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Do You Have Precious Rare Coins in Your Purse or Change Jar?
It's usually a small thing that turns regular looking money into valuable rare coins. Last year's materials used instead of this year's, a tiny symbol left off a minting die. Collectors covet the unusual and uncommon above all else, and these minor oversights result in a very limited number of coins. This means that supply is much lower than demand, and even something that looks almost exactly like a common penny can actually be a precious rare coin. Even more interesting is that many of these rare coins were released into circulation before anyone realized that a mistake had been made. Because not many people know what distinguishes precious rare coins from run-of-the-mill legal tender, these coins can remain in circulation for decades, until a lucky coin collector recognizes them.
How would you feel if you knew that you had handed over a penny worth $2,000 or more as change for a dollar? This guide will help you recognize a few exceptional American rare coins that you just might have lying around your house, shoved in a change jar, or tucked away into a pocket.
Rare Coins with Mistakes in the Printing
One of the most common mistakes that turn normal coins into limited rare coins is a mistake in the printing. In the case of a nickel minted in 1964, the problem happened when a plate was cleaned too often, and a part of one letter was worn away, leaving the Jefferson nickel with the inscription “E PLURIDUS UNUM.” It took collectors quite some time to catch on to the misspelling of the word “PLURIBUS,” but now these limited nickels are highly sought after. A similar problem resulted in the 1970-S Atheist Cent, when the motto “In God We Trust” was covered with a blob of metal, causing it to read only “In God.”
Another common oversight is when the mint mark, the tiny letter on most American coins that indicates which mint created the coin, is missing or incorrect. Some rare coins with this mistake include the The 1982 no-P Roosevelt dime. The Philadelphia mint used no mint mark until 1980, when it started stamping coins with tiny P's. Yet somehow, a small number of dimes minted in 1982 were a throwback to the time before the mint mark, and bear no letter P. There were only a few coins with this error, and their scarce nature has made them valuable to collectors. A similar problem happened in Philadelphia a few years later, when the P on the die of some 1989 quarters was clogged with dirt, preventing the coins from being properly stamped.
Rare Coins with Double Printing
Minting problems don't only involve the writing on the coin. Sometimes a problem with the die causes a coin to be double stamped accidentally, resulting in a very unusual form of rare coins. Some precious coins with double stamping include doubled-die Lincoln cents from 1972, 1983, and 1984, and a doubled quarter minted in New York in 2001.
Rare Coins with the Wrong Metals
Other than printing problems, another reason why rare coins can be minted is when the wrong precious metals are used to make the coins. American coins have undergone several changes in material. For example, during World War II, pennies were made out of steel, because copper was needed for the war effort. Nevertheless, a very few pennies were minted in 1943 out of copper instead. These rare coins are worth upwards of $200,000 today, and they look exactly like any other penny.
As you can see, sharp-eyed coin collectors can really make a profit by keeping their eyes for rare coins in everyday transactions. Most people wouldn't look twice at a unique find like a 1943 copper penny or a dime that's missing a letter nearly too small to see. By knowing what coins are limited and rare, you could make an exceptional find just sorting through your household change.
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