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.

Game of Thrones Studio Tour Opening in Northern Ireland in 2020

Emilia Clarke stars in Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke stars in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

In a move that only a super-popular series could pull off, it was announced last year that HBO’s Game of Thrones would be getting its own 110,000-square-foot tourist attraction in Northern Ireland (where much of the show has been filmed) featuring scenes, sets, and props from Westeros. And of course, fans were instantly interested.

While the initial plan was to open the attraction this year, that date has been pushed back and an expansion on the original concept has been added.

Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Ireland has partnered with Game of Thrones's creators to convert the studios into an exhibition. The sets were used for filming scenes in Winterfell and Castle Black, but the display will include props, costumes, live-action cosplayers, and set pieces representing all of the show’s locations.

While other interactive fan events have already been held, such as the display at SXSW and the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, this will be the most extensive and in-depth experience for diehard fans of the series.

When asked about the possibility of bringing a similar attraction to the U.S., Jeff Peters, HBO’s vice president for licensing and retail, told The New York Times that there were no set plans yet, but, “it’s possible. We get pitched all the time, and we’re open to a lot of different opportunities.”

[h/t The A.V. Club]

9 Original Star Wars Reviews

Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

A long time ago (42 years, to be exact) in a galaxy just like this one, George Lucas was about to make cinematic history—whether he knew it or not. 

On May 25, 1977, moviegoers got their first glimpse of Star Wars, Lucas’s long-simmering space opera that would help define the concept of the Hollywood “blockbuster.” While we're still talking about the film today, and its many sequels and spinoffs, not every film critic would have guessed just how ingrained into the pop culture fabric Star Wars would become. While it charmed plenty of critics, some of the movie’s original reviews were less than glowing. Here are a few of our favorites (the good, the bad, and the Wookiee).

  1. "Star Wars is a fairy tale, a fantasy, a legend, finding its roots in some of our most popular fictions. The golden robot, lion-faced space pilot, and insecure little computer on wheels must have been suggested by the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. The journey from one end of the galaxy to another is out of countless thousands of space operas. The hardware is from Flash Gordon out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the chivalry is from Robin Hood, the heroes are from Westerns and the villains are a cross between Nazis and sorcerers. Star Wars taps the pulp fantasies buried in our memories, and because it's done so brilliantly, it reactivates old thrills, fears, and exhilarations we thought we'd abandoned when we read our last copy of Amazing Stories."
    —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  2. Star Wars is not a great movie in that it describes the human condition. It simply is a fun picture that will appeal to those who enjoy Buck Rogers-style adventures. What places it a sizable cut about the routine is its spectacular visual effects, the best since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001Star Wars is a battle between good and evil. The bad guys (led by Peter Cushing and an assistant who looks like a black vinyl-coated frog) control the universe with their dreaded Death Star."
    —Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
  3. "Star Wars is like getting a box of Cracker Jack which is all prizes. This is the writer-director George Lucas’s own film, subject to no business interference, yet it’s a film that’s totally uninterested in anything that doesn’t connect with the mass audience. There’s no breather in the picture, no lyricism; the only attempt at beauty is in the double sunset. It’s enjoyable on its own terms, but it’s exhausting, too: like taking a pack of kids to the circus. An hour into it, children say that they’re ready to see it again; that’s because it’s an assemblage of spare parts—it has no emotional grip. “Star Wars” may be the only movie in which the first time around the surprises are reassuring…. It’s an epic without a dream. But it’s probably the absence of wonder that accounts for the film’s special, huge success. The excitement of those who call it the film of the year goes way past nostalgia to the feeling that now is the time to return to childhood."
    —Pauline Kael, The New Yorker
  4. "The only way that Star Wars could have been interesting was through its visual imagination and special effects. Both are unexceptional ... I kept looking for an 'edge,' to peer around the corny, solemn comic-book strophes; he was facing them frontally and full. This picture was made for those (particularly males) who carry a portable shrine within them of their adolescence, a chalice of a Self that was Better Then, before the world's affairs or—in any complex way—sex intruded."
    —Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
  5. "There’s something depressing about seeing all these impressive cinematic gifts and all this extraordinary technological skills lavished on such puerile materials. Perhaps more important is what this seems to accomplish: the canonization of comic book culture which in turn becomes the triumph of the standardized, the simplistic, mass-produced commercial artifacts of our time. It’s the triumph of camp—that sentiment which takes delight in the awful simply because it’s awful. We enjoyed such stuff as children, but one would think there would come a time when we might put away childish things.”
    —Joy Gould Boyum, The Wall Street Journal
  6. "Star Wars … is the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made. It’s both an apotheosis of Flash Gordon serials and a witty critique that makes associations with a variety of literature that is nothing if not eclectic: Quo Vadis?, Buck Rogers, Ivanhoe, Superman, The Wizard of Oz, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table … The way definitely not to approach Star Wars, though, is to expect a film of cosmic implications or to footnote it with so many references that one anticipates it as if it were a literary duty. It’s fun and funny.”
    —Vincent Canby, The New York Times
  7. "Viewed dispassionately—and of course that’s desperately difficult at this point in time—Star Wars is not an improvement on Mr Lucas’ previous work, except in box-office terms. It isn’t the best film of the year, it isn’t the best science fiction ever to be translated to the screen, it isn’t a number of other things either that sweating critics have tried to turn it into when faced with finding some plausible explanation for its huge and slightly sinister success considering a contracting market. But it is, on the other hand, enormous and exhilarating fun for those who are prepared to settle down in their seats and let it all wash over them.”
    —Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
  8. "Strip Star Wars of its often striking images and its high-falutin scientific jargon, and you get a story, characters, and dialogue of overwhelming banality, without even a ‘future’ cast to them. Human beings, anthropoids, or robots, you could probably find them all, more or less like that, in downtown Los Angeles today. Certainly the mentality and values of the movie can be duplicated in third-rate non-science fiction of any place or period. O dull new world!”
    —John Simon, New York Magazine
  9. "Star Wars is somewhat grounded by a malfunctioning script and hopelessly infantile dialogue, but from a technical standpoint, it is an absolutely breathtaking achievement. The special effects experts who put Lucas' far-out fantasies on film—everything from a gigantic galactic war machine to a stunningly spectacular World War II imitation dogfight—are Oscar-worthy wizards of the first order. And, for his own part, Lucas displays an incredibly fertile imagination—an almost Fellini-like fascination with bizarre creatures.”
    —Kathleen Carroll, New York Daily News

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