Coins with mint errors can be worth thousands—what’s in your quarters?

US coins Indie Art South picDo you ever really look at the change in your pocket? I don’t. I use it either to donate to various charity boxes at retailers or to offset getting more coins when I pay cash for something. I didn’t know that coins with mint errors could be in my purse, and I didn’t know they’re valuable. I came across an article about mint coin errors this morning, and I realized old coins are in many ways a work of art that can increase in value.

I never even thought about who designs our coins in the USA, although I knew the US Mint does. If you check out the official website, you’ll see all sorts of creative approaches in design. The Mint only does our coins—paper money is manufactured by The Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The article I came across detailed a 1970 quarter that reportedly could be worth up to $35,000. I always remind people when you’re talking about the value of something, consider the likelihood of someone actually paying the amount in question, but that’s another topic. Wide Open Country reported on this quarter, and the reasons it’s considered valuable:

“Why is the 1970 S proof Washington quarter so valuable? It’s actually a mint error that is driving the price so high. This version of the 1970 quarter was actually formed over top of a 1941 Canadian quarter. If you look on the back of this coin, you’ll spot an upside down 1941 mark on the back. It’s located above the word “dollar.”

The mint coin error arena must be robust—if you do a search on Duck Duck Go, you’ll find all sorts of books in response to using the terms “books on mint coin errors” in your search bar.

The article at Wide Open Country cited one author, Mike Byers, who has written books such as World’s Greatest Mint Errors.

Years ago, my husband and I owned a bar. Every now and then we’d come across an old coin, and we saved them just for fun. None of them were worth thousands, but they made great conversation pieces. Just thinking about a coin from the early 1900s, and how many hands that coin passed through to get to us, opened the door to daydreams.

If you’re a musician or other artist who sometimes gets coin in your tip jar, check those coins out before you spend them. You could be sitting on a Mint error worth lots more money than the face value of your coin.

(Kay B. Day/Aug. 26, 2019)

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