Common Coins You Find In Circulation May Actually Be Worth Money!

Believe it or not, it is still possible to find a coin worth money in circulation.

Now I’m not talking about the kind of money which may wind up footing a college tuition bill — but each of the coins below are worth considerably more than face value.

The coins in this article are not rare coins, and they are not error coins. While such coins can turn up in circulation, it is only on an extremely rare occasion that any coin will be worth hundreds of dollars.

half-dollar-and-silver-dollar

Therefore, I want to focus on more ordinary coins which you may actually locate in circulation with a bit of hunting.

 

How To Find Valuable Coins In Circulation

I can personally attest that the best way to find these old coins in circulation is to buy many rolls at your local bank and then search through them.

There is also a fair chance that you may already have a coin worth money in your home or possession without even knowing about them being there.

Of course, be sure to ask before poking into your dad’s cigar box of old coins or mom’s jar of loose change!

 

Lincoln Wheat Cents (1909-1958)

Hundreds of millions of wheat cents exist. These old Lincoln cents have long interested collectors and non-collectors, and many of them are worth more than face value.

While rarities like:

  • 1909-S VDB cent
  • 1914-D cent
  • 1922 plain cent
  • 1931-S cent
  • 1955 Doubled-Die cent

…are worth hundreds of dollars each, most are worth 25 cents to $1. Those made from 1934 on are worth 10 to 25 cents each.

While Lincoln pennies are not particularly valuable alone, these common wheat cents can occasionally be found in rolls. If you can scrape together a full roll of 50 wheat pennies, it should be worth at least $3. Not bad for pennies, huh?

 

Jefferson Wartime Silver Nickels (1942-1945)

During World War II, the U.S. government saved nickel for the war effort, so the U.S. Mint was authorized to strike 5-cent coins with a combination of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.

Jefferson wartime silver nickels are presently worth $1 to $1.50 each in typical grades.

Be sure to look for a large mint mark over the dome of Monticello on the reverse (tails side) to easily distinguish wartime nickels from regular Jefferson nickels. You may find a coin worth money!

 

silver-Roosevelt-dime.jpgRoosevelt Silver Dimes (1946-1964)

After the last Mercury dimes rolled out of the U.S. Mint in 1945, the nation honored our 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by placing his image on the obverse (heads side) of the dime.

While the Roosevelt dime would eventually be made with a copper-nickel composition, the first 18 years of production saw the Roosevelt dime being made with a 90% silver content, making the coin worth money.

Silver Roosevelt dimes rarely turn up in circulation or bank rolls, but many were kept behind in collections, drawers, jars, and boxes.

Worn silver Roosevelt dimes are worth at least $1.50 to $2 each in the average silver market. Uncirculated pieces (which must have no wear and will likely be found in old bank-wrapped rolls) can be worth $3 to $5 each and up.

 

Washington Silver Quarters (1932-1964)

Like the Roosevelt dime, there once was a time when Washington silver quarters once contained a 90%-silver composition.

Silver Washington quarters have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the collector interest in the quarter denomination particularly because of:

  • 50 States Quarters
  • District of Columbia & United States Territories Quarters
  • National Park Quarters (which will begin a multi-year run in 2010)

1932-D and 1932-S quarters are among the most valuable of the non-error Washington silver quarters. The 1932-D and 1932-S can bring in $200 to $300 and up in higher-level circulated grades.

However, most Washington silver quarters are worth between $3 to $4 each in typical worn grades. Be on the lookout, because Washington silver quarters still can pop up in circulation (although rarely). It is more likely that you will find one (or more) in rolls, collections, drawers, or an old jar of coins.

 

Kennedy Silver Half-Dollars (1964-1970)

silver-Kennedy-half-dollar.jpgFollowing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, the U.S. government embarked on one of the swiftest coin design changes ever. By early 1964, the first Kennedy half-dollars were already reaching pockets and purses across the country.

These first Kennedy half-dollars in 1964 were 90% silver. When the composition of larger-denomination U.S. coins included a larger share of copper in 1965, the Kennedy half-dollar saw a reduction in how much silver it had. In fact, beginning in 1965, the Kennedy half-dollar was only 40% silver.

In 1971, the Kennedy half-dollar went to a copper-nickel format, as the dime and quarter did in 1965. A 90% silver half-dollar is worth around $5.50 to $6, while a 40% silver half-dollar can bring in a cool $2.50

Kennedy half-dollars with silver content, while scarcely ever found in circulation channels anymore, occasionally turn up in rolls from the bank. Don’t forget to check out the usual coin hideaway places in your home, too. You may find a coin worth money!

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, and living green with others.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Joshua,

    I enjoyed reading your article and you are right about valuable coins being found in circulation.

    It is still quite possible to find silver halves in circulation, both in rolls and right out of the teller’s till at the bank. I have found many hundreds of dollars face value of silver halves over the last 5 years. Most have been 40% silver, but many have been 1964 Kennedy halves, and at least 2 or 3 rolls total have been Franklin and Walking Liberty Halves. My best find was 56 rolls from the same bank that were ALL 40% silver! Because they do not circulate widely in commerce, it is still very possible to find silver halves. And many newer generation tellers do not realize any half dollar with a date 1970 or earlier is at least 40% silver!

    Best Regards,

    Andrew Spaeth

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for your kind words, Andrew. Yes, I can personally attest also to finding several 90% and 40% silver halves in rolls, but nothing like those wonderful discoveries YOU made! Congratulations on finding all those silver halves!

      Happy coin collecting,
      -Josh

  • Smithmsnw

    i have a lot of old coins i would like to sale .do you know who buys them ? post if you do.

    • Anonymous

      Smith,

      There are two common methods used to sell coins — place them on eBay or sell them to a coin dealer.

      Here’s a coin dealer search engine you may want to use to look up local coin dealers in your area:  http://www.pngdealers.com/dealersearch.php

    • Rick Hakes

      are you still looking to sell the coins you have?

  • Co0red

    I have a 1964 nickel and is missing the fs on its head side..can anyone tell me anything on it? -madness

  • Ohwaddy74

    i have a 1947 quarter does anyone know how much it is worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Ohwaddy,

      A 1947 quarter in typical, worn condition is worth around $6.

  • dave

    i have a 1919 s wheat penny with the “i” in “Liberty” , “in god” in “in god we trust” are missing. and its in good condition. Anyone know what it might be worth?
    i also have a “1918″, “1911″, “1926″, “1927″, and “1930 s” wheat pennys.  Are they worth anything? 

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Dave,

      Your 1919-S penny is probably just weakly struck, which would not be unusual for a coin of its age. It is worth around 10 to 20 cents in average worn condition. Your 1911, 1918, 1926, 1927, and 1930-S pennies are also worth around 10 to 20 cents if in states of moderate to heavy wear.

      • Shane

        I have a 1919 s wheat penny and the entire “In God We Trust” is significantly bigger than any wheat penny I compare it too. it looks like those words caught a quick double stamp. This Penny also stands out in a pile of pennies with its huge brim wich only the bottom of the capital letter in Liberty comes out of. Any Ideas?

        • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

          Hi, Shane -

          Hmm… is there, by chance, a picture of this coin that you could post here in the comments section, please? Thanks!

    • Vonhiphop

      It’s called an atheist penny it’s worth some money should look into it man… For real

  • misty

    I just found a 1965 dime, how can I tell if it is silver?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Misty -

      A silver dime weighs 2.5 grams, whereas a copper-nickel clad dime comes in at 2.268 grams.

  • dg

    Is a 1965 dime worth anything? Above it says between 1946 and 1964, not 65

  • louise

    I have many rolls of 65 halves. Are the Bu ones more valuable than the others?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Yes, Louise – Any 1965 Kennedy half dollar in mint condition is worth around $3 to $4, versus about $2.85 to $3 for circulated versions.

  • JA

    i have a 1902 dime i don’t how much is worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, JA -

      A 1902 Barber dime is worth around $3 to $5.

  • Carmen Bolduc

    Hi Joshua
    I have a few coins that I’d like to know if they are worth anything:
    1849 – Dime
    1873 – Half Dime
    1942 – Half Dollar
    1867 – Half Dollar
    Any idea if they have any value?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Carmen -

      Yes, your coins are worth something, but my values will assume a typical amount of wear for each coin, so values will vary upward or downward from what I tell you if your coins are in better or worse shape.

      Now, as for your coin values:
      1873 Liberty Seated half dime: $15 and up
      1849 Liberty Seated dime: $15 and up
      1867 Seated Liberty half dollar: $25 and up
      1942 Walking Liberty half dollar: $8 and up

      These values assume the coins are in typical, well-worn grades and have no signs of damage, such as nicks, bends, holes, or cleanings.

  • Coindude

    I have an indian head wheat penny from 1907. How much is it worth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Coindude,

      Your 1907 Indian cent is worth around $3 to $5.

  • Vincent Schreiber

    i am a 10 year old kid with a buffalo coin.Im talking about the REAL ones,not the cheap knock offs you can buy online.

  • Ranee Goodwin Raab

    Hi, I have a 1999 Delaware D quarter that I believe is copper, I tried scratching it thinking maybe it was just discolored (which I probably shouldn’t have done) and it seems to be that color all the way through. Is this worth anything?

    • Chris

      Sorry all pennies made after 1982 are not made with copper.

  • DIANE

    hello everyone!!!i have a wisconsin 1848(2004)how much is it worth??around 1000$???????thank you

  • Jane Kostopoulos

    I have a 1959 D Lincoln Memorial penny. The “L” in LIBERTY looks like a 7. This is how I see it:
    LIBER7Y
    Is this something I should look into? Thanks :D

    Here is a photobucket image:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v306/jetdogy/1959_Penny_7Error/1959Penny_zpsd2e41b71.jpg

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Jane -

      I have seen similar pieces before, which have usually been caused by die breaks (damage to the device that imprints an image onto a blank coin). Values for a coin like this can range from 50 cents to about $3.