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.

Hard Sell: A History of the Pet Rock

Amazon
Amazon

You may have heard the story of the Pet Rock, the Mexican beach stone that could be purchased in bulk for less than a penny, retailed for $3.95, and made inventor Gary Dahl a millionaire during a kind of novelty gift hysteria in late 1975. But Dahl didn’t really get rich off of the rock.

He got rich off of a cardboard box.

Dahl was working as a freelance advertising copywriter in California that year when, while having drinks at a bar with friends, the conversation turned to the destructive nature of pets. Dogs and cats ruined furniture. Worse, they required constant attention, from being walked to being fed to cleaning up after them. Dahl said that he didn’t have to worry about any of that because he had a “pet rock.”

It was, of course, a joke. And it got a laugh. But Dahl decided there could be more to it than that. He went home and began writing an owner’s manual for this hypothetical pet rock, which detailed how best to handle it, the tricks it could perform (“play dead” being the most popular), and how it could remain a faithful companion due to its “long life span.” The gag was not so much the rock itself but the way it was presented. In addition to the manual, Dahl conceived of a cardboard box with air holes that resembled the kind used by pet shops. It also bore a passing resemblance to a McDonald's Happy Meal container.

 

Dahl's motivation in making a serious effort to monetize his pet rock idea was due in large part to his precarious financial situation at the time—he was struggling to keep up with his bills. He recruited George Coakley and John Heagerty, two colleagues, to come on as investors. They both signed on, with Coakley investing $10,000—a not-inconsiderable sum in 1975, especially when the intention was to sell virtually worthless rocks.

The Pet Rock packaging is pictured
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Dahl, however, knew what he was marketing. Like chattering teeth, the Hula Hoop, and other fads, the Pet Rock was the beneficiary of good timing. Vietnam had ended but Watergate was still fresh; the country’s mood was slightly downcast, and Dahl believed people would see the inane nature of the Pet Rock and recognize the humor of it. He boxed the rocks with the manual and packed them in excelsior, which may be best known as comic book legend Stan Lee’s catchphrase but also means a softwood shaving pile meant for protecting fragile items. The rocks were purchased from a local sand and gravel company, which sourced them from Mexico’s Rosarita Beach. Dahl debuted the rock at a gift show in San Francisco in August of 1975, then waited for a reaction.

He got one. People understood the appeal right away and he began taking orders. Neiman Marcus wanted 1000 rocks. Bloomingdale’s later signed on. Newsweek did a story with a picture, which spread the word. Dahl had retail and media credibility for what was superficially a nonsense product. His bar joke was turning into a national phenomenon.

When the holiday season arrived, Dahl estimated he was selling up to 100,000 Pet Rocks a day. Ultimately, he would sell between 1.3 and 1.5 million of them within a period of just a few months. Coakley made $200,000 back on his initial $10,000 investment. Dahl gifted both Coakley and Heagerty with Mercedes. Making 95 cents in profit on each Pet Rock sold, Dahl earned over $1 million. He launched his own firm, Rock Bottom Productions, which was itself another joke. “You’ve reached Rock Bottom” is how the receptionist answered their phone.

 

The fad did not last—by definition, they’re not designed to—but Dahl was satisfied. His two investors were not; they "claimed they had received too small a share of the profits" and later sued Dahl for more revenue. After a judgment in the investors' favor, Dahl wrote them a six-figure check.

The Pet Rock is pictured
Amazon

There were attempts to prolong the life of the rock by offering a Bicentennial version in 1976—it had the American flag painted on it—and mail-order college degrees for them. Dahl sold Pet Rock T-shirts and Pet Rock shampoo. There were also copycat gifts, since Dahl could not really patent a rock. (He might have been able to obtain a utility patent because of the rock’s particular purpose as a companion, but he did not.) The humor was transient, however, and people had moved on.

Dahl had other ideas. There was the Official Sand Breeding Kit, which claimed to provide guidance on growing sand, and Canned Earthquake, which consisted of a coffee can that had a wind-up mechanism that caused it to jump around on a table. Neither was particularly successful. Dahl’s real passion, though, was buying and renovating a bar in Los Gatos, which he named Carrie Nation’s Saloon.

This was not without its problems, as people who believed they had the next Pet Rock would often stop by the bar to try and secure an audience with Dahl for his insight. Many times, their idea consisted of packaging bull or elephant excrement. There were also proposals to market a pet stick. Dahl had no patience for these inventors, believing the Pet Rock could not be duplicated. Later, he went back to advertising after taking what he described as an “eight-year vacation” following the success of his project.

The Pet Rock can still be found online, though it’s no longer Dahl’s business. He died in 2015. Of the unsold rocks he had left over at the end of the fad, he was indifferent. If they didn’t sell, he said, he would just use them to repave his driveway.

Costco Is Now Selling a $20 Cheese Flight

Costco
Costco

Whether or not you know why Costco employees check receipts at the exit or have a handle on all the perks the company offers, there's one thing about Costco you probably do know: In addition to getting awesome deals there, you can also get more unusual things like huge tubs of Nutella and mac and cheese—and now, you can add a cheese flight to that list.

Cosmopolitan recently reported that Costco Deals, an Instagram account “not associated with Costco Corp,” posted a photo of Kirkland Signature Cheese Flight, Variety Pack.

“Now a new summer cheese flight is available! Only $19.99! These sell out fast and seem to be in select stores! Grab it if you see it! This was found in NW Region,” the Instagram post reads.

That’s right—for less than $20, customers can buy a total of 1.8 pounds of fancy cheeses in one package: Yellow Door Creamery, Tuscan Hand-Rubbed Fontina, Jasper Hill Farm Cabot Clothbound Mature Bandage Cheddar, El Pastor Spanish Red Wine Soaked Goat, Busti Il Tartufo Pecorino Toscana (white truffles from Italy), and Yellow Door Creamery Monteau Alpine (aged for 150 days). Three of the cheeses are made from cow's milk, one from goat's milk, another from sheep’s milk, and four of them don’t contain the rBGH hormone.

Instead of paying a lot of money to get a wine-and-cheese flight or charcuterie board at a wine bar, you can now DIY a cheese-wine flight at home. The packaging even describes what kinds of wines and beers you should pair the cheeses with. For instance, the alpine goes well with pinot noir, champagne, and a hoppy or amber beer. (Luckily, Costco is also known for its affordable booze selection.)

The post has more than 3000 likes and almost 400 comments, so there’s a chance your local Costco might be out of this life-changing product. But while you’re looking for Costco deals, they have Eggo Waffles, boots, head boards, plants, and non-wine-soaked string cheese on sale, too.

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