Be on the lookout the next time you search through your spare change to pay for your morning coffee or your laundry. Sometimes, even one penny is worth a considerable sum of money.
Minters made silly mistakes in engraving several of these coins, which weren’t discovered until after they were minted. Since most of the other batches were destroyed, the ones that made them are now highly sought after by collectors.
These 15 rare coins sell for a lot of money on auction sites like eBay. Don’t fret if you can’t find any spare change; there are other methods to make a fortune with pocket money.
Morgan silver dollar
Designed by George T. Morgan, this dollar coin depicts Liberty on one side and an eagle with spread wings on the other.
The U.S. Sun reports that hundreds of millions were smelted after being minted between 1878 and 1904 and again in 1921. A limited, non-circulating version was also published in 2021.
The quality, mint year, and rarity of this coin all play a role in determining its value. One 1884 Morgan silver dollar sold for $375 and one 1893-S for $1,805 on eBay.com just recently.
1913 Liberty head nickel
According to The Spruce Crafts, only five of these rare nickels exist, so it’s improbable that you already have one in your wallet.
Charles E. Barber’s Liberty head nickel design featured the Roman numeral “V” etched on one side. Still, the word “Cents” was left off by the United States Mint. Criminals saw an opportunity to profit from the coins’ devalued state and started gold-plating them so they could be passed off as five-dollar bills. Afterward, the mint inscribed “Cents” on the coin.
The coin’s worth among collectors rose due to widespread speculation, widespread interest from the media, the fact that celebrities had owned it, and the coin’s ascending market price. At a Philadelphia auction in 2018, this particular coin (from the Louis E. Eliasberg collection) fetched $4.56 million.
2005 Kansas “In God We Rust” state quarter
Find a state quarter that was the victim of a humorous mistake by digging around your wallet.
Beginning in 1999, the U.S. Mint issued a series of commemorative quarters honoring each of the 50 states. In contrast to the national motto “In God We Trust,” which appears on most American coins, the Kansas state quarter in 2005 says “In God We Rust.”
According to The Spruce Crafts, the “T” may have become blocked with lubricant grease, prohibiting the letter from becoming imprinted on the coin.
In November of 2021, a Kansas mistake coin went for $45 on eBay.com.
1927-D Saint-Gaudens double eagle
To honor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who created the prototype for the $20 gold double eagle that circulated from 1905 to 1907, the United States Mint issued the Saint-Gaudens double eagle in 1927-D.
According to Numismatic News, this coin is exceptionally scarce because most were melted down throughout the gold recalls of 1933. Its typical value in today’s market is around $1 million.
The 1927-D Saint-Gaudens double eagle, considered the second-finest example of its type, was sold for approximately $3 million in August 2021. The coin was said to be bright and in perfect condition. It belonged to the famous collection of Louis E. Eliasberg.
1943-S Lincoln wheat penny
Due to a shortage of copper for use in munitions production, the United States Mint issued steel coins with a zinc coating during World War II.
However, some bronze planchets from 1942 made it into processing and eventually into circulation. Planchets are circular metal disks intended to be minted as a coin.
According to The Spruce Crafts, a few of these coins may have become stuck in the corners of the bins used to move the planchets around and were subsequently dislodged during processing.
Bob R. Simpson, co-chairman of the Texas Rangers, purchased a superbly graded 1943-S Lincoln wheat cent from Legend Numismatics in 2012 for $1 million.
2005-D 5C speared bison
In 2005, the United States Mint reintroduced the bison reverse design to the Jefferson nickel; however, some pieces were marked in a particular way.
The Professional Coin Grading Service reported that several of these presidential nickels feature a significant die gouge along the bison’s back. These mistake coins fetched over $100 each just days after their discovery.
These nickels, now known as “speared bison nickels,” are highly desirable among collectors while being challenging to come by in high quality. The price at which one recently sold on eBay.com was $495.
2008-W silver eagle reverse of 2007
Coin World, a numismatic publication, reports that the United States Mint released 47,000 uncirculated 2008-W American Eagle silver coins made with the older reverse dies used in 2007.
There is a distinction in the lettering that is easily discernible. Standard 2008 reverses feature a spur on the right side of the letter “u,” but the 2007 reverses do not.
Two coins of this design recently sold for over $1,000 on eBay.com.
1972 doubled die obverse Lincoln Memorial cent
In 1972, the United States Mint issued Lincoln Memorial Cents, but some of them included a somewhat humiliating mistake.
Approximately 20,000 incorrect coins were minted, with the phrases “Liberty” and “1972” written twice on Abe’s profile’s left and right sides.
The United States Sun reported in September 2021 that one of these mistake coins sold for $325 after receiving 49 bids on eBay.com. The listing price for the coin was $1. The news source also mentioned that the unusual hue of this cent could have increased its value.
1894-S Barber dime
These coins are scarce because just 24 were ever minted.
Only nine examples of the 1894-S Barber dime, created by engraver Charles E. Barber and minted at the San Francisco Mint, exist. Like other dimes from that era, it features Liberty’s head on one side.
Fox 2 Detroit reported that in 2016, an auction in Florida brought in over $2 million for one of the legendary dimes. An auction in Chicago brought in $1.32 million for one that had belonged to the late owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry Buss.
1879 $4 Gold Stella
To create a uniform currency in Europe, the Latin Monetary Union adopted Stella as its standard coin (the union disbanded in 1927).
After having trouble converting American dollars into Austrian florins, Iowa congressman John Kasson advocated a $4 gold coin with a mass that equaled the Austro-Hungarian 8 florin piece, according to Barrons.
Even though the coin was never green-lit for widespread distribution, collectors are willing to pay a pretty penny for one. In September 2021, a Smithsonian two-coin set brought in about $5,000.
Sacagawea Cheerios dollar
This unique coin could have been hidden in a box of your childhood cereal somewhere around the year 2000.
Ten million boxes of Cheerios were stuffed with a 2000 Lincoln cent and a Sacagawea dollar by the U.S. Mint to promote the new “Golden Dollar.”
However, some of those dollars were slightly different from the norm, featuring an increased eagle’s tail feather design on the back.
The Spruce Crafts estimates that just 60–70 of these coins remain in circulation, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on condition.
1955 doubled die Lincoln penny
The words “Liberty” and “In God, We Trust” are double-imprinted on this other presidential dime.
The Spruce Crafts speculates that these coins made it through inspection during an unsupervised overnight shift. In 1955, thousands were accidentally discharged into circulation.
It is estimated that between 20,000 and 24,000 were initially released, but barely 10,000 to 15,000 are still intact now. In November of 2021, one of these went for a whopping $1,850 on eBay.com.
2004 D Wisconsin quarter, Extra Leaf Low variety
Wisconsin’s 2004 state quarter features a cow, a cheese wheel, and an ear of corn. However, there’s a version that’s worth a lot more than a quarter.
This quarter is called “Extra Leaf Low” because the corn on the left side of the design is lower and reaches the cheese wheel.
Coin World reports that an inquiry by the United States Mint concluded that the faulty coins were manufactured accidentally, despite rumors that the die was purposefully destroyed before manufacturing began.
These Extra Leaf Low varieties are even more valuable than Kansas quarters; in October 2021, one of these went for $152 on eBay.com.
Flowing Hair dollar
In all likelihood, the “Flowing Hair” dollar coin was the first officially minted silver dollar in the United States. On one side, Miss Liberty’s long hair is displayed in a flowing pattern.
There may be as few as 150–200 of the 1794 type left, but the 1795 coin is widely available. After some time, the Draped Bust aesthetic supplanted the Flowing Hair style.
One 1795 Flowing Hair dollar sold for approximately $2,500 on eBay.com in September 2021, proving that the coin is still worth thousands in the digital marketplace.
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