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Which Coins Are Valuable, and How to Find Out

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Do you have any coins in your pocket that are worth a significant amount more than their face value? You most likely do and don’t even know it. There are many valuable U.S. error coins and die types in circulation today; most people overlook these because they can be challenging to identify due to small distinguishing characteristics such as doubling the coin image or minute differences in size or spacing on the lettering.

In this blog post, we will provide tips for identifying these errors and what they’re worth!

What are the most valuable coins?

Most valuable coins most commonly include rare error varieties. Among these, most popular are the most common and least expensive bronze Lincoln cents from 1982 to 1998, which were struck on planchets (coin blanks) containing a small percentage of pure copper instead of the standard mostly-copper composition.

Because most of the pure copper blanks had been removed from circulation by people who found them and were identified as errors at a later date, they are now highly sought after. In 2010 one was valued at around $20, while today, it is easier to find these coins selling for over $30!

Another common error coin variety that has gained value recently is any off-metal strike Lincoln cent on silver planchets which were struck in a mint facility using a press intended for striking dimes or quarters with 90% silver alloy. These can be worth 25 cents to several dollars depending on their condition and mintage year (minted).

rare coins

1972 Lincoln cent

1972 was the first year that the copper alloy for pennies changed. Previously, they were 95% copper and five percent zinc, but 1972 altered to 97.62% zinc and only two percent copper with a pure tin plating, making them slightly smaller than previous issues. These are known as “Small Date” cents 1972 Lincoln Cent varieties.

These are valuable for more than just their rarity; they are also very sought-after because the 1972 Small Date cents were struck on planchets that had been punched from scrap metal leftover at the mint after other coins had already been produced on them.

1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime

Many people overlook 1982 no mint mark Roosevelt dimes as they are so common, and these coins can be worth a significant premium over face value. This coin is not considered scarce due to its mintage of 33,640,000, and it is very sought after by collectors because the Philadelphia mint struck 1982 no mint mark dimes on silver planchets. 1982 No Mint Mark Dimes are worth between $15 and $50, depending on their condition!

Presidential Dollar Edge Lettering Errors

These Presidential dollars are easily overlooked because they look like regular coins. What makes them valuable is that the edge lettering was misaligned when minted in 2007 and 2008, causing it so that all letters of “E PLURIBUS UNUM” face to the right instead of alternating sides coin. Presidential dollar error coins are precious, selling for between $30 and $300 depending on their condition.

Please read our blog post for more information about which pennies in your pocket are worth a significant premium over face value!

1995 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent

1995 was the first year that a 1995 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent struck. This mint error coin is worth between $20 and $200, depending on its condition!

That’s not all… There are many more coins like these; in this blog post, we will teach you to tell which coins are worth more than face value!

Certain Uncirculated State Quarters

Certain Uncirculated State Quarters are a popular variety among error coin collectors. Specific state quarter errors vary by date and mint. Still, the most common include extra trees in the background of the design on particular states, including Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, or Virginia quarters.

In 2008 an unknown quantity of these was found to have been released into circulation in the area of Tennessee, making them very valuable. Certain Uncirculated State Quarters can be worth anywhere from $25 to over $600, depending on condition!

Silver Half Dollars Silver

Half dollars dating back to 1794, and although they are no longer in circulation, many Silver Half Dollars minted before 1965 contain 90% silver. Silver half dollar coins were discontinued from production for general circulation after 1964 because of rising silver prices, but these continue to be struck today as special issue commemorative Silver Halves.

Two popular collectible Silver Half Dollars are the Silver Franklin Halves and Silver Kennedy half dollars. The Silver Franklin had 100,000 coins in 1950, while Silver Kennedys had mintages over 500 million.

Silver Franklin Halves can sell for anywhere between $20 to hundreds of dollars, depending on condition!

How to learn a coin’s price?

You may have some coins worth big money sitting in your pocket right now. There are many valuable U.S. error coins and die varieties in circulation today. People may overlook these coins because they have small distinguishing characteristics that are not easily recognizable, such as a modest doubling of the coin image or minute differences in the size or spacing of the letters in the legends.

The first step is to learn which of your pocket change coins is worth a significant premium over face value and what to look for on them:

  1. coins must be graded by an independent third-party grading service (such as PCGS)
  2. determine if you’re looking at an A.U. coin (almost uncirculated), M.S. coin (mint state), or P.F. coin (proof)
  3. Determining the value of a penny is as simple as knowing its date and mintmark. You can learn more about this process by reading Coin Collecting for Beginners.

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