How To Check If You Have An $82,500 Penny

source: US Coin Guide

Although pennies were definitely a useful form of currency at one time, they’ve been pretty much useless to us for the last number of decades. Are you going to carry around a suitcase full of pennies to pay for a restaurant meal? Probably not — unless you want your server to hate you.

However, you might not want to throw away all of your pennies just yet. As it turns out, some pennies can be quite valuable. You might even have some of them sitting around collecting dust in your basement without even knowing it.

So before you go and decide that those tiny copper coins are worthless, know that you should be on the lookout for pennies with a 1943 stamp. What’s so special about 1943 pennies? A lot, actually.

According to the American Numismatic Association, the 1943 copper penny is one of the most sought-after coins out there. Nearly all pennies minted in 1943 were struck in zinc-coated steel because copper and nickel were needed for the war effort.

Apparently, there are only 40 copper-alloy 1943 pennies in existence. Experts have theorized that the pennies were struck by accident when copper-alloy blanks were accidentally left in the coin press when production began on the new steel pennies.

In 1996, someone even paid $82,500 for a 1943 copper penny! Because these things are so widely sought-after, many people have even begun to make counterfeits. The 1943 penny is often imitated by 1945, 1948, and 1949 pennies.

So if you think you might own one of these super valuable coins, here’s how you can be sure. The fastest and easiest way to determine whether a 1943 penny is made of steel, not copper, is to hold a magnet up to the coin. If it sticks to the magnet, it isn’t copper. If it doesn’t stick, the coin may be copper and should be examined further by a coin expert.

Have some pennies lying around? You now know what to do! Get out your glasses and a magnet to discover if you might be coming into some money in the near future.