15 Valuable Coins That May Be In Your Coin Jar

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

You may want to sift through your change jar before you head to the bank to cash it in. Some rare coins, including these 15, can be worth a nice chunk of change.

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 $10,000, but be warned: There are plenty of fakes floating around.

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 about $1800.

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 $1499. 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 £150 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 have paid nearly $3000.

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 up to $300.

9. 1997 DOUBLE-EAR LINCOLN PENNY

There were a lot of abnormalities about Abraham Lincoln’s appearance: He was uncommonly tall and had a posthumously diagnosed facial asymmetry condition, among other things. But he didn’t have double ear lobes, which is why a 1997 penny that appears to give him such a feature is worth up to $250.

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 $25 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. Though they typically sell for much less, a Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel has sold for up to $1265.

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.

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 could be valued at up to £700 today.

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, go for anywhere from $29 to $228.

15. 1992 “CLOSE AM” PENNY

Coins have to be minted very precisely, and any deviation from precision raises collectors’ eyebrows. In 1992, the spacing between the “A” and the “M” in “United States of America” on the reverse side of the penny was closer together than usual, hence the nickname “Close AM.” There are only five known examples of the 1992-P (minted in Philadelphia); when one was auctioned on eBay in 2012, it sold for $24,056.63.

A 1992-D (minted in Denver) Close AM is also a great find. Fifteen of them are known to exist; one of them sold for $20,700 in 2012.

10 Out-of-This-World Facts About Space Camp

U.S. Department of Education, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
U.S. Department of Education, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Each year, millions of kids fill their summer vacation days with songs, crafts, and outdoor activities at camp. Summer camps across the U.S. share many similarities, but Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama is unique. Instead of canoeing and archery, young attendees get to ride spacecraft simulators, build robots, and program computers. It’s the closest young civilians can come to working for NASA.

Space Camp welcomed its first aspiring astronauts in 1982, and since then, more than 900,000 campers have attended the program. From its famous alumni to its depiction in film, here are some more facts about Space Camp.

1. The movie SpaceCamp boosted its popularity.

SpaceCamp, the movie inspired by the real camp in Huntsville, Alabama, wasn’t a huge hit when it debuted in theaters in 1986. It grossed just $9,697,739—a little more than half its reported budget. But it didn’t fade into obscurity completely. The film saw success in the home video market and became popular enough to leave a lasting mark on pop culture. Dr. Deborah Barnhart, the real camp’s director for part of the 1980s, told AL.com that attendance doubled following the movie’s release. SpaceCamp shot many of its scenes on location at the Huntsville center. The life-sized space-shuttle flight-deck and mid-deck built for the film were donated to the camp and used as a simulator there from 1986 to 2012.

2. Space Camp was the brainchild of a missile designer.

Some people may be surprised to learn that Space Camp is located in Alabama and not Florida, home to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center (the movie SpaceCamp is set in Florida despite being filmed in Alabama). But Huntsville, Alabama, has been a major aeronautics center since the 1950s when Wernher von Braun and his team of rocketeers moved there. The German scientist had designed ballistic missiles for the United States military after World War II, and shortly after relocating to Huntsville, he redirected his attention to space flight. He launched the U.S. Space and Rocket Center as a way to demonstrate the area’s rocket technology to tourists. Von Braun also came up with the idea for a science-focused alternative to traditional summer camps after seeing children touring the rocket center and taking notes. Space Camp opened at the center in 1982, a few years after his death.

3. Space Camp activities go beyond space.

The kids at Space Camp do more than ride giant rocket simulators. After enrolling, young campers choose a track to focus on. They can study aviation and learn air navigation and combat techniques, choose robotics and build their own robots, or stick to space-centric subjects and activities. The newest Space Camp experience, cyber camp, teaches kids programming and online security skills.

4. The Space Camp simulators don’t make campers sick.

Space Camp is home to three simulators based on real-life training rigs astronauts use to prepare for space missions. The most intense rig is the multi-axis trainer, and just watching a video of it in action may be enough to make you feel queasy. But according to the camp’s website, campers “should not become sick or dizzy on any of our simulators.” On the multi-axis trainer, this is due to the fact that the rider's stomach remains at the center of the chair throughout the simulation, even as the chair itself is spinning in all directions. Motion sickness is caused when your inner ear fluid and your eyes send your brain conflicting information. Because the rig tumbles so wildly, the rider's inner fluid never has a chance to shift and make them want to vomit.

5. Space Camp boasts some famous alumni.

Space Camp attracts bright young minds from around the world, including a few celebrities. Chelsea Clinton attended the week-long program when her father was in the White House in 1993. Amy Carter, Jimmy Carter’s daughter, and Karenna Gore, daughter of Al Gore, also enrolled in the camp. But not every famous Space Camp graduate came from the world of politics: South African actress Charlize Theron is another notable alumna.

6. Several Space Camp graduates went on to be astronauts.

Many kids who go to Space Camp dream of growing up to be astronauts, and for some of them, that dream becomes a reality. The camp’s alumni includes the “Tremendous 12”—a handful of Space Camp graduates who’ve made it to space. Most members of this elite group were trained by NASA, but a few of them went on to work for other space agencies like the ESA.

7. Most Space Campers end up in STEM professions.

Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
GPA Photo Archive, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Even if they don’t go on to be astronauts, most Space Camp attendees have bright futures ahead of them. According to the camp, 61 percent of graduates are studying aerospace, defense, energy, education, biotech, or technology, or they’re working in one of those fields already. Of the alumni pursuing careers in STEM, half of them said that Space Camp inspired that decision.

8. There’s a Space Camp for visually impaired kids.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama hosts a second Space Camp that shares a lot in common with its original program. There are space simulators, astronaut-training missions, and even scuba diving—the main difference is that the kids there are blind or visually impaired. Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students, or SCIVIS, offers children in grades 4 to 12 a crash course in various STEM subjects. They use accessible tools, like computers adapted for speech and reading materials printed in braille or large print. Activities for the week-long camp are organized by teachers familiar with the needs of visually impaired students.

9. Double Dare sent winners to Space Camp.

After conquering the obstacle course of the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare, kid contestants were sent home with various prizes. Though no doubt exciting in the 1980s and '90s, many of the prizes—which included encyclopedias, cassette recorders, and AOL subscriptions—haven’t aged well. A trip to Space Camp was one of the biggest awards players could win, and it’s one of the few that would still have value today.

10. Adults can go to Space Camp too.

If you never went to Space Camp as a kid, you haven’t missed your chance. While the regular Space Camp is only open to kids ages 9 to 18, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center also offers camp programs for older space enthusiasts. Family Space Camp is designed for groups that include at least one child and one adult, and if you don’t plan on tagging along with a kid, you can enroll in the three-day Adult Space Camp experience that’s strictly for campers 18 and older.

The Hallmark Channel’s First-Ever ‘Christmas Con’ Is Comin’ to Town

macniak/iStock via Getty Images
macniak/iStock via Getty Images

Bookworms have Book Con, comic lovers have Comic Con, and now, courtesy of the Hallmark Channel, Christmas fanatics will finally get the gift they’ve surely written to Santa about more than a few times: Christmas Con.

News 12 New Jersey reports that the festive convention will take place at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison from November 8 through November 10.

If you binge-watch Hallmark Channel’s schmaltzy feel-good flicks faster than St. Nick scarfs down a giant gingerbread cookie, this is your chance to catch its biggest stars in one decked-out hall. Mean Girls (2004) alum Jonathan Bennett will emcee the convention, The Walking Dead’s Alicia Witt will perform a concert, and panels will include guests like Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Joan Hart, and Bennett’s former Mean Girls co-star Lacey Chabert (who will hopefully be showered with enough candy canes to make up for the time that her character, Gretchen Weiners, got none).

In addition to its celebrity events, Christmas Con will also include a Christmas market with gifts, handmade decorations, and holiday treats. You can also don your most lurid holiday sweater for a chance to win a $500 grand prize in the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, or bake a gingerbread house fit for a prince in the Gingerbread Wars, which could win you $1000.

If you're hoping to attend, you might have to hunt for resale tickets on social media or third-party sites—the passes are already almost sold out on the official website. If you’re willing to shell out a little extra for a snapshot with romance royalty, most of the stars are offering photo opportunities for around $50.

Looking for a less intense way to welcome the holly, jolly holiday season? Watch the 20 best Christmas movies, Die Hard (1988) and all.

[h/t News 12 New Jersey]

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