Take out your piggy bank because what may seem like near-worthless pennies may get you $85,000.
Pennies from the year 1943 are considered extremely valuable, and not just because of their age. During the 1940s, the U.S. was in the middle of World War II and saving its copper supplies for the war effort. WITI reports that pennies made that year were made from stainless steel, not copper.
These stainless steel pennies are considered to be incredibly valuable, as the U.S. Mint returned to the copper penny after the war. The steel pennies were easily confused with dimes and rusted too easily.
While these steel pennies could bring you a nice windfall, it’s nothing compared to the value of 1943 copper pennies. Although all pennies were supposed to be made with steel that year, some copper versions were still accidentally sent into circulation.
If you find a 1943 penny, pull out a magnet to check if it’s made of copper. If there’s no magnetic pull, then you’re in luck.
Copper pennies in average condition have a value of around $63,000, according to appraisers. Mint condition pennies could bring in $85,000. In 2010, a 1943 copper penny sold for a whopping $1.7 million.
In 1982, the rising cost of copper forced the U.S. mint to switch to zinc pennies that are then coated with a copper veneer.
KTRK warns that even if you find a 1943 penny, you should make sure that it’s not a fake. Because of the penny’s high value, many are producing and selling fraudulent coins. Scam artists will either copper plate the coins or take a 1948 coin and file down the left side of the 8 so it looks like a 3.
This isn’t the only time pennies have sold for far more than their worth. In 2012, Bob R. Simpson, co-chair of MLB’s Texas Rangers, bought a 1943 Lincoln penny for $1 million at an auction. The penny was mistakenly made with bronze instead of zinc-coated steel.
Interesting pennies aren’t the only type of currency fetching a hefty sum, either. Philly.com reports that $1 bills with interesting serial numbers could be worth up to $1,000. Serial numbers to look for include: 55555555, bills with the serial number 00000100 or lower, bills with the serial number 99999900 or higher, and bills with seven numbers the same in a row.
No matter what, check your pockets because you never know what you’ll find.