You might assume the only way to really cash in on pennies is by using them to scratch off a winning lottery ticket. However, spotting a certain rare penny could earn you way more than one cent.
Michael Tremonti found that out firsthand back in 2007 while sorting through a 50-cent roll of pennies. According to coin expert Ken Potter, Tremonti made it through more than half of them before noticing that one looked different from the others. It turned out his role of pennies included a rare 1969-S Double Die Lincoln Cent.
As the name suggests, this particular penny features both “In God We Trust” and “Liberty,” plus extra thick “1969” and “S” mint marks. These were due to an error while die-casting the coin. Initially, these rare coins were believed to be part of a counterfeit scheme. However, shortly after their 1970 discovery, the government confirmed that many with the unique mint mark were genuine.
The Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) claims less than 100 authentic 1969-S Doubled Die Lincon Cent coins were produced and that less than 40 real deals have been verified over the years. This obviously makes it one of the most sought-after pieces for coin collectors.
Although Potter was skeptical of Tremonti’s find when he contacted him for help verifying the rare penny, PCGS confirmed its authenticity. Not only that, but because the coin had also been uncirculated and was in such incredible condition, it sold for a whopping $126,500.
What’s more, Tremonti scored again just two years later with a second 1969-S Double Die Lincoln Cent that sold for $86,250! Lightning might not strike twice, but luck sure did for this guy.
And if it can happen to him, what’s stopping you from stumbling upon this cash cow? Sure, the coin might be incredibly rare, but that just makes the hunt for it more exciting.
Who knows, you might also find the even more lucrative 1943 copper penny, a Wisconsin quarter with an extra leaf on its ear of corn, or the Liberty nickel (AKA the most valuable U.S. coin) sitting in your coin jar.