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A lot of people ask us what coins are rare and worth money…
It’s probably one of the most common questions people have when they’re going through their pocket change and want to know which coins are worth more than face value.
So, today we’ve got a list of which rare and valuable coins you should be looking for, including how much they’re worth and how you can find them!
9 Rare U.S. Coins Worth Money To Look For In Pocket Change
It may surprise you to find out that there are literally hundreds of different kinds of valuable rare coins that are floating around in pocket change.
You’ve got to know what you’re looking for and also need to remember that there are often tiny differences between what makes a rare coin and a similar-looking one that’s totally common.
Here’s a list of 9 valuable rare U.S. coins — pennies through quarters — you should be looking for in circulation…
1965 Silver Dime
You may have heard that the last 90% circulating silver coins in the U.S. were struck in 1964, but there’s a little caveat to that.
The U.S. Mint continued striking some silver coins into 1965 with a 1964 date. And in some cases a few 90% silver dimes accidentally got out with a 1965 date. These rare, valuable Roosevelt dimes are worth around $5,000 and up!
So how can you tell a 1965 silver dime apart from a regular 1965 copper-nickel dime? Here’s how:
- A 1965 silver dime weighs around 2.5 grams, while a 1965 clad dime checks in at 2.27 grams. These differences should clearly register on a coin scale that measures in increments of a tenth gram or less.
- Silver and clad coins have distinctive appearances. While the outward whitish to whitish-grey appearance of a silver dime isn’t enough to verify that it is indeed a silver coin, it should look lighter in color than its (usually) darker gray clad counterpart. Looks, however, aren’t enough to confirm a coin’s silver content — therefore, weighing it is integral to determining if your coin is really silver.
Looking for 1965 silver dimes in circulation? This video will help point you in the right direction:
1965 Silver Quarter
The 1965 silver dime wasn’t the only transitional error from that time involving a silver planchet somehow getting struck by 1965-dated dies intended for copper-nickel blanks.
The 1965 silver Washington quarter is another rare and valuable mint oddity from the period — and it’s definitely worth looking for. A rare 1965 silver quarter is worth around $7,000!
Here’s how to tell if you have a legit 1965 silver quarter:
- The most dependable way to tell for yourself if you have a 1965 silver quarter is to weigh it. The valuable 1965 silver quarter registers at around 6.25 grams — while the “normal” 1965 clad quarter comes in at 5.67 grams. This should be detectable on a coin scale that measures down to the tenth of a gram, or in smaller increments.
- If you’re going for coins that “look like” silver, bear in mind they sometimes are whitish to medium-grey patina, whereas circulated clad coins may look medium to darker grey in appearance. However, this is only a rough guide and not a rule — and this illustrates why you really need to weigh your coins to determine whether or not they contain silver.
1969-S Doubled Die Penny
The 1969-S doubled die Lincoln penny is well worth looking for, especially considering that it has a value of about $25,000 and up!
The key to finding a doubled die penny is to look for:
- Doubling appears on the inscriptions and date on the heads side (obverse) of the coin.
- You will NOT see doubling on the “S” mintmark — if you do, it’s indicative of a machine doubled penny, which is not valuable.
The doubling is extremely obvious in the “1969” date and in the inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” If the doubling seems really light or you need a high-power magnifier to make out any doubling, then you probably don’t have “the” 1969 doubled die penny.
1972 Doubled Die Penny
Another rare penny worth searching for is the 1972 Lincoln penny with doubling.
There are a few kinds of 1972 doubled die pennies, but the one that’s most obvious is also the most valuable. The so-called “Class 1” 1972 doubled die penny is worth around $300 and up!
When you’re looking for a 1972 doubled die penny, this is what you need to keep your eyes peeled for:
- Drastic doubling is seen on the obverse in the “1972” date and in the inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
- Separation of the “2” at the top of the last numeral in the date is where doubling perhaps is most obvious.
Note, there are several kinds of 1972 doubled die pennies with various degrees of doubling. This video spells them out in visual detail:
1975-D High Mintmark Nickel
In the 1970s, mint marks were individually punched by hand onto the working dies that struck designs on blank coins. On one 1975-D Jefferson nickel, the “D” mintmark was punched way higher than normal — and this variety is worth $50 or more!
- The “D” is normally below the “5” of the date “1975” on 1975-D nickels. But on this variety, it’s far higher — to the left of the “5” and behind the bow of Jefferson’s ponytail.
- Even if your 1975-D nickel doesn’t match the exact diagnostics of the 1975-D High “D” Jefferson nickel, you might still have another kind of unusual mintmark variety known as a repunched mintmark — which can be worth $3 to $10.
Want more info on the 1975-D High Mintmark Jefferson nickel? Check out this video:
1982 No Mintmark Dime
The U.S. Mint hadn’t intentionally made a Roosevelt dime without a mintmark since before 1980 — the year the “P” mintmark was added to Philadelphia-minted dimes. But somehow at least a couple Roosevelt dime obverse dies for 1982 were finished without a “P” mintmark of any kind — and the coins struck by these incorrect dies got out into circulation.
Thousands of these coins, fresh from the U.S. Mint, turned up at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. They have also appeared in pockets and purses throughout the eastern half of the United States.
The 1982 no-mintmark Roosevelt dime is scarce — especially those with a strong strike. Values for this rare 1982 dime range from $50 to $150+, depending on strike and overall condition of the coin.
Determining whether you have a 1982 no-mintmark Roosevelt dime is relatively simple:
- You won’t see any mintmark above the date and below Roosevelt’s neck on the obverse of such pieces.
1982-D Small Date Copper Penny
One of the most recent discoveries among Lincoln penny varieties, the 1982-D copper small date, is a rarity that’s worth more than $10,000!
There are a few criteria that a 1982 penny must meet for it to be a rare and valuable 1982-D copper small date Lincoln cent:
- It must have a “D” mintmark.
- The tops of the date numerals must align along an invisible plane — while the bottoms of the “1,” “8,” and “2” must also align on an invisible plane.
- The penny must weigh around 3.0 to 3.1 grams on a coin scale that measures to at least a tenth of a gram.
A lot of people confuse the large date with the small date. Here are the differences between large date vs. small date pennies. This video also explains the differences:
1983 Doubled Die Penny
The 1983 doubled die penny shows the strongest promise of any Lincoln cent reverse (tails side) doubled die.
It’s worth around $200+, making it one of the most valuable zinc-based Lincoln pennies you can find in pocket change!
What’s the key to finding a 1983 doubled die penny? Here’s what you need to know:
- Doubling is most prominent in the inscriptions “UNITED” (in “UNITED STATES of AMERICA”), “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and “ONE CENT.”
- You might need to use a 5x magnifier to make out the doubling on darker, circulated coins.
Need help determining what a 1983 doubled die penny looks like? This video will help:
1984 Doubled Die Penny
The 1984 doubled die penny is exhibited in the appearance of a doubled ear on Lincoln.
This cool doubled die error is worth approximately $125… or more!
Here are some of the key diagnostics behind this popular 1984 error penny:
- Doubling on this coin is most prominent in Lincoln’s ear lobe — which shows a secondary lobe below and slightly to the left of the primary lobe.
- There’s slight doubling below Lincoln’s chin and beard.
It may not be as easy as you’d think to spot that doubled ear on the 1984 doubled die Lincoln penny. This video shows you how to find it:
Other Rare Coins To Look For…
Believe it or not, the above list of 9 rare coins to look for in circulation barely scratches the surface of valuable coins that you may find in your spare change.
So far, we’ve only mentioned pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters made since 1965 — which are generally the most common types of coins you’ll find in circulation these days. But there are literally hundreds of other valuable coins out there.
Having a hard time finding rare coins in your spare change? Here are some tips for making rare and valuable coin finds:
- Search bank rolls. One of the best ways to make some terrific finds at face value is to look through rolls of coins from the bank. These sell for the face value of the roll (50 cents for a roll of 50 pennies, $2 for a roll of 40 nickels, etc.) and have been very successful for many coin collectors who want to find rare coins cheap.
- Check out estate sales. A lot of times people are selling coin collections they inherited without even knowing what they’re selling. While you might find rare coins for really low prices this way, you should exercise some everyday ethics, too. It’s OK to score a good deal, but if the kindly old widower is selling her deceased husband’s rare $20 Saint-Gaudens double eagle for its mere face value of $20, offer to pay closer to its gold spot price. You’ve got a good heart — so you’ll know how to feel a situation like this out.
- Try thrift stores. So, how many times have you seen The Antiques Roadshow on PBS and saw lucky art owners who found a Monet hidden inside the frame of a kitschy reprint of flamingos sunning under palms on the beach? Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there really are people who have made valuable finds at their local thrift shop — including coin collectors who discovered rare coins locked inside old coin folders and coin albums being sold for cheap at such places.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!