Rare Penny Sells at Auction for $1.1 Million. Here's How to See If You Have One in Your Swear Jar. A 1958 penny with a minting defect had one collector shelling out a whole lot more pennies to add it to their collection.

By Dan Bova

John_Brueske | Getty Images

I'm seemingly one of the last human beings to pay for things with cash, and I mention this because there's nothing like the self-satisfaction that comes with dropping my change into the tip jar at my local coffee shop. I imagine jaws dropping in awe of my generosity as I plunk 37 cents into a jar and move on with my day, having done my part to heal the world.

Well, there's a slight chance that I may have been even more generous than I realized. Fox News reports that this past January, a penny from 1958 sold at auction for a record $1.136 million.

Related: This Is How Much Elvis Presley's Private Jet Just Sold for at Auction

Was this the most perfect penny ever minted? Quite the opposite. The penny is believed to be one of three made in 1958 that "have severe doubling of letters in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST and the word LIBERTY on the front of the coin," according to a statement issued by Ian Russell, president at GreatCollections Coin Auctions. That means the pennies were accidentally stamped twice during the minting process creating a blurred, double-letter effect.

Still don't understand why that would make it super-valuable? Neither do I. But here's the important part: other people do think they are valuable, and although rare, there is a chance you might have one in a jar, at the bottom of your bag, or on the floor of your car. Many double-stamped pennies have sold for thousands of dollars, depending on a few factors.

"The price of a doubled die penny can vary widely depending on factors such as the coin's condition, rarity and provenance," said coin collector Sean K. August, per Fox News. "Additionally, the historical significance of the error and the uniqueness of each coin further contribute to their value."

Related: Michael Jordan's Jersey Breaks Sports Memorabilia Record with $10.1 Million Sale

So our advice is to start rooting through piles of change you might have around your home, dump out your swear jar, and look for any pennies that make you feel like you're seeing double. And next time I buy some coffee, I'm asking for all of my change in pennies, please.

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his latest humor books for kids, including Wendell the Werewolf, Road & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, and The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff.

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