When was the last time you rifled through your spare change? You may want to take a second look if you haven’t in a while, because if you have a certain rare 1972 Lincoln penny, you could easily make hundreds of dollars in no time at all.
Over 5.5 billion pennies were printed in 1972, but roughly 20,000 of them have a distinguishable error if you look close. These single-cent coins are what’s called “double die obverse,” which is a fancy phrase that means that the lettering is etched twice in the mint, making it pop more and seem more multi-dimensional, as if you’re wearing 3D glasses.
If you looked at these particular coins under a microscope you’d be able to see that the wording for “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and “1972” is all etched twice. This usually happens during what’s called the die hubbing process when a coin is mistakenly struck more than once as its designs and wording are being carved into each side. Whoops! It’s easy to see how people could’ve missed this error and allowed these cents to go into circulation.
While it may seem like a minor issue, especially since it can usually only be seen under magnified conditions, these coins can go for big bucks. One 1972 Lincoln penny just sold on eBay for over $325 last month after starting with a bid of just $1. Considering it’s only worth one cent, that’s quite the substantial markup, to say the least!
These error-filled pennies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to random coins that could be worth serious dough. Some Wisconsin state quarters have collected up to $300 in online auctions, and certain quarters from 1970 have been going for well over $35,000. (Yes, you read that right: five figures!) And if you’ve never gone on a little coin treasure hunt of your own, here’s how to spot something valuable amongst your change.