Check Your Change: Six of the Most Valuable Coins in Circulation

Don't spend that dime in the gumball machine until you check to see what it's worth.

Published May 24, 2024
american coins background

We're not going to lie — it's fun to read about those million-dollar ancient coins, but what we really want to do is find a treasure in our pocket change. Consider this list of the most valuable coins in circulation as your go-to guide to sorting through your coins before you put them in the vending machine. All of these coins are recent, real, and worth way more than face value.

Six Valuable Coins in Circulation Right Now

There are a lot of valuable coins in circulation, but that doesn't mean you're likely to run into them. However, the coins on this list exist in quantities that mean you might actually find one.

Valuable Coin in Circulation Price Range in Good Condition
1995 Doubled die Lincoln penny $60 to $115
Pre-1965 Washington quarter $16 to $165
1976-S Bicentennial Washington quarter $12 to $400
2004 Wisconsin quarter with extra leaf up to $6,000
1996-W Roosevelt time up to $412
1982 No-mint-mark Roosevelt dime up to $2,185

1995 Doubled Die Lincoln Penny

1995 1C Doubled Die Obverse

The Lincoln penny is a familiar sight in anyone's pocket, but there's a special 1995 penny you should watch for. In 1995, about 500,000 were minted with an error. The die struck the penny twice, giving an echo to some of the design on the front. It's especially noticeable on the word "Liberty." In very good circulated condition, they can be worth $60 to $115, but one in gem condition sold for $5,052.

Related: 10 Most Valuable Rare Pennies and Their Fascinating Stories

Pre-1965 Washington Quarter

1964 25C SMS MS67

Check your change for quarters dating to 1964 and before. Because they are composed of 90% silver, they have a value that's always going to be more than 25 cents. In fact, it's common for 1964 quarters to sell for between $16 and $165. The better shape the coin is in and the older it is, the more it may be worth.

Related: 10 Most Valuable Washington Quarters Collectors Dream About

1976-S Bicentennial Washington Quarter

1976-S 25C Silver MS69

In 1976, the United States was celebrating its bicentennial, and a special design of the Washington quarter helped commemorate the event. The quarter is fairly common in circulated grades, but it's worth more than 25 cents. It shows Washington's profile and 1776-1976 on the front and a drummer boy on the back. In good shape, they can be worth from about $12 to $400.

2004 Wisconsin State Quarter With Extra Leaf

2004-D 25C Wisconsin, Extra Leaf Lo

One of the most valuable quarters in the statehood series, some 2004-D Wisconsin quarters have a minting mistake of an extra leaf on the ear of corn. The extra leaf can appear in different places. In circulated condition, they're still really valuable (like $300 valuable). In pristine shape, they can be worth up to $6,000.

Related: 10 Most Valuable Error Coins Proving That Weird Is Worth a Lot

1996-W Roosevelt Dime

1996-W 10C MS69 Full Torch

Roosevelt dimes from 1996 are really common, but there's one variation that's special. The 1996-W was a special edition made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the design. They were never supposed to be released into circulation, but there were about 1.5 million made as part of a proof set. Those proof coins have eventually made their way into people's pocket change, and they can be worth a lot (at least $10 in most cases). One in pristine shape sold for about $412.

Related: 18 Most Valuable Roosevelt Dimes for Collectors

1982 No-Mint-Mark Roosevelt Dime

1982 10C No P MS68 PCGS.

In 1980, the Philadelphia Mint began stamping dimes with a "P." However, in 1982, about 75,000 dimes were released into circulation without a mint mark, presumably because a mint worker forgot this step. These are rare, but they do exist in people's change. Those with a strong strike (meaning the details of the coin are bold and deeply stamped) are worth the most with one in beautiful condition selling for $2,185.

Quick Tip

Grab a magnifying glass when you're checking through the coins on your dresser or the change you get. A lot of the things that make coins valuable are tiny details like mint marks (or the lack of them) or errors like the extra leaf on the Wisconsin quarter or the doubled die on the 1995 Lincoln penny.

How to Spot a Valuable Coin in Your Change

Knowing what to look for when it comes to the most valuable coins in circulation can help you keep an eye out for some of these superstars. Besides looking for specific coins, there are a few factors that can make a coin worth something.

  • Errors - Error coins tend to be worth more than normal strikes because it's rare for the mint to make mistakes. Anything weird on a coin is worth a look.
  • Historical importance - If something major happened the year the coin was struck, it might make it more valuable.
  • Mint condition - We know you're looking for coins in circulation, but if you get one that's perfect and is older, it might be worth more than face value.

Check the Details for the Most Valuable Coins in Circulation

Before you pay for your parking or get yourself a gumball out of the machine, take a sec to give your coins a good look. Some of the most valuable coins in circulation look a lot like ordinary money, so check those details before you spend.

Check Your Change: Six of the Most Valuable Coins in Circulation