We often think of heading to a regular job, becoming self-employed, or even having a garage sale to make some extra money. However, sometimes there’s actually money to be made in our money.
And the great thing about this is that you don’t have to be any sort of financial guru or even a professional numismatist to take advantage of this free money. All you might have to do is pull out your wallet, purse, or pocket money and give it a quick sorting to find additional money in your cash.
The US Mint notes that, “Most coins can circulate for about 25 years before they become too worn to be used anymore. That’s a long time when you consider that the average dollar lasts for only 18 months.”
With the lifespan of bills so short, it means that their value to collectors can increase more rapidly than certain coins. Things like print errors, bill replacements (denoted by a * by the serial number), certain favorable serial numbers or number orders (things like 55555555, 12345678, or a birth date like 12251980), bills in uncirculated condition, or old or no longer printed versions of bills, could be worth more to collectors.
It typically doesn’t take long to make a quick look through the old wallet or purse and check out the bills you’re carrying. They could be worth significantly more than their face value.
Higher value coins
If you know what to look for, just regular pocket change can be worth multiple times its face value. From clipped planchets, off center strikes, and broadstrikes (coins that were improperly struck during the minting process), to finding wheat pennies, pre-1965 dimes, quarters, and half dollars made of 90 percent silver, or even just picking out pre-1983 higher copper content pennies, I’ve found hundreds of dollars worth of coins over the years that are worth more than just their face value.
To increase my knowledge and awareness of coins and coin collecting, I tend to visit sites like Coinflation.com, LincolnCentResource.com, and of course, eBay.
Even pennies are potential money makers
Some people might snub pennies as “not worth their time” to pick up or keep in their pocket change these days; however, it doesn’t mean that these social outcasts of the coin world or worthless. In actuality, they can still be quite valuable, providing returns far beyond their face value.
As I mentioned, finding pre-1983 pennies made of 97.5 percent copper means that their metal content is worth double the face value of the coin itself. I’d estimate that currently, I find one such version for every five pennies I search. Meanwhile, wheat pennies (pennies with grains of wheat rather than the Lincoln Memorial printed on them) are still common among the circulating coins out there, but could be worth many times (even in relatively poor condition) their face value. I’d estimate that currently, for every 125 pennies I search, I find one wheat penny. Other high condition or rare pennies can bring substantial value with them as well. It might just take a little time to get used to coin conditions, the coin grading system, and which coins are rarer than others.
So money is out there if you’re willing to take a little time to learn about it and look for it. You might even one day be able to turn your hobby into an income-generating business.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.