These Rare Coins Are More Valuable Than You May Think
There’s a value in coins. Sometimes, the value of a coin is worth much greater than its face value. This is likely due to the rarity in the material it was made out of, how many of those coins are in circulation, or due to an error at that mint where the coins were pressed incorrectly.
If you’re a coin collector, know of a coin enthusiast, or simply have spare change lying around the house, you may want to take a closer look at your collection. You might just be lucky enough to have a rare coin on your hands that could be worth thousands. Check out this list of some of the most rare and valuable coins out there!
Connecticut Regular Strike, 1999
In the midst of the production of any product, an error is a pain. Not only does it create an impurity or defect, but it’s also not fun when you take joy in your craft.
Over time, these slights turn into something special, as is the case with this 1999 quarter. What makes this error unique is that the stamp actually sort of causes our first president’s head to protrude a tad from the coin. In hindsight, if you had gotten this as part of your change, you might have thought it was on purpose. Today, you can get $25 for it.
Walking Liberty, 1919
When so much of western civilization is embroiled in war, it might not be the best time to come out with an inspiring coin. Or maybe it’s good for morale.
Walking Liberty was a half dollar that came out when a majority of our young men were deployed overseas. Just like how women purposely wore red during WWII to irritate Hitler, this design was meant to encourage shows of patriotism across the US. Due to shortages of everything, there weren’t many of these made. Want to display one in your home? Expect to pay $200,000 for it.
Alaska Rural Rehabilitation, 1935
The Great Depression hit the whole nation in a devastating way. However, some places were hit worse than others.
One of the worst-hit areas was Alaska. In an effort to offer a fresh start to those most impacted, President Roosevelt used the Federal Emergency Relocation Administration to move citizens somewhere new and give assistance. These coins were part of that package. Over time, they were no longer needed and were sent to be melted back from whence they came. These $10 coins are now worth $1,750.
Hawaiian Plantation Token, 1882
Like the $10 Alaskan coins, the Hawaiian Plantation Tokens were a limited-time, limited accepted form of money.
The only place that actually would take these coins as currency was sugar plantations. If only someone from that time period could see their worth nowadays. These tokens, which were almost completely useless back then, are now being sold for $11,000.
S Barber, 1894
There’s rare and then there’s this. It would take a literal miracle to come across one in the wild today.
The main reason for that is that out of 24 ever made, only nine are believed to have made it this far out. Why were there only 24 dimes with Lady Liberty? You’ll have to ask the San Francisco Mint. They seem to do uncalled-for things more often than any other mint, as we’ll share more about later on. These coins are valued at $2,000,000!
Kennedy Silver Dollar, 1964
They say a good accountant is worth their weight in gold. These half dollars are worth their weight in silver. Well, more, but you get the drift.
There was a time when coins were made with precious metal. It just so happened that this was the last year the half dollars were made from 90% silver. In the following several years, the amount of silver in these silver dollars dropped by half. Beyond that time, the half dollars were made of other materials. So, you can get up to $1,500 if you happen to come across one.
Aluminum Penny, 1974
We all want to fit in. That need for acceptance doesn’t stop with the way we look. We also want our coins to fit in. At least the U.S. Mint did. Who needs a penny to stand out anyway? Well, the truth is, they were looking for ways to cut back on expenses.
In the early 70s, the cost of copper was above logic. So, 1,500,000 of these aluminum versions were stamped out. Of course, just as these were going to get rolling out, the whole project was pushed off the table and into the trash. Not before some got out, though. One of these could buy you a house today. Estimates suggest a price of $250,000 for this singular penny.
Cheerios Sacagawea, 2000
There’s a good reason that contests are prepped well in advance. General Mills went out of their way around the turn of the century to remind us how much preplanning is necessary.
As a promotion, these Sacagawea dollars were placed in an undisclosed number of Cheerios boxes. During an awkward turn of events, General Mills needed to employ the assistance of the U.S. Mint in order to see their contest through fruition. So, a different version of what the cereal manufacturer had put together was used. Only a handful have been recovered. If you happen upon a stale box of cereal with one, it would be like winning a contest, since you’d get almost $2,700 for it.
Sacagawea Error, 2000
The same year General Mills ran amuck with their Sacagawea dollar, the U.S. Mint was up to their own shenanigans with another Sacagawea coin.
This representation was supposed to be made in bronze. During the process, someone got confused, and instead there was a percentage printed on a copper-nickel mix. These accidental creations have sold for as much as $7,600.
Sacagawea Double Denomination, 2000
What is it about Sacagawea that distracts people from getting their jobs done correctly? After this many errors in the same year, it should be expected that the biggest mistake in U.S. Mint history was on a coin dedicated to her.
As you might have picked up from the image, there’s one glaringly obvious omission. Yep, instead of putting Sacagawea on her own coin, they put George Washington. So, you have a gold George on the front with the Sacagawea eagle on the back. It’s sad, but it’s true. So sad, in fact, that only 16 are known to exist. One sold recently for almost $118,000.
Wounded Eagle, 2000
2000 was not done with Sacagawea yet. So, you saw how on the Sacagawea-less Sacagawea coin, at least they kept her trusty eagle. Unfortunately, this poor eagle had his own issues. As they were trying once again to get this dollar right, someone or some machine would not let it.
As a slap in the face to our nation’s mascot and history, we have wounded the inspiring eagle on the back of this coin. We are left with what looks like the majority of an arrow piercing the mighty symbol’s side. There are 200 floating around today. You could get $500 for it.
No "S" Dime, 1975
These coins were literally born to be collected. So, true to fashion, they just so happened to have an error that was straight out of San Francisco.
What made these dimes incomplete was the missing “S” that denotes where it was stamped. So, when you compound the factors that brought this collector’s coin into existence, it’s no surprise that it’s now worth half a million dollars!
In God We Rust, 2005
What’s better than a regular error? A comical error. Thanks, 2005, for that hearty laugh and the increase in worth. This Kansas quarter gave us the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is it real money, but it’s also hilarious.
The missing letter happened during production on one of the machines that were used to press the image. Apparently, an overabundance of grease accumulated over time had a lasting impact on the end result. If you find it in your coin pile, it will fetch you $100.
If we’re not rusting by God, perhaps we should just leave him out altogether? Two years after the rust debacle comes the Godless coin.
In an effort to give a facelift to the Presidential Dollar, the revamp took out the famous line, “In God We Trust.” Was it a statement? Was it happenstance? Perhaps an overlooked design omission. Whatever it was, it wasn’t missed. This George Washington dollar has sold for as much as $1,000.
Bowed Liberty Dollar, 1804
The United States of America was still new, the Revolutionary War had ended a mere 20 years earlier. That’s when Lady Liberty had hair that would inspire Beyonce. Her hair with a bow accessory was then immortalized on a dollar coin.
More than 200 years later, these coins are highly sought after. It might be years before you find one since there are about a dozen left. Something you might not know unless you were a collector, is that the date is a lie. These dollars were not actually minted until the 1830s. Even still, the most one has sold for is $4.14 million.
Double Ear, 1977
According to all the images we’ve seen of the 16th president, he only had one earlobe. Then again, maybe this was an ancient Greek interpretation.
Just like with modern-day computers, sometimes things go wrong and there really is no decent explanation for it. Machines, like all technology, sometimes have a mind of its own. That’s the case here with the double-lobed Lincoln. Some view it as an offensive, hideous mess. Some can barely notice it. Either way, it’s worth $450.
Double Die, 1972
If you thought the double-lobe was grotesque, hold your hat. You will be seeing double in this 70s penny.
Unlike the last penny, this one is a little more obvious. At first glance, you may assume that this penny meant business due to the bold text. Then, you notice the more defined Lincoln. No, he didn’t get a new design, he just got stamped. Twice. This filtered look can make you a very real $1,600.
Double Die Liberty, 1995
Another issue causes a standout effect. When working in such a swift environment with processes like coin making, there are bound to be slip-ups. The issue with this mid-90s penny is the double stamp of the word “Liberty.” It almost acts as a 3D-effect the way the double press creates the illusion.
The error shows up most easily in the “B” and “L”. While whoever was in charge of this flaw might have gotten in trouble two and a half decades ago, today they’d be pleased to know these coins are worth 5,000 times more than its face value, making it a $50 treasure.
Double Died, 1969
Ever seen someone with hair so perfect that you knew it had to be a wig? Eventually, you realize that it was, in fact, real. That’s what happened to the Secret Service when this penny got into circulation.
This penny was so fantastic, it was too good to be true to the government. The reason was that it was so thoroughly stamped over and over that it looked like a fake that was trying too hard to be perfect. Unlike some double-stamp jobs, each letter here is amusing. Not to mention, the payday is incredible, coming in at around $45,000.
Double Die Date, 1970
A lot of double-dipping back in the day, huh? Well, this particular double die job was another San Francisco fail.
We know it was from the home of the Golden Gate Bridge due to the “S” signature. The text, once again, is emboldened on the penny. Also, the font size for the date is actually smaller than usual for the time. Such tiny detail could make you $37,000 richer.
No Mark Dime, 1982
A popular thought to ponder is if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound? On a similar note, if a dime isn’t marked by the Mint, did a Mint make the dime?
Well, someone had to do it. This 1982 dime was the first coin ever made stateside that did not have a mark indicating which mint it came from. If you have some old coins in your pocket, you might want to keep a lookout for this one. It has sold online for as much as $1,300.
Half Dollars, 1965 - 1970
Sometimes it’s not about the details of the coin but what the coin is made of itself. These aren’t just half dollars, they’re silver dollars. A silver dollar would be used to buy something worth 50¢.
Forty percent of those larger than a quarter-sized coins are made of silver. The value of silver would be able to make you more money than what you could buy with the half dollar itself. In fact, you’re probably going to get up to four times the amount, about $2.
Coronet Head, 1849
Most likely the rarest US coin, and most valuable, the Coronet Head, was a $20 gold coin. This coin was designed and made during the midst of the California Gold Rush. At the time, Americans were flush with cash, or gold, and wanted to show off.
Rather, they wanted to make use of their findings. Turning money into more money. Imagine how these same people would feel to learn that their precious gold $20 coin was now worth closer to $20,000,000!
Saint Gaudens Gold, 1933
At the height of the depression, FDR was making moves to help the economy. One step he took was to put a halt to using gold as legal tender. Little did he know, new $20 gold coins had just been made.
Since they would no longer count as currency, they were ordered to undergo a state-sanctioned meltdown. Two were donated to the Smithsonian. A couple of handfuls were rescued before destruction. If one were to be found on the market, it would have a listing price of $9 million.
Speared Buffalo, 2005
This wasn’t the first time a buffalo design appeared on the back of a nickel. It was, however, the first time it looked like someone had it out for the buffalo. As we move forward in getting more rights for animals, this nickel seems to be a reminder of lesser times.
You see, back in the day when trains were used to travel across vast distances, there was a strange thing wealthier men would do. They’d shoot buffalo from the train for sport. It was barbaric. This nickel was actually an accident, but it makes it look like there is a spear through the buffalo. It will net you $1,265.
Indian Princess Head, 1870
Just as rare as Coronet Head, Indian Princess Head is a solo venture. Yes, there is supposedly only one that was ever made. And yes, San Francisco was involved.
The San Francisco Mint wasn’t even built yet and it was still causing problems. This singular coin was designed and stamped to be part of the cornerstone of the Mint. Yet, somehow, it was exposed to the elements. Were there two of these coins made, purposely, to throw everyone off? Never put anything past San Francisco. If it were sold out of the private collection, it would get around $7 million.
Flowing Hair, 1773
We’ve gone over some pretty old coins but this one takes the cake. Coming in at the tail end of the 18th century, this coin was simple and to the point. It also showed a preference for good hair.
At this point in time, we, as a country, were still trying to figure out what we wanted our coins to look like. What made this one different from the other coins in 1793 was the addition of “America” as well as removing the periods on the front after “Liberty” and the date. Naturally, this would be worth $1.5 million.
Wide AM, 1999
Sometimes we all just need a little space, right? Perhaps even inanimate objects? Well, either way, that’s what happened on this penny. This is another one of the flaws that would take a sleuth to discover.
This penny did not party like it was 1999, clearly. The “A “was beefing with “M” in the word “America” on the back. On every other penny, the two are so close they practically touch. What happened between these two? We may never know. What’s clear though is that the distance would pay off to the tune of $530.
Seated Liberty, 1873
With as many busts as we’ve seen on coins, it’s nice to see something different. No wonder this one is worth over $1,000,000.
What makes this particular dime so interesting to collectors, aside from Lady Liberty being able to have a seat, is the lack of arrows surrounding the year. She was as special then as she is 150 years later.
US Filipino Peso, 1906
This time, a century ago, the United States was occupying the Philippines. This went on for over three decades. By the demand of the Americans in power, the Filipino Mint started making new coins. One such example is this peso from the turn of the century.
As time went on, and the US saw its way out of the Philippines, these were melted down because they were 100% silver. Any remaining coins could fetch a pretty penny, or peso, today. The last authentic peso was sold for $40,000 in 2019.
No Mark Wheat Penny Error, 1937
No, Lincoln isn’t slimming down and your eyes aren’t deceiving you. There’s less to love, but that was simply an error.
This 1937 penny was brought to life in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, someone forgot about marking it so it’s sort of naked, as far as pennies go. We don’t come across change as much as we used to, as a society, but going forward you might want to stay on the lookout for these pennies. This one is worth $7,200.
Extra Low Leaf, 2004
Difference in a creative point of view or a simple error? You be the judge. This one almost seems like an artist who had a creative license to do what they wanted with the corn stalk. Then, some negative Nancy came through and put her foot down in regards to that extra leaf.
Maybe she thought it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing. Maybe the artist thought it was important for the structural integrity of the image. All we know is that the quarter is now worth $140.
Extra High Leaf, 2004
Oops, Wisconsin did it again. They played with our quarter. Got lost in the leaf. Last time they went low and this time they went high with an extra high leaf on the corn.
Whether you find a quarter with a high or low leaf, you’ll still be making money, but the high leaf has a bigger payout. If you have this storied piece, it’s worth around $168.
Copper Wheat Penny, 1943
Like most things during wartime, even pennies had to be sacrificed. The sacrifice in question has to do with the material pennies were made of, copper. It all had to go towards the war effort.
So, the agreement was that starting in 1943, the pennies would be comprised of steel instead. These were called war pennies at the time. In the transition to steel, there were some copper sheets mixed into the new year’s batch. By accident, about 40 copper pennies from 1943 were stamped. That made them incredibly rare and, obviously, a high ticket item valued at around $150,000.
Gold Mormon Coin, 1851
There’s gold in them hills! That was all the motivation people needed to leave their lives behind in search of a fortune out west during the Gold Rush. Those hoping to come upon riches in California weren’t relegated to the common folk.
Religious people alike were also in the chaos of gold rushing. Those who would identify as Latter-day Saints participated in the hunt and managed to discover some of the shiny stuff to bring back home. Thus, the $5 coin was born. To celebrate these days, you can pay $50,000 for one.