You might assume the only way to really cash in on pennies is using it to scratch off a winning lottery ticket. However, spotting a certain rare penny could earn you way more than one cent.
A man named Michael Tremonti found that out firsthand back in 2007 while sorting through a 50-cent roll of pennies. According to coin expert Ken Potter, Tremonti made it through more than half of them before noticing one that looked different from the others. It turned out he had happened upon a 1969-S Double Die Lincoln Cent.
As the name suggests, this particular penny features the letters for “In God We Trust” and “Liberty” appearing doubled up, plus extra thick “1969” and “S” mint marks, because of an error while die-casting the coin. Interestingly, they were all considered part of a counterfeit scheme when originally discovered in 1970, but the government later confirmed some found with the mint mark were indeed genuine.
The Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) claims less than 100 authentic 1969-S Doubled Die Lincon Cent coins were produced and that less than 40 real deals have been verified over the years. That obviously makes it one of the most difficult and sought-after pieces for coin collectors.
Although Potter was skeptical of Tremonti’s find when he contacted him for help verifying the rare penny, PCGS confirmed its authenticity. Not only that, but because the coin had also been uncirculated and was in such incredible condition, it sold for a whopping $126,500.
Even more incredibly, Tremonti scored again just two years later with another 1969-S Double Die Lincoln Cent that sold for $86,250! Lightning might not strike twice, but luck sure did for this guy.
And if it can happen to him, what’s stopping you from stumbling upon this cash cow? Sure, the coin might be incredibly rare, but that just makes the hunt for it all the more enticing!
Who knows, you might also find the even more lucrative 1943 copper penny, a Wisconsin quarter with an extra leaf on its ear of corn, or the Liberty nickel (AKA the most valuable U.S. coin) sitting in your coin jar.