Check your change when you go shopping. I am not talking about checking your change to be sure you get the correct change (though that is always a good idea), I am talking about checking your change for coins that might be worth a lot more than you think.

Take a look at the photos below -- they are photos of a Jefferson nickel that came in change at a fast food restaurant. You might not be able to make out the date.

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At first glance the nickel looks like an "everyday nickel" that is worn. But look closely. The coin was minted during World War II and there is a big letter -- a "P" -- over the dome of Monticello on the reverse.

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Nickels minted during the War with a big letter over the dome (P, D or S) were made with "silver." Each of the so-called "war nickels" contains 0.0563 troy ounces of silver.

The website www.coinflation.com has tables which tell you how much silver coinage is worth based on current silver prices. And as I write this that "nickel" given in change is worth $1.25. While that's not a fortune, it gives you an idea that coins worth more than face value are worth money.

I also got a quarter from a fast food restaurant from 1964. This quarter is 90% silver and 1964 was the last year that the U.S. Mint made 90% silver coins for general circulation. According to coinflation.com the quarter right now has 0.1808 troy ounces of silver worth $4.01 which was almost the cost of that fast food I picked up.

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While you won't get rich picking up this small change with real silver content, a few dollars here and a few dollars there... and you can have a nice lunch.

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