20 Pennies That’s Worth More Than You Can Think Of

Published on 11/04/2020
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Since ancient Rome, people have been collecting coins. Others just do so for fun. Others do so with the intent, even the penny, of selling these coins for a profit. As other coins, over the years , the United States penny has had numerous styles and compositions, and certain pennies are worth much more than the face value of one cent, even when carefully preserved. There are the 20 most popular pennies, with a combined $5.5 million worth of them.

Some pennies are much more valuable than one cent.

How to Determine the Value of a Penny

To evaluate coins, standards have been developed. It is popular to use an updated version of the Sheldon Scale, which grades coins on a scale from 1 to 70. Qualities such as color wear, and rarity influence the rating of a coin. Those minted in recent years are worth, well, a penny for most pennies. Most cents of wheat are between 4 or 5 cents worth. Many in poorer condition will have a value of double digits. Special examples would be even more worthwhile. In total, pennies from Indian Head from 1859 to 1879 are worth more than $10. And pennies dated between 1879 and 1909 are worth at least $1. There is, then, another step. This is the class of the elite.

How to Determine the Value of a Penny

How to Determine the Value of a Penny

1873 Doubled ‘Closed 3’ Indian Head Penny

Sold at auction: $12,650

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1873 Doubled 'Closed 3' Indian Head Penny

1873 Doubled ‘Closed 3’ Indian Head Penny

Bottom Line: 1873 Doubled ‘Closed 3’ Indian Head Penny

Due to doubling, this coin is even more expensive, seen here in the word “LIBERTY.” Only about one million of these “closed 3” coins and about 11 million “open 3” coins were available. Depending on the variation of the number used in the die, the open and closed designations apply to the sum of space in the number 3 on the coin. One of these was sold at a Heritage Auction in Pittsburgh in October 2011 with a red-brown coloration and in near uncirculated condition.

Bottom Line: 1873 Doubled 'Closed 3' Indian Head Penny

Bottom Line: 1873 Doubled ‘Closed 3’ Indian Head Penny

1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

Sold on eBay: $19,950

Weight: 13.48 grams

Metal: Copper

1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

Bottom Line: 1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

Beginning in 1793, the Flowing Hair large cent was produced. The third variant of the Flowing Hair coin was the Liberty Cap style. It was introduced late in 1793 and manufactured until 1796, when the Draped Bust form was replaced. Because of its rarity, this one was sold on eBay in January 2019 for a lot of money even with smoothed surfaces.

Bottom Line: 1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

Bottom Line: 1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

Sold at auction: $48,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

Bottom Line: 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

This coin, like the 1922-D Lincoln, No D, Solid Reverse, Die Pair 2, lacks the mint mark on the face of the coin. The reverse image on this coin is not as sharp, though. One in outstanding condition was sold by Heritage Auctions in March 2018.

Bottom Line: 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

Bottom Line: 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2

Sold at auction: $63,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2

1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2

Bottom Line: 1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2

At the Denver Mint, one or two damaged die resulted in coins struck without a mintmark. Although most coins are from the Philadelphia Mint without a mark, in 1922, Denver was the only mint to strike pennies. Around 15,000 to 20,000 coins are thought to have been made in this manner. As the die used for the reverse was a new one, the picture on the reverse is sharper than that on the face. In March 2018, a red coin in mint condition was sold in Baltimore.

Bottom Line: 1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2

Bottom Line: 1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2

1914-S Lincoln Penny

Sold: $105,800

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1914-S Lincoln Penny

1914-S Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1914-S Lincoln Penny

At the San Francisco Mint, over 4 million of these pennies were minted (the S designation). To avoid rust and maintain its bright copper-red color, this one tends to be uncirculated and properly stored. Bowers & Merena sold the pristine penny, in its original bright red color, in August 2006.

Bottom Line: 1914-S Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1914-S Lincoln Penny

1944-D Lincoln Penny

Sold at auction:$115,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1944-D Lincoln Penny

1944-D Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1944-D Lincoln Penny

This penny is another “mistake.” It was struck on a zinc-coated steel planchet, or coin blank, which had been used in 1943. In 1944, the mint went back to using copper planchets. While both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints have specimens of this coin in zinc, it is reported that there are no more than 10 from Denver. Heritage Auctions sold an uncirculated one in August, 2007.

Bottom Line: 1944-D Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1944-D Lincoln Penny

1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse

Sold at auction: $126,500

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, zinc

1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse

1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse

Bottom Line: 1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse

Since they are almost 100% copper, rather than an alloy, Lincoln pennies that were minted between 1959 and 1982 tend to be worth more. Improperly prepared dies with a “double” image can result in coins. The most well-known was in 1955, but in coins dated 1917, 1936, 1958, 1969-S, 1971, 1971-S, 1972, and 1995, this also occurred. Originally believed to be counterfeit, before acknowledging the error, the government destroyed five coins. In January 2008, at Heritage Auctions in Orlando, a doubled die obverse uncirculated penny, red-brown in color, sold.

Bottom Line: 1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse

Bottom Line: 1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse

1872 Indian Head Penny

Sold at auction: $126,500

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1872 Indian Head Penny

1872 Indian Head Penny

Bottom Line: 1872 Indian Head Penny

Over 4 million of these coins were minted, but in terms of quality they were inconsistent, so problem-free examples are quite rare. Not only was this particular coin in excellent condition. It was struck from a new set of coin dies, as well. It was sold by Heritage Auctions in Milwaukee in August 2007.

Bottom Line: 1872 Indian Head Penny

Bottom Line: 1872 Indian Head Penny

1926-S Lincoln Penny

Sold at auction: $149,500

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1926-S Lincoln Penny

1926-S Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1926-S Lincoln Penny

The uncirculated 1926 penny was sold by Heritage Auctions in Orlando in January 2006. While the excellent condition makes it valuable, as only nine other wheat pennies were produced in lesser quantities, it would be so even in worse condition.

Bottom Line: 1926-S Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1926-S Lincoln Penny

1877 Indian Head Penny

Sold at auction: $149,500

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1877 Indian Head Penny

1877 Indian Head Penny

Bottom Line: 1877 Indian Head Penny

This is the rare penny of an Indian Head. Only 852,500 were made because of an economic slump that started in 1873. In August 2007, Heritage Auctions in Milwaukee sold one in its original copper-red color.

Bottom Line: 1877 Indian Head Penny

Bottom Line: 1877 Indian Head Penny

1914-D Lincoln Penny

Sold at auction: $158,625

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1914-D Lincoln Penny

1914-D Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1914-D Lincoln Penny

Although it had a mintage of just over 1 million (which is low for a penny), most of these coins went into circulation, so it is rare to see an instance of mint condition. This coin’s scarcity enhances its value. It may be worth $125 or more to even those in less than perfect condition. Legend Rare Coin Auctions sold an uncirculated, red Denver Mint penny online in May 2018.

Bottom Line: 1914-D Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1914-D Lincoln Penny

1864 Indian Head Penny With ‘L’ on the Ribbon

Sold at auction: $161,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1864 Indian Head Penny With 'L' on the Ribbon

1864 Indian Head Penny With ‘L’ on the Ribbon

Bottom Line: 1864 Indian Head Penny With ‘L’ on the Ribbon

The penny design for the Indian Head dates back to 1859. The government had difficulty obtaining metal for coins during the Civil War, so they switched from a copper-nickel mix to a bronze alloy halfway through 1864. In Lady Liberty ‘s war bonnet, a “L” was also added to the tail of the ribbon halfway through the year. Approximately 5 million of these coins have been produced, and only a few remain in an uncirculated state. This one was sold in October 2011 by Heritage Auctions in Pittsburgh.

Bottom Line: 1864 Indian Head Penny With 'L' on the Ribbon

Bottom Line: 1864 Indian Head Penny With ‘L’ on the Ribbon

1856 Flying Eagle Penny

Sold at auction: $172,500

Weight: 4.70 grams

Metal: Copper-nickel

1856 Flying Eagle Penny

1856 Flying Eagle Penny

Bottom Line: 1856 Flying Eagle Penny

In 1856, the cost of copper cost more than one cent to produce a penny, so the U.S. Mint decided to reduce the size to what we see now. The coin was 19 millimeters in diameter prior to this, almost as large as the current nickel. It was only from 1856 to 1858 that the Flying Eagle design was produced. Only 2,000 were made in 1856. Heritage Auctions in Orlando sold one in pristine condition in January 2004.

Bottom Line: 1856 Flying Eagle Penny

Bottom Line: 1856 Flying Eagle Penny

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Sold at auction: $204,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

While this specific coin ‘s condition is not mint, this penny has the distinction of being the one that caused the U.S. Mint to confess that that year some pennies were mistakenly minted in bronze. A teenager discovered this in his 1947 pocket change from a high school cafeteria. This is one of only 10 to 15 examples of pennies that are known to exist, and this particular coin was first sold in January 2019 by Heritage Auctions in Florida. In January 2013, another 1943 bronze penny was sold by Stack Bowers Galleries for $164,500, in its original copper-red color.

Bottom Line: 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

Sold at auction: $258,500

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

In 1909, the first Lincoln pennies were made. Initially, the coins included the designer’s initials, “V.D.B.” on the bottom of the coin’s rear side. These initials were removed for future coins after some complaints about their prominence. While there are more than half a million pennies that include V.D.B., a matte proof die was used to create this specific penny. Among these proofs, only 1,194 were struck before the initials were removed. One was sold in excellent condition by Heritage Auctions in Chicago in August 2014.

Bottom Line: 1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

1943-S Lincoln Cent

Sold at auction: $282,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1943-S Lincoln Cent

1943-S Lincoln Cent

Bottom Line: 1943-S Lincoln Cent

This is another Lincoln cent from 1943 that was supposed to be hit on a zinc-plated steel planchet, but was instead coined in bronze. It is said to be the “second-finest certified 1943-S bronze cent,” one of six known examples produced at the San Francisco Mint. In February 2016, it was sold at Heritage Auctions in Long Beach , California.

Bottom Line: 1943-S Lincoln Cent

Bottom Line: 1943-S Lincoln Cent

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

Sold at auction: $336,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

The result of a minting error is a double die coin. Part of the image appears to be “double” on these coins. This penny has a strong doubling of the wording on the face, and it is extremely rare as only three of these coins are known to exist. This example is also red in color, adding to the penny ‘s value. It was sold in March 2018 at the Baltimore Coin Show at Stacks Bowers Galleries Auction.

Bottom Line: 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

Sold at auction: $373,750

Weight: 2.70 grams

Metal: Zinc-coated steel

1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

Bottom Line: 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

All Lincoln pennies were supposed to be minted once again in the original bronze alloy in 1944 (95% copper and 5% tin). Somehow, in the coining press, zinc-plated steel planchets (used in 1943) ended, surprisingly, in all three mints. An uncirculated zinc coin was sold at Heritage Auctions in Baltimore in August 2008.

Bottom Line: 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

Bottom Line: 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Private sale: Over $1 million

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin, zinc

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

This penny, like the 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny, was mistakenly minted in bronze. While other of these bronze coins were made at this mint, at the Philadelphia Mint this coin is the only certified “red” penny of this year to be coined. (There is no mint mark on coins minted in Philadelphia.) In 2018, it was sold at a private sale in Tampa , Florida.

Bottom Line: 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Bottom Line: 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny

Private sale: $1,700,000

Weight: 3.11 grams

Metal: Copper, tin

1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny

1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny

Bottom Line: 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny

Instead of zinc-plated steel (bronze and copper were saved to fill metal shortages during World War II), there is only one known example of a 1943 Lincoln-D penny struck in bronze alloy. Although there is no record of any other bronze 1943 pennies minted in Denver (indicated on the coin by the ‘D’), at each of the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints, up to 20 examples may have been struck on the bronze alloy. This particular coin was sold in a private sale by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey in September 2010.

Bottom Line: 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny

Bottom Line: 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny

Check Your Pocket Change for Pennies Worth Money

In your pocket, most of the pennies are not worth much more than face value. But some can fetch real dollars, as you can see. So check your change in your pocket. Don’t even think about spending it if you find one of these coins. That penny might turn you into a millionaire.

Check Your Pocket Change for Pennies Worth Money

Check Your Pocket Change for Pennies Worth Money

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