14 Very Valuable Coins That May Be Sitting In Your Coin Jar

You might have more money in your pocket than you think.

Rare coins can fetch big money.
Rare coins can fetch big money. / japatino/Moment via Getty Images

You might be familiar with the high prices associated with collectibles like Beanie Babies or DVDs, but not all household treasures are taking up space in your closet or attic. Instead, you may want to sift through your change jar: Some rare coins can be worth far more than their face value. Just bear in mind that collectors are sticklers for condition, with uncirculated coins among the most desirable. To get top dollar, it’s got to be mint.

1. 1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny

It’s a little counterintuitive to think of a copper penny as an oddity, but it certainly was in 1943, when copper was needed for the war effort. That year, the U.S. Mint made pennies out of steel, then coated them in zinc for extra shine. However, it also accidentally made a copper batch. Very few of them ever left the facility, so the ones that did are worth—well, a pretty penny. Real 1943 copper pennies can go for up to $336,000, but be warned: There are plenty of fakes floating around. One quick trick is to hold a magnet up to the penny. If it sticks, it’s steel; if not, it could be copper.

2. 1955 Doubled Die Penny

You may think you’re experiencing blurred vision if you come across a doubled die penny, but it’s really just a case of slightly askew alignment during the minting process that results in a doubled image. In 1955, 20,000 to 24,000 doubled die pennies were released to the public, mostly as change given from cigarette vending machines. The doubling is visible on the letters and numbers almost entirely, with the bust of Lincoln remaining unaffected. This particular coin in “extremely fine” condition could be worth up to $2700.

3. 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter With Extra Leaf

State quarter collectors, you might want to check out your coin from the Badger State. Of the 453 million Wisconsin quarters minted in 2004, thousands were somehow marked with an extra leaf on a husk of corn; some speculate a Mint employee did it on purpose. Depending on the quality of the coin, these “extra leaf” coins have sold for up to $300. You should take special note of your pocket change if you live in the Tucson area—approximately 5000 of the coins have been discovered there.

4. 2009 Kew Gardens 50P Coin

Americans haven’t cornered the market on rare coins. In 2009, the Royal Mint released just 210,000 50p coins celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Emblazoned with the Kew Gardens Pagoda, the coin is a great return on that 50p investment—it can go for about $313 on eBay.

5. 2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter

This 2005 error wasn’t meant to be a statement on religion or government—it was simply the result of grease build-up in the coin die, filling the T in the word “Trust.” Grease build-up errors aren’t that uncommon, and they’re not always worth much. In this case, however, the mistake is in a pretty interesting place, which makes the coins worth more to some collectors. They’re not going to fund your early retirement by any means, but an extra $100 in your pocket is nothing to sneeze at.

6. 2000 Australian $1/10 Mule

Because of an error at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, a number of $1 coins were printed with the Queen Elizabeth II obverse usually reserved for 10-cent pieces (a hybrid that numismatists call a “mule”). The result is a double rim on the “heads” side of the coin, for which collectors might pay a few hundred dollars.

7. 2008 Undated 20P Coin

In November 2008, the Royal Mint misprinted somewhere between 50,000 and 250,000 20p pieces by accidentally omitting the date. Because there are so many of them in circulation, you won’t get rich off of finding one of these—but making $100 off 20p is still a pretty good deal.

8. 1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime

In the U.S., all coins are printed with a letter indicating the Mint at which they were made. “S” indicates San Francisco, “P” is Philadelphia, and “D” means Denver. (There are some retired Mints as well.) However, in 1982, the Philadelphia Mint forgot to put their identifying mark on a Roosevelt dime, the first error of that kind that was ever made on a U.S. coin. It’s unknown how many were actually distributed, but up to 10,000 of them were found in the Sandusky, Ohio, area after they were given as change at the Cedar Point amusement parks. Though thousands of them were released, a Roosevelt dime lacking a mint mark can sell for $50 in great condition.

9. 1997 Double-Ear Lincoln Penny

There were a lot of abnormalities about Abraham Lincoln’s appearance: He was uncommonly tall, making him our tallest president, and had a posthumously diagnosed facial asymmetry condition. But he didn’t have double ear lobes, which is why a 1997 penny that appears to give him such a feature is worth some dough. One sold on eBay for $70.

10. 1999-P Connecticut Broadstruck Quarter

Another state quarter worth more than 25 cents is a 1999 Connecticut quarter that was “broadstruck,” or not quite lined up properly with the machine. If you’ve got one in your possession, you could be $27 richer.

11. 2005 Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel

Are you the owner of a 2005 nickel that looks a little bit like the buffalo on the “tails” side was stabbed? That’s due to a gouge or deep scratch that was on the die when the coins were minted. You can probably get $50 or so for one, but if it’s in truly mint condition, the price can shoot up to $400.

12. Roosevelt Silver Dimes and Washington Silver Quarters

These days, dimes and quarters are made from an alloy of copper and nickel—no silver is involved at all. But prior to 1965, 10-cent and 25-cent pieces were at least 90 percent Ag, which means they have worth on the metals market. They’re not especially rare, but you can still offload the coins for significantly more than their face value thanks to their composition. A Roosevelt dime went for $9 on eBay, while a Washington silver quarter netted about the same.

13. 1983 “New Pence” 2P Coin

In 1983, the Royal Mint accidentally made 2-pence coins with a die used on the reverse from 1971-1981. It read “New Pence” instead of “Two Pence.” The mistake means the coins are treasured. One complete Royal Mint Martini set with the New Pence mistake fetched $1256 on eBay.

14. 2007 “Godless” Presidential Dollar Coin

In God We Trust? Not in 2007, apparently. That was the year that the new George Washington dollar coins were released in the U.S.; an unknown number of them were accidentally minted without the standard inscription “In God We Trust.” In 2007, experts predicted the flawed coins would eventually sell for about $50 when the market settled down. The prediction was pretty accurate—because tens of thousands of the coins have been found. The “Missing Edge Lettering” dollars, as they are officially called, could net $9 and up today.

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A version of this story ran in 2017; it has been updated for 2024.