Have I ever had a $1000 Coke?

Have I ever had $1000 in my pocket, only to mistakenly slip it in a vending machine? Have I ever thrown my retirement into a tollbooth?

Wondering if there are coins that are “hidden in plain sight” in circulation… rare because of some marking or error, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for you’d think it looked like any other quarter…

Or if any coin that’s in regular circulation isn’t in mint condition, and as such even a “unique” quarter that lands in your pocket isn’t going to be worth much more than, say 35 cents?

Maybe, but I doubt it.

Were you hoping for a better response to a question like that?


Well, the reason coins like that are expensive is because they are rare. Now I suppose that with a high turnover rate of coins that ups the chance that you’ve had one at one time or another. Maybe somebody else wants to crunch some numbers. How old are you?

Yes, you did. The date was January 3, 1977. It was a double headed George Washington dime. You used it to buy a Hershey bar in the local corner store. It would have brought you not only fortune, but fame. Worth 1 million times it’s value, it would have been better than winning the lottery, and you wouldn’t have to worry about the stock market crash, because all your money would be tied up in low risk investments and gold. Pity, but you can’t change the past. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and make sure you check those nickles in the future, damn it!

Many people know that in 1943, pennies were made out of steel, to save copper for the war effort. What not so many know is that at the very beginning of the year, a few dozen were accidentally made from the usual copper. Most of them are believed to still be in circulation, and they’re worth tens of thousands of dollars.

They’re not completely inconspicuous, since they have the wheat sheaves on the reverse instead of the now-common Lincoln Memorial. Still, the last time you saw a wheatie penny, did you specifically check the date?

A couple of years ago, a numismatist deliberately released several rare pennies into circulation, to promote National Coin Week. See here for more details.

For a while when I was a teenager, I would check coins to see if they were rare/valuable. After a while with no success, I gave up. I think the problem is that there is a small but significant number of coin fanatics out there who check thousands and thousands of coins. There’s a pretty good chance that these folks will find most of the rare coins and take them out of circulation. So the odds that a regular person will get a rare coin are pretty low.

I would analogize it to those contests on the radio. If you enjoy listening to the radio all day long, there’s no harm in trying to win. But from a cost-benefit point of view, it’s uneconomical. Because there are too many basement dwelling unemployed people and bored switchboard operators trying to win.

Similarly, I would guess that there are a lot more efficient ways to make money than checking all your coins.

I had a $300 Pepsi once.

Amusing anecdote time.

Many years I was listening to my favorite station around 3am when they had one of their call-in contests. Caller number 7.

I was all seven callers… :smiley:

If they’ve actually been circulating for 65 years, they would likely be in rather rough shape. Let’s hope they’ve been safely squirreled away, soon to emerge in pristine condition.

Back when I used to collect coins, a standard joke was to offer to sell a fellow collector a 1943 copper cent for, say, $50 - guaranteed authentic and in fine condition. When it came time to put up or shut up, you produced a 1943 Canadian cent.

My mother inherited several rolls of quarters from the 1950’s.

When he was 9, my brother found them, and spent them all on junk food and soda.

He also blew through about $20 in other vintage coinage from the same era.

He’s still alive, surprisingly.

Anecdotal information:
Many years ago, fresh out of school, I worked as a programmer for a 60-person company that sold rare coins to investors. The owner of the company started out as a teenager by buying rolls of dollar coins from the bank, sorting out the good ones, and bringing the rest back to the bank. It was not only rarity, but the condition of the coin, that determined its price.

For an example of how condition of a coin can dramatically change the price, see a price list here for 1909 Lincoln cents showing the VDB initials

Look at the price line for
1909 VDB (Lincoln Penny) RD (Red color)
MS 60 (Mint State 60) estimated price $32
MS 63 (Mint State 63) estimated price $70
MS 64 (Mint State 64) estimated price $160
MS 65 (Mint State 65) estimated price $250
MS 66 (Mint State 66) estimated price $550
MS 67 (Mint State 67) estimated price $1,650
MS 68 (Mint State 68) estimated price $20,000

At that site, an almost “perfect” coin - none of the relief is worn, no scratches, etc. would be MS 70 (see their grading standards here http://www.pcgs.com/grades.chtml ) Complicating the fact is that coin grading is somewhat of a subjective business.

If you find a coin in your pocket, there is not much chance that it be anywhere near Mint State.

My google-fu is weak, but there was recently a New York City rare coin dealer who put some fairly rare and valuable coins into circulation by using them at street food vendors in Manhattan. He did it just for the hell of it and also to make some coin collector’s day. Keep an eye out for that 1909S VDB penny in your change.

No need for Google - just check post #6 in this thread.

Was that the strip club down by the airport?

No, a diner at an airport.

“Circulating” probably wasn’t quite the right term, there. Most wheaties have probably been taken out of actual circulation by folks who go “Ooh, neat, a wheatie”, without regard for any actual value. They’re probably on the top of some dresser somewhere, collecting dust. The point is, most of those '43 coppers are probably held by people who have no idea of their value.

I have some quarters from the 1950’s. You’re telling me they’re worth something?

Switchboard operators still exist?!

My father used to have some uncirculated silver dollars from the Nineteenth Century. I took them and spent them, probably on candy. Man, did I get the crap beat out of me for that.

Several years ago, I picked up a penny in a parking lot. It was a 1914-D. I’ve had it certified as Extra-Fine condition, now listed at almost $1000.