Listen to that jingle in your pocket or change purse… there could be some hidden treasure waiting to be discovered! If you’re not already in the habit of checking your change, perhaps you should start.

For instance, dimes, quarters and half-dollars dated 1964 and prior are 90% silver. Kennedy half dollars dated 1965 to 1970, are 40% silver. And Jefferson nickels dated 1942 through 1945, also called war nickels, are 35% silver. Looking for hidden treasures in your pocket change is a great way to get started with coin collecting.

The silver content makes these coins worth more than their face values.

Lincoln cents minted from 1909 to 1958, also called wheat pennies or wheat cents, are worth more than the face value of one cent. Most are worth two to five cents each, or even more, depending on condition, date, and mint. Many coin collectors have started their collections with Lincoln pennies. They are still found in circulation and most can be purchased for a moderate price (or found in your change).

Pennies are made from copper…except for the year 1943. This is the only year that pennies were made from steel because copper was used for the war effort. It’s believed that approximately forty 1943 copper pennies remain in existence. A 1943 copper cent was first sold in 1958, bringing more than $40,000. The highest amount paid for a 1943 copper penny was $1.7 million in 2010.

Since the 1943 copper penny is rare and highly valued, fakes abound. The easiest way to determine if a 1943 penny is copper, is to use a magnet. If it sticks to the magnet, it’s not copper. If it doesn’t stick, the coin might be made of copper and should be authenticated by an expert.

The 1943 copper penny is an example of an “error coin.” Although most error coins are recycled before they leave a mint facility, the few that make it into circulation are often considered collectibles. And, it’s possible you may find them in your pocket change.

Error coins are classified into three major categories: die errors, planchet errors, and striking errors. Within each, there are subcategories: off-center strikes, overdates, and multiple-struck coins.

Looking for hidden treasures in your pocket change is a great way to get started with coin collecting. However, before investing too much money purchasing coins, you should do your research first. A great book for the beginner as well as the seasoned collector is “The Guide Book of United States Coins,” also known as the Red Book.

Here at K & M Treasures and Antiques we buy, sell and trade coins. We have a large selection of coins for the beginning or avid collector all reasonably priced to sell. So, come check us out in beautiful, historic downtown Zephyrhills at 38438 5th Ave.

Happy Collecting!