The most valuable coins in the world have sold at auction for millions of dollars. Archaeologists have found many ancient or early coins that are simply priceless. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the most valuable US coins in circulation. With a keen eye, you might even find one of the most valuable quarters in circulation is hiding right in your loose change.
Valuable Quarters in Circulation
1932- 64 Silver Quarters– During this period of time, quarters were made of 90% silver and 10% copper. This gives them a beautiful appearance and makes them different enough to drive up value. A lot of quarters were produced during this period of time, so in order to get top value, the coin will need to be in great condition. A coin shop may use the value of the silver to give you a value, but don’t get out the smelter just yet. It is illegal to melt down US coins for their intrinsic value.
Approximate Value: $5- $60.
2005 Kansas State Quarter– “In God We Rust”. This is a classic example of an error that tickles our sense of humor and sends the value of a coin through the roof. As the story goes, a bit of grease was getting into the die when these coins were being minted. This caused a handful of coins to come out with the “T” missing on the phrase “In God We Trust”.
The iconic phrase that graces all US currency since the 1950s had received a hilarious alteration. It appears to say “In God We Rust”. If you happen to own one of these quarters, here’s hoping it is still shiny and rust-free.
Approximate Value: $100
2004 Wisconsin State Quarter With Extra Leaf– In 1999, the US treasury starting minting quarters with a special design commemorating each state. There was a lot of popular excitement around this. Not only was it was the biggest change in coin design in decades, but it had local appeal for each state.
When the Wisconsin state quarter was released, collectors were quick to notice a small defect. The design featured the state’s proud agricultural sector with an image of a dairy cow, a nice round of cheese and an ear of corn. If you look closely at the ear of corn, some coins have an extra line that seems to give it an extra leaf.
Ordinarily, the cause would be assumed to be some metal shavings that got stuck in the die. However, some of the coins came out with an extra leaf above, and others with an extra leaf just below. The chances of that happening in two different instances and creating nearly the same effect are astronomical. The consensus among collectors is that somebody working at the Denver mint did this on purpose. This great story has made it one of the most valuable quarters in circulation.
Approximate Value: $300
The Most Valuable Dimes in Circulation
1996 Roosevelt Dime– These dimes were made just for collectors to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1946 Roosevelt Dime. They were never supposed to be in circulation, but enough of them have been taken out of their sets and spent to make them possible to find. There were 1.5 million made in total.
Approximate Value: $2-3
1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime- When these dimes were made, the US mint made the coins. The individual branches of the mint (eg. San Francisco, Denver) would then punch it with a mint-mark. For example, coins released by the Denver mint would say “D” or the San Francisco mint would say “S”. These dimes are missing that mint-mark.
Approximate Value: $35- 50.
1965- Roosevelt Silver Dime– In the 1960s, the US was moving from making dimes out of 90% silver to the nickel and copper-clad dime. During this transition, some silver dimes were made in error using the wrong materials or the wrong die. This caused the dimes to be slightly heavier than they should be. If you have a very accurate digital scale, you will find that some of the 1964 dimes weigh 2.50 grams, and some weigh 2.60 grams or more. This error is extremely rare with only a few known examples.
Approximate Value: $7,000
The Most Valuable Nickels in Circulation
1937 3-leg Buffalo Nickel– Probably the most famous error coin of all time,
this nickel features the iconic buffalo. When a worker tried to fix a damaged die by polishing it down, he took a little too much off. This caused the buffalo’s front leg to disappear and the left hoof was still firmly planted on the ground. If you do find or try to buy a nickel with a 3-legged buffalo on it, be careful. Some fraudsters have been caught trying to shave the leg off a normal nickel
Approximate Value: $95,000
1918 Buffalo Nickel– During World War I, the entire economy of the US was focused on the war effort. This was applied to coinage by simply not printing nearly as many coins. The rarity is part of the value, but the quality is more important. All of the coins went into circulation and none were saved in perfect condition as uncirculated coins. Therefore, if you find one of good quality, it will be worth a collector’s price.
Approximate Value: $125,000
1942-5 Silver Nickel- During World War II, the nation was putting all of its resources into fighting the enemy. A material like nickel was being used for tank armor and creating strong portable bridges. The government decided to use silver for all of its nickels, giving them a value of more than face value even at the time of minting.
Approximate Value: $12
The Most Valuable Pennies in Circulation
1943 Steel Penny– A similar story explains the creation of a steel nickel during the war, as copper was being used for electronic wiring. The interesting thing here is that the steel is worth far less than the original material. It is the rarity that gives this coin its higher value. This is a great example of how collecting coins can help us tell the stories of our American history.
Approximate Value: $10
1995 Double Die Penny– In 1995, a lot of pennies were minted with a double die error. This made the words look slightly blurry and may have affected the collar. In this case, it is not considered a rare coin, as there were probably more than 500,000 of them minted. That makes this coin one of the likeliest values for you to discover in your pocket change.
Approximate Value- $20-50
1969 Penny With Doubled Die– This coin is a classic example of a subtle error causing an enormous jump in the value. A doubled die occurs when you strike the same coin twice. If the coin doesn’t line up exactly the same each time, there will be a slight blurriness or extra shadow on the letters around the outside. In the case of the 1969 penny, the error occurred in about 50 of the coins.This is where the condition of the coin matters. A few years back a man found one that was in a roll of unused pennies. Being in mint-condition caused the value to be maxed out and the coin sold at auction for over $100,000. For a Penny!
Approximate Value: $30,000 – $100,000
The Most Valuable Dollar and Half Dollar Coins in Circulation
1948- 63 Ben Franklin Half-Dollar- In 1948, the treasury began distributing half dollar coins with Ben Franklin on the front and the Bald Eagle on the back. In 1964, they switched the image to John F Kennedy after he was tragically assassinated. Because the Ben Franklin half-dollar is not uncommon, a good quality coin is worth more.
Approximate Value: $12- 125
2007- present Presidential Dollar Coins with Errors- In 2007, the government started issuing dollar coins featuring US presidents. Highly collectible and full of potential for learning and celebrating our history, these coins were sure to have investment value. For whatever reason, the mint has made an unusually large amount of errors in printing these coins. Some have had upside-down lettering, missing lettering, blurry lettering. Others had a change in their design, but the original elements are still visible. These coins are often collected and in mint condition.
Approximate Value: $100- 900
1870 Seated Liberty Dollar Coin– This is an example of how a coin can gain in value without being exceedingly rare or having an error. The artwork on this coin makes it beautiful and has caused so many investors to desire it in their collections. It depicts lady liberty seated in a flowing gown holding the flag and shield of liberty. She is crowned with 13 stars for the original colonies. Since it is not all that rare, the condition is very important to its value.
Approximate Value: $500- 5,000
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