Have any change or cash in your wallet? You might want to check it — it could be worth more than you think.
Some currencies are worth much more than their actual value — and some may be more common than others.
When it comes to coinc, specific Buffalo nickels and Kennedy half-dollar coins are among some of the most valuable, according to CoinTrackers, a currency value tracking site.
Buffalo nickels have a Native American face on the heads side with the word ‘Liberty’ etched on the top right. The tail side shows a buffalo with the words ‘United States of America’ along the top. A Buffalo nickel is one of the most common coins to find, according to John Leonard, head of Leonard Auction.
The coins were only produced from 1913 to 1938, then were replaced with the current Thomas Jefferson nickel.
“The ‘Buffalo Head nickel’ is also worth anywhere from 10 cents to thousands,” Leonard said. “One of the most desirable and rarest is the ‘Three-Legged’ Buffalo Head nickel from 1937.”
A 1935 Buffalo nickel, according to CoinTrackers, can range between $1.75 to $525, or even more, depending on the condition of the coin or if there are errors printed on the coin. A 1938 Buffalo nickel is worth between $8.50 to $44 or even more.
“These coins are riddled with errors and strange mintages,” according to CoinTrackers. “There are 3 legged buffalo, 3.5 legged buffalo, D’s over S’s Numbers stamped over numbers, and so on. The may be the most error filled group of coins the United States mint has issued in the last hundred years.”
The Kennedy half dollar coin shows former President John F. Kennedy on the face of the coin with the phrase “Liberty” spanned across the top. The phrase “In God We Trust” is also featured below Kennedy’s neck.
The coin has been printed since 1964 in honor of Kennedy after his assassination. The Kennedy half dollar coin from pre-1975 is worth between $10 and $1,500+, depending on condition and rarity.
The key aspect of the coin that causes the difference in worth is whether the print of Kennedy has “accented hair” above his ear or not. The coins with more hair are worth more because Jackie Kennedy, the president’s widow, wanted her husband’s hair to be more accentuated on the coin, according to CoinTrackers.
Leonard said the coins have always been worth more than face value.
“While the chance of finding an ultra rare coin or piece of currency is slim, it is still a fun endeavor to search for these items and learn more about the great hobby of numismatics,” Leonard said.
Other currency that are worth more than their face value are:
- Any gold coin
- Pre-1965 Dollars, Half Dollars, Quarters and Dimes
- Pre-1959 Cents
- Pre-1939 Nickels
- Coins with errors or mis-strikes
- Large-sized currency (older US bills used to be 30% larger than the bills we know today)
- Silver certificates
- Gold certificates
- National Currency
The most common note to find would be a one-dollar silver certificate, according to Leonard.
“Most are worth around $2 but might be worth hundreds depending on their condition,” Leonard said. “The other types of currency we find people discover in safe deposit boxes, shoeboxes from family members and we even had a client once who found $15,000 worth of currency in an old coffee can that (was) hidden in the brick foundation of her house.”
Previous reports noted that the value of some $2 bill could be much higher as well.
According to U.S. Currency Auctions, some versions of the $2 bill are valued at nearly $5,000.
The company said $2 bills from 1890 with a brown or red seal could sell for up to $4,500. But that’s not all.
Some newer versions of the $2 bill could also have a higher value.
Heritage Auctions sold a 2003 $2 bill for $2,400 in July 2022 — and that bill’s value could now be significantly higher.
Certain pennies that were minted in 1943 and 1944 were also some of the 25 most valuable pennies for coin collectors in 2023.
The 1944 steel wheat penny could be worth as much as $408,000 in mint condition, and up to $10,000 in average condition, the site said.
Then there’s serial numbers.
According to the U.S. government, serial numbers on currency are “a unique combination of eleven numbers and letters appears twice on the front of the note.”
But some serial numbers are more valuable than others.
For a full list of high-value serial numbers, click here.
To determine the value of any currency, residents can click here.