two “United States of America” letterings and two partial Washington heads. The reverse side has two castings of the Statue of Liberty and outline of the state of New York.
New York state quarters from 2001 in perfect condition (and with no flaw) are worth about $1.75.
3. 1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime
Estimated Value: $30-$50
In the years preceding 1980, the Philadelphia mint minted dimes without a mint mark. In 1980, designers started to place a small “P” right above the date. In 1982, a number of dimes were printed without the mint mark.
Dimes from 1982 with no “P” are significantly more valuable than those with the mark. Be careful to look out for forgeries. Many forgers try to remove the “P” on their own, so you’ll need to have an expert authenticate your dime to be sure it’s real.
4. 1948-1963 Ben Franklin Half Dollar
Estimated Value: $12-$125
In 1948, the United States Mint changed the design of the half dollar from the Walking Liberty design to a profile of Benjamin Franklin. On the reverse side was featured an eagle (which has a certain irony, considering that Franklin wished the bald eagle hadn’t earned the distinction of being the national bird).
In 1963, John F. Kennedy’s assassination brought the production of Ben Franklin half dollars to an abrupt halt. The limited production of Ben Franklin coins makes them rare and therefore more valuable.
The Ben Franklin silver half dollar has a silver content of 90% silver. It is currently legal to melt silver half dollars for the silver, so you can use the coins for their silver if you wish. The silver is worth about $6 according to recent silver prices. However, silver prices change, so consult a coin expert for an up-to-the-minute pricing of your silver half dollar’s value.
5. 1932-1964 Washington Silver Quarter
Estimated Value: $7-$65
The first Washington quarters were minted in 1932, replacing the longstanding Standing Liberty design that was minted between 1916 and 1930. Since 1932, Washington quarters have had an uninterrupted run to present day. Small variations have abounded, with the bicentennial version in 1976 and the state quarters from 1999 to 2008.
But from 1932 to 1964, the US Mint used 90% silver and 10% copper to make the quarters. After then, the Mint used a mixture of copper and nickel to make the silver coloring.
Silver quarters in good condition are worth a valuable sum. Or you can melt silver quarters for their silver melt value of about $3.00.
6. 1943 Steel Penny
Estimated Value: $0.45-$10
During WWII, the US Mint made pennies from steel to preserve copper for the war efforts. The mint actually used a zinc coating to create the steel look. This change only lasted one year, making the steel pennies highly rare and valuable.
A coin in poor condition is only worth about 45 cents. These coins have been out in regular use and show wear of natural use over time. A steel penny in perfect condition (certified or pristine condition) can be worth as much as $10.
Start Checking Your Wallet for Valuable Coins Today
You never know when the change you use every day could reveal a treasure. Keep looking through your spare change for potentially valuable coins. And be sure to check back on our blog for the latest updates about coin collecting.