15 Valuable Coins Hiding in Your Pocket

A few years ago, I was walking through a soccer field behind our local library when I saw a glint in the grass.

2017 Quarter (left) vs. 1957 Quarter (right)

I walked over and was surprised to see a quarter sitting there. Score!

But wait, there’s more – the quarter looked “off.”

It looked a little grayer and duller than a regular quarter.

It turns out that I’d found a 1957 silver quarter. Quarters minted between 1932 and 1964 are 90% silver.

They’re worth more than a typical quarter because of all that precious metal. Even scuffed up with no unique characteristics, it’s worth more than five bucks (it varies based on the price of silver).

A fun little find!

It’s not uncommon to find silver quarters since the US Mint produced them for over thirty years – but some other coins are floating out there that are worth even more.

Table of Contents
  1. The Morgan Silver Dollar
  2. 1955 Doubled Die Penny
  3. 1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime
  4. 1997 Double-Ear Lincoln Penny
  5. 2008-W Silver Eagle with Reverse Dies (from2007)
  6. 1943-S Lincoln Head Copper Penny
  7. 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter Extra Leaf Low
  8. 2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter
  9. 1794 – 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
  10. 1999-P Connecticut Broadstruck Quarter
  11. 1992 “Close AM” Penny
  12. 2007 Godless Presidential Dollar 
  13. 2005 Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel
  14. Pre-1965 Roosevelt Silver Dimes and Washington Silver Quarters
  15. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
  16. Final Thoughts

The Morgan Silver Dollar

The Morgan Silver Dollar was a common coin minted between 1878 and 1904, and 1921. It was a $1 US coin that contained one ounce of silver. But that was back when silver itself traded for about $1 per ounce; as of today, silver is at roughly $20 per ounce.

The coin’s silver content is important because it establishes a floor on its value. The degree that the value exceeds the price of the silver content is determined by its numismatic value.

The Morgan isn’t a rare coin, but millions have been melted down over the years for their silver content, somewhat limiting the remaining supply. The value of the remaining coins is primarily driven by the mint state grade.

For example, according to Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), a Morgan graded as mint state 4 is worth about $36. But if the same coin were graded as mint state 69, it could fetch as much as $180,000.

If you have any of these coins lying around, you might want to have them evaluated through a reputable coin dealership to find out what they’re worth.

1955 Doubled Die Penny

This penny is referred to as a “double die” because there was a flaw in the minting that makes the coin appear blurry due to the casting of a double image. These coins aren’t categorically rare but are not common either. And much like the Morgan silver dollar, the condition will determine how much they’re worth.

According to the USA Coin Book, 1955 doubled die penny is worth $784 if it’s in good condition and as much as $17,057 for an uncirculated mint state 63 (“MS-63”).

1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime

Coins minted by the US government include a letter indicating which mint the coin was produced in. For example, if the coin includes the letter S, it was struck in San Francisco. But in 1982, the Philadelphia mint failed to include the letter P on the coin. It’s that flaw loan that gives this coin value beyond $0.10.

According to PCGS, this coin can be worth $15 for lower graded versions or as much is $2,185 in MS-65.

1997 Double-Ear Lincoln Penny

What makes this coin stand out is that it was struck with President Lincoln having double ear lobes. Everything else about the coin is normal, but that single flaw can increase the value substantially.

According to PCGS, this coin can be worth as much as $4,500 in MS-68, but as little as $85 for a coin graded MS-60.

2008-W Silver Eagle with Reverse Dies (from2007)

About 47,000 of these coins were erroneously minted in 2008, which means they’re not exactly rare. They are silver Eagle coins, which means they contain one ounce of silver. But the real value is that while the front of the coin was struck in the redesigned 2008 version, the coin’s reverse side was struck based on the 2007 design.

According to USA Coin Book, this coin can be worth as much as $490 in uncirculated MS-65 condition. Otherwise, it’s worth the melt value – which is the silver content – of about $20.

1943-S Lincoln Head Copper Penny

There’s some history attached to this coin, which is why the year the coin was minted is important. In 1943, the US mint switched production of pennies from copper to zinc-coated steel because copper was needed for war munitions. But a few bronze metal discs ended up in the mint and were struck as Lincoln head copper pennies.

According to PCGS, the lower grades of the coin are worth no more than $1. But the coin can be worth as much as $25,500 in MS-65+.

2004 Wisconsin State Quarter Extra Leaf Low

Like other coins on this list, the 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter, extra leaf low, derives its value from a flaw in the minting. Thousands of the coins were struck with an extra leaf on the husk of the corn. That single, often unnoticed, flaw in the coin can make it worth more than a quarter.

According to PCGS, lower grades of the coin are worth between $38 and $95, which is pretty stinking good for a coin you undoubtedly came into for not more than $0.25. But a coin in MS-67 can fetch as much as $5,500.

2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter

This may be the most comical of the error coins on this list. The coin was supposed to include “In God We Trust,” as is typical of all US coinage. But a grease buildup in the coin dies blurred out the T in trust, making the saying appear “in God We Rust.” But it’s that seemingly small error that gives this coin potentially add value.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of 2005 minting of the Kansas State Quarter contain this flaw, so this coin is not as valuable as others. But certain versions of the coin can fetch as much as $100.

1794 – 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

This coin is incredibly valuable because of its rarity. As perhaps the first silver dollar minted in the US, only a few hundred were struck. The coin is identified by the image of Miss Liberty with long flowing hair, falling all the way down to her shoulders.

According to PCGS, even the lowest grades of this coin can be worth as much as $2,150. But a version graded at MS-66 can be worth is $1.25 million.

1999-P Connecticut Broadstruck Quarter

This coin is referred to as broadstruck because the metal rounds used in the minting of the coin were not properly aligned. That means the edges of the coin are not quite right.

You won’t make a fortune on this coin. But according to Great Collections.com, a version of this coin in MS-63 sold for $23 in 2017. That may not be a big windfall, but it is worth more than $0.25.

1992 “Close AM” Penny

The flaw in this coin is that the A and M in America are either too close together or too far apart. They either practically touch one another at the very bottom, or they are spread too wide compared to the other lettering on the coin.

In addition, the reverse side of the penny includes the initials “FG” near the Lincoln Memorial building. The initials were closer to the building on the wide AM version of the coin. But on the close AM version, FG was farther away. 

According to USA Coin Book, the value of this penny can be as much as $558 for a coin graded as MS-65. Otherwise, most of these coins don’t have much extra value because they’re extremely common.

2007 Godless Presidential Dollar 

Yet another example of an ordinary coin that gets its value from a striking error. In this case, the coin completely omitted the “In God We Trust” standard on all US coinage. That gives the coin additional value, though not as much as others, because it is believed tens of thousands of these coins were minted.

The website Jewels Advisor.com reports that the 2007 presidential “Godless Dollar” can be worth more than $2,000 if it is graded as MS-68.

2005 Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel

I’ve included several coins on this list that get their value from minting flaws. But the 2005 Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel has a flaw that’s, well, different. Instead of a spacing error or an omission, the coins include what looks like a spear running from the top of the bison’s back, straight through its body and forming a point as it exits the bottom of the animal.

According to PCGS, a 2005 Speared Bison Jefferson Nickel graded as MS-67 can be worth as much as $5,000. But the lowest graded coins are worth no more than three or four dollars.

Pre-1965 Roosevelt Silver Dimes and Washington Silver Quarters

Here are the two coins on this list that don’t derive enhanced value from flaws. Instead, they get additional value from their silver content, much like common gold and silver bullion coins. Even though many of these coins were melted down after 1965, there is still a large number in circulation, which means they aren’t rare.

Most Americans today aren’t aware that US coins, other than pennies and nickels, contained silver before 1965. In addition to silver dollars, dimes and quarters were made of silver. Each was composed of at least 90% silver. 

For that reason, dimes and quarters minted before 1965 will be worth their equivalent silver value. That means a quarter may be worth about $5 and a dime about $2. That may not be a fortune, but it’s still a lot more than the face value of each coin.

1913 Liberty Head Nickel

I almost feel guilty including this coin on a list of “valuable coins hiding in your pocket.” These coins are so rare that fewer than one in a billion people own one.

There are only five in existence. 

But I wanted to include it in the list because of 1) the sheer value of the coin and 2) the perfect way this coin indicates the importance of rarity in valuing any coin. This is one coin that gets its value entirely from rarity and not because of any flaw or other unusual issue.

According to Coin Trackers.com, one of these coins is between $3.4 million and $4.2 million

Even though you don’t have this coin, it’s an example of how important it is to take a closer look at any coins you have that are either old or unusual in any way. They may not be worth millions, but they can be worth many thousands.

Final Thoughts

These days, when people talk about investing in ‘coins,’ they’re referring to cryptocurrency. And while you won’t get rich by collecting real silver coins, it can be a fun hobby, and all of the coins included on our list have an interesting backstory. So, next time you count your coins, look carefully – you never know what’s hiding in your loose change!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Michael Clark says

    You’re missing “one in” in your discussion of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. “These coins are so rare that fewer than one billion people own one.”

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