Spare Change: Half-Cent Coins Hiding Among Your Pennies Could Be Worth Thousands

by Megan Molseed
(Photo Illustration by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Could we have some secret wealth hiding among our spare change? We have all heard the stories of people finding a rare coin in circulation – ones worth a lot of money. These unique and valuable coins can often hide in plain sight, looking similar to other coins that are worth quite a bit less. One of these mints includes some half-cents pieces. These rare coins can easily disguise themselves as simple pennies…but they are worth a whole lot more than one cent!

Some of these half-cent pieces have a history spanning nearly two centuries. That’s right, some of these coins that could be hiding within our penny baskets and jars could be close to two hundred years old!

These half-cent pice coins were minted between 1793 to 1857. The half-cent coins are the smallest denomination coin to be produced by the US Mint as of yet. When produced, these unique coins went for $0.005.

“While this unusual denomination might seem useless today, it was an important part of our monetary system back when working wages were $1 per 10-hour day,” notes Ron Guth, the president of the Professional Coin Grading Service.

This Rare Coin is Worth How Much?!

Recently, one of these unique coins showed its worth to be well above the $.005 it was originally worth, selling for a jaw-dropping $3,300 online.

The 1793 half-cent is considered to be extremely rare, thus the high selling cost.

The design of this rare coin shows that it belongs to a series called the Liberty Cap. The coin that was recently sold for the shocking amount of $3,300 features an image of Liberty looking to her left.

“The 1793 Half Cent is a scarce date,” Ron Guth says of the half-cent coin. “And was one of the very first coins issued by the US Mint.”

This is just my “two cents” worth…but that is quite the unprecedented increase in value!

Is Your Spare Change Worth More Than You Think?

So, what could our spare change be worth once we take a closer look? Not all rare coins that sneak into our own collections can find a $3,000+ pay-off such as the half-cent piece. Seriously, this coin went for 67 million percent more than its original value. However, there are still some valuable finds lurking within coin jars throughout the country.

There are a variety of unique coins such as Lincoln pennies; half dollars, and rare buffalo nickles that could easily find their way into our regular coin circulation.

Many of these valuable coins find increased value due to a variety of reasons. These reasons include a rare mintage life or errors that make the coin unique.