1. 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter with Extra Leaf
The 50 state quarter series ran from 1999 to 2008. On the back of your Wisconsin quarter, count the leafs on the ear of corn. On most coins, there are 4 leafs. On the rare coins, there are five. If your coin has five leafs, it’s worth up to $300. That would buy a lot of corn.
2. Ben Franklin Half-Dollar
Between 1948 and 1963, Ben Franklin appeared on the half-dollar. In 1964, his image was replaced with JFK’s, following his assassination. Because of this fairly short run, the Ben Franklin half-dollar is worth much more than that 50 cents: $12-$125.
3. ‘In God We Rust’ 2005 Kansas State Quarter
It almost seems like someone did this on purpose. But in fact, the ‘T’ stamp was overgreased at the time of minting. This caused it to make a poor impression of the letter. Since all the letters are in caps, it looks like the word ‘TRUST’ was replaced with ‘RUST’. The ‘T’ remains, it’s just very hard to see. These coins are worth up to $100.
4.-6. 1969, 1972, and 1995 Double Die Penny
The U.S. minting service isn’t very good at catching this mistake. It has happened 3 times. What keeps happening is some pennies get double-printed.
Imagine using an ink stamp on a piece of paper. Make an impression on the paper and take the stamp away. Now try to make another impression on the exact same spot. Chances are you miss by just a little bit. This is what happens on the double die pennies. The 2nd stamp misses by just a bit. This causes the words on the coin to appear blurry and unprofessional.
If you find one of these (ugly) coins, expect $20-$50.
7. 1943 Copper Penny
This ordinary-looking penny is the most valuable wrong-metal coin in circulation.
Today, pennies are made of copper-coated zinc. They’re hardly pure copper as many people assume. But in the 1940’s, they were made of copper. Except when, during World War II, the U.S. government decided to delete any trace of copper in pennies. Copper was needed for ammunition. When changing the metal-recipe between 1942 and 1943, there was still some copper loaded into the machines. When production of the 1943 pennies began, it took 40 pennies before the stored copper was depleted.
Most 1943 pennies were made from steel. You can quite easily tell if your 1943 penny is made of copper. Try to pickup your coin with a magnet. If the coin sticks, it’s just a one cent steel coin. If it doesn’t stick, your penny is worth $1.7 million.
8. Presidential Dollar Coin with Lettering Errors
In 2007, the U.S. Mint began issuing dollar coins with faces of US presidents. A few of these coins, especially those depicting George Washington, have missing letters around the edge. These are valued between $20 and $45.
9.-11. 1998, 1999, 2000 Wide “AM” Reverse Lincoln Cent
The Lincoln cent had some quality control issues in 1998, 1999, and 2000. What happened was the mint used a proof die to strike circulation coins. How you can tell if your coin was an oops is if the ‘AM’ in ‘AMERICA’ is spaced far apart. It will be obvious.
1999 is the most valuable ($500), 1998 is the second most valuable ($25), and 2000 is the third most valuable ($20).
12. Uncirculated State Quarters
In the early 2000’s, many people were hoarding uncirculated $10 rolls of state quarters. As mentioned earlier, these quarters rolled out between 1999-2008. Once the economy worsened in 2008, many people began giving up their hoards. This increased demand for uncirculated rolls of state quarters. For certain in-demand states, you can get up to $50 per roll. Look for rolls from Georgia, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Illinois.
13. The 1989 No-P Washington Quarter
The Pennsylvania mint made a mistake in 1989. The ‘P’ stamp was clogged with grease for a time. It went unnoticed and some coins from that year have no mint letter stamp. So if you find a quarter without a mint letter for 1989, it came from Pennsylvania. One of these coins can fetch $50+.
14. 2001-P Double Struck “New York State” Quarter
Look at this coin and you’ll think you’re suffering from double-vision. The images and text are off-centered. Uncirculated examples of these quarters fetch as much as $3,000. Circulated examples are worth about $400.
15. 2007-D Sacagawea Dollar
This dollar is inscribed on the same press as Presidential dollars. The mint made an error and accidentally scribed at least one Sacagawea coin. One of these sold on auction recently for $10,000. However, there is only one known to exist. However, experts assume there must be many more. It’s unheard of for there to only be one coin in error.
16. 1955 Double Die Penny
This double die is caused because of a misalignment in stamping. It again looks like you have double vision when looking at the coin. All of the letters are doubled on this coin. Lincoln’s image remained unscathed. These pennies fetch anywhere from $300 (circulated) to $25,000+ uncirculated.
17. 1965 Silver Dime
The production of silver dimes came to a close in 1964, making a 1965 silver dime extremely valuable. To check your 1965 dimes, look at the edge of the coin. A silver dime will have a bright silver edge – no traces of brown which is found on the correct dimes.
Only a few have been found but experts believe there are more in circulation waiting to be discovered. They have a value of $9,000+.
Where Can You learn More About Valuable Coins?
The “go to” resource for U.S. coin values is the Guide Book of United States Coins 2017. The main substance of the Guide Book is U.S. coin values. The values in the book are easy to look up. The book has sections for each coin type, arranged in roughly chronological order by issue date, with separate entries for each major type of coin (e.g. mint mark, large or small date or other variety, etc.) Each coin type has values listed for whatever grades are appropriate for the market for that mint issue. It is important to remember that the figures given in the Guide Book are dealer retail prices, not the price your coin would bring if you tried to sell it to a dealer. So, even though the book is easy to use, it is not a guarantee of the market value of your coins.
Consider picking up a copy of The Guide Book of United States Coins 2017: The Official Red Book, Spiralbound Editionon Amazon. The book retails for less than 15 bucks, so its a good investment for the serious coin enthusiast.