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Valuable Coins in Circulation

Numismatists are people who live for discovery. The idea that the next auction or internet search could be the one when they finally find the coveted prize that has long eluded them can keep some collectors going for years. While some coin enthusiasts have the happy circumstances that allow them to purchase at the top-tier of the coin market, many budding numismatists are hoping for great deals and good luck to build their collections. Fortunately, there are numismatic coins in circulation. With a keen eye and some luck — a little or a lot depending on the value of the coin — coin enthusiasts can fairly easily find exciting coins.

Error Coins

Error coins are always interesting to collectors. Minting is an art as well as a science and while science requires precision, art often shows the hand of man. You have certainly read about and may have even seen doubled die coins, such as Lincoln Cents from 1969, 1970 or 1972. Doubled dies are just one kind of mint-made errors, though. Recently, there was the notorious 2004 Wisconsin state quarter, some of which seem to have an extra leaf of husk coming off an ear of corn due to a line on the die, as well as the 2005 Kansas state quarter reading “In God We Rust” due to the die being clogged with grease. Missing mintmarks, lettering errors and myriad strike errors all make for error coins. While it is generally uncommon, it is still possible for a valuable error coin to show up in circulation.

Older Circulating Coins

There is another kind of valuable coin in circulation: Those left over from the period when circulating coins still contained a good bit of Precious Metal. A coin worth $2 or $3 may not seem like a valuable item but when you consider that may be worth many times its face value and that you found it in circulation, perhaps in your own change jar or bank roll of coins, it is it an extremely valuable piece. If you are hoping to find coins with Precious Metal value above their face value in circulation today, look for Wheat Cents, which you can check against a guide to determine if they are a rare and valuable variety, and larger-denomination coins dated 1964 or before. Through 1964, United States coinage contained a fair amount of Silver. Roosevelt Silver Dimes dated between 1946 and 1964, Washington Silver Quarters produced from 1932 to 1964 and the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar are all made of a 90% Silver alloy, giving them a high intrinsic value. Further, Jefferson Nickels produced 1942-1945, also known as War Nickels, contain 35% Silver while Kennedy Half Dollars produced 1965-1971 contain 40% Silver. There are still many coins available, perhaps not in general circulation but in grandpa’s junk drawer and rolls from the bank, that have high Precious Metal value.

Keep your eyes open and you could stumble upon a real treasure in circulating coinage!

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