(Very) small change, but worth big bucks

Here's a penny for your thoughts: a 1921-S Lincoln cent coin in mint condition that has a dollar value of more than $5,000. (The S means it was minted in San Francisco.) Even a lower-grade 1921-S Lincoln can fetch a selling price of $2 - a 20,000 percent return.

Upending your piggy bank and sifting through the coins may be a good idea. But how to find out what your change is worth - short of consulting a numismatist?

Hit the Web, of course. Surf to Wall Street Rarities (www.wsrarities.com). Type in the date of the coin (any coin, not just pennies) and location of minting, and up pops a price estimate. Site users can also zoom in on pictures of coins, learn all about the grading system for coins, and buy and sell their coins online.

One pretty penny you needn't try scrounging for: the 1999 specimen shown below. This one-of-a-kind coin, privately owned, has the imprint of a dime's "tails" side on its reverse - making it worth $75,000 to $150,000.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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