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What pennies are rare and valuable?

The Top 25 Most Valuable U.S. Pennies

Want to know what the most valuable pennies are? At Coin Values, we are always staying on top of the latest changes in coin prices, and we have a list of the top 25 most valuable pennies. Small cents, by the way, are 19.1 millimeter diameter pennies that have been produced by the United States Mint since 1856. Do you have any of these coins in your penny jar? It may be worth taking a look, because many of the most valuable pennies on this list were made in the 20th century. It’s possible these coins may be hiding in the basement, inside an attic box, or even inside your penny jar.

Here’s a list of the top 25 most valuable pennies:

  1. 1943-S copper Lincoln Wheat Penny, $185,000 – The 1943-S copper cent is the one of the most valuable small cents, with one example having sold for a cool $1 million at an auction in 2012. The story behind copper 1943 Lincoln Pennies is presumed to be a pure accident at the U.S. Mint – perhaps a few leftover copper planchets from 1942 were stuck in the coining press system and struck with 1943 penny dies. Whatever the origin of the 1943 copper pennies, they are considered by the Professional Coin Grading Service to be the “most desirable and valuable of all Mint errors” and are highly sought-after by U.S. coin collectors.
  2. 1944 Steel Lincoln Wheat Penny, $125,000 – It’s believed that a similar story behind the creation of the 1943 copper cent is also what led to minting of the 1944 steel penny; blank steel cent planchets from 1943 that were hiding away in the coining presses wound up getting stamped with the 1944 dies, and the result is a rarity that financially well-heeled coin collectors will pay hundreds of thousands to buy.
  3. 1943 copper Lincoln Wheat Penny, $45,000 – A Philadelphia Mint version of the 1943 copper penny may not be worth quite as much as a San Francisco Mint or Denver Mint example in Extremely Fine grade on the Sheldon Grading Scale, but it’s a rare coin nevertheless. It’s believed that less than 30 copper 1943 pennies exist from across all three mints (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco) operating at that time.
  4. 1856 Flying Eagle penny, $12,850 – Only 2,000 examples of the Flying Eagle cents were ever made. Why so few? Actually, 1856 Flying Eagle pennies were made as a pattern coin, and while many of them circulated, the series wasn’t intended to be produced on a mass scale yet – not until 1857, anyway. Even for an example in a lowly grade of Good-4 on the Sheldon Grading Scale, 1856 Flying Eagle pennies are valued at about $7,000!
  5. 1969-S doubled die obverse Lincoln Memorial penny, $10,000 – Doubled die coins have to be one of the most popular error coin varieties out there. The 1969-S (San Francisco Mint) is no exception, and it’s not only one of the most expensive small cents, but also the priciest among the Lincoln Memorial series. Be sure to check your change for this one!
  6. 1877 Indian Head penny, $2,650 – Unlike the first five pennies listed in this article, the 1877 Indian Head cent isn’t any type of error or pattern coin. It simply is a regular-issue piece that was struck in relatively low numbers. In fact, only 852,500 were originally minted, and only a small fraction of 1877 pennies from the original mintage remain today.
  7. 1873 doubled Liberty “closed 3” Indian Head penny, $2,400 – Another doubled die cent, this piece features doubling in the word LIBERTY. A doubled die coin of any era is usually pretty scarce to begin with, but an Indian Head cent is scarcer still. The closed 3 is especially rare because only a tad more than 1 million 1873 cents of this variety were made, whereas about 11 million “open 3” cents were made.
  8. 1922 No D plain Lincoln Wheat Penny, $2,050 – Repairs to a damaged coin die left the 1922-D cent without any visible trace of its mint mark, leaving a coin that many thought back in the mid 1920s was a typical unmarked penny from the Philadelphia Mint. It was soon learned that only the Denver Mint struck pennies in 1922, and one-cent coins without a mint mark but bearing that date were in fact mistakes. Perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 plain 1922 Lincoln Cents were made, but nobody knows the exact number of examples that were made, let alone how many remain to this day. However, what is known for sure is that the 1922 no-D penny is quite scarce and in high demand among coin collectors.
  9. 1955 doubled die obverse Lincoln Wheat Penny, $1,900 – It’s estimated that some 24,000 Lincoln Cents from 1955 were struck with a doubled die. The U.S. Mint knew this before the coins were released to the public, but officials didn’t want to destroy an entire batch of perfectly normal Lincoln Pennies to catch the ones with the doubled image, so off these beauties went, and soon they were discovered in New England vending machines. By the end of the 1950s, they had become a hot coin collector item and remain so to this day.
  10. 1873 doubled Liberty “Open 3” Indian Head penny, $1,650 – This is simply another version of the 1873 doubled die Indian Head penny. The difference between this 1873 penny and the closed 3 listed above is the way the serifed ends of the 3 come near the middle of the digit. On closed 3 examples, it appears that the “3” has two nearly complete loops, whereas on the open 3 there is much more space between the ends of the “3” and the digit’s middle section. As a rule, 1873 open 3 Indian cents are more common than the closed 3 variety.
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What follows are the 11 through 25th most valuable pennies:

  1. 1917 doubled die Lincoln Wheat Penny, $1,350
  2. 1909-S VDB Lincoln Wheat Penny, $1,025
  3. 1869/9 Indian Head penny, $865
  4. 1858/7 Flying Eagle penny, $760
  5. 1914-D Lincoln Wheat Penny, $760
  6. 1909-S Indian Head penny, $750
  7. 1872 Indian Head penny, $625
  8. 1869 Indian Head penny, $450
  9. 1871 Indian Head penny, $420
  10. 1870 Indian Head penny, $410
  11. 1864 pointed L on Indian Head bust, $325
  12. 1972 doubled die obverse Lincoln Memorial penny, $290
  13. 1909-S/S over horizontal S Lincoln Wheat Penny, $275
  14. 1878 Indian Head penny, $245
  15. 1909-S Lincoln Wheat Penny, $225

*This list of most valuable pennies refers to problem-free coins grading Extremely Fine-40 on the Sheldon Grading Scale. Damaged coins or those grading lower based on wear will be worth less than the coin values listed above.

Are The 25 Most Valuable Pennies Also The Rarest?

While the two most valuable coins on this list are coincidentally the rarest (between 20 and 40 specimens each of the 1943 bronze cent and 1944 steel cent are thought to exist), the order of which coins are most valuable doesn’t necessarily correspond with the order of rarity. For example, many of the doubled die entries on the list above (such as the 1971, 1972, 1983, and 1984 doubled die Lincoln cents) are much scarcer in number than the 1877 Indian Head cent or 1914-D Lincoln cent, but are not as widely collected, thus the values of those somewhat more obscure coins are lower.

While mintage numbers tell part of the story about a coin’s rarity, they don’t show you a complete picture. Remember, a substantial fraction of the coins that were once minted no longer survive today, as many have been lost, melted, or damaged beyond recognition. Take, for instance, the popular 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent. While 484,000 were struck, several population estimates suggest only 50,000 to 100,000 may still exist – a fairly large number indeed, but much lower than mintage numbers suggest.

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Whether you collect Flying Eagle pennies, Indian Head pennies, or Lincoln pennies, you will find that the market for rare pennies is quite active. If you are investing money in rare pennies, buy coins that are in the best condition you can afford, and always focus on purchasing coins that display original color and are in nice shape overall. While there are very few guarantees in the rare coin industry, you can always count on nice, problem-free coins yielding better returns on your investment than coins that have been cleaned or have nicks, dents, scratches, and holes.

The Priciest Pennies in the World

The Priciest Pennies in World

The most expensive pennies in the world are so valuable because of their history, rarity, and/or beauty.

We’re going to show you some of the most prized pennies in the world, and we’ll tell you why they’re worth so much money!

We all know that there is a vibrant coin market among collectors. But would you pay thousands or even millions for a penny? Some people do!

It could be worth your while to check those old coins lying at the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

Take a look at the world’s most expensive pennies and how much they’re worth.

What Factors Determine A Penny’s Worth?

The world’s rarest and most coveted pennies are valued at more than $100,000 and some even go for $2 million.

Rarity is a significant factor in determining a penny’s worth. The condition of the coin is another. But demand is the factor that drives coin values the most.

The World’s Most Expensive Pennies

Let’s start with the most valuable pennies minted in the USA.

S Lincoln Penny – $105,800

The 1914-S Lincoln cent is not a rare coin. More than 4 million of them were minted at the San Francisco mint. This coin is valuable because of its excellent condition despite being more than 100 years old. There is no noticeable bag mark on the coin’s surface, and it has retained its original bright copper colour.

1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet – $115,000

A 1944 Lincoln penny struck at the Denver mint is fairly common. The mint produced more than 430 million. What makes this coin extremely valuable is the fact that it was minted on a zinc-coated steel planchet. These steel planchets were used primarily in 1943 during World War II. But complaints got the mint to change back to the copper planchets in 1944.

But a steel planchet left over from 1943 must have found its way into the coining press. This stray planchet created a great rarity treasured by coin collectors.

1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny

In 1909, The United States Mint replaced the Indian Head penny with the Lincoln cent. The designer added his initials VDB to the coin’s reverse side. It also appeared at the bottom between the two wheat stalks.

Slightly less than 500,000 of these coins were minted before the Treasury Department directed that the initials be removed.

1872 Indian Head Penny – $126,500

An 1872 Indian Head penny is a scarce coin but can be easily found at any coin show or coin dealer in circulated condition.

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The financial hardship of the time resulted in few people saving coins, so most were in circulation in people’s purses and pockets.

What makes this coin extremely rare is its condition, combining a flawless coin with a very sharp strike from a new set of coin dies. In addition, it was superbly stored so has excellent shine and colour.

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1969-S Lincoln Penny–Doubled Die Obverse – $126,500

This coin was first discovered in 1970. Initially thought to be counterfeit, the government started confiscating them. Five coins were taken and destroyed before they knew they were genuine.

This penny shows a doubling on the date and lettering on the obverse side. These coins in circulated condition are also valuable, but the uncirculated coins are extremely rare.

1926-S Lincoln Penny – $149,500

On the surface, there is nothing visually special about this coin. Uncirculated coins retain their distinctive copper-red colour. It’s the combination of date and mint mark which sets this coin apart.

One factor making this coin valuable very few were minted. But it is rare to find an uncirculated 1926-S Lincoln penny with its original copper colour.

1877 Indian Head Penny – $149,500

This particular penny is the rarest date of all the Indian Head pennies minted. In 1877 the demand for US coinage was at an all-time low due to a long recession. So, people didn’t save pennies then. To find an uncirculated version in mint condition is rare.

1914-D Lincoln Penny – $152,750

This coin was very much in circulation and was commonly kept in “penny boards” in the 1930s and 40s, which people used to collect coins from circulation. So most of the 1941-D Lincoln pennies are in circulated condition. An uncirculated example in its original mint state red colour is exceptionally rare and very valuable.

1864 Indian Head Penny–”L” on Ribbon – $161,000

In 1864, the ongoing Civil War made the US economy extremely fragile. Many citizens stockpiled gold, silver, and copper coins as a means of wealth. As a result, the federal government battled to obtain the metal needed for minting coins.

The Indian Head penny was first issued in 1859 but in 1864, an “L” was added on the end of the ribbon on Lady Liberty’s war bonnet. As 5 million of these coins were issued, very few were saved in uncirculated condition.

1943 Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze Alloy – $164,500

This 1943 Lincoln penny should have been minted on a zinc-plated steel planchet but was made with a bronze alloy planchet. Although there is some speculation that mint workers struck these coins on bronze alloy planchets purposefully, it is more probable that a few bronze planchets from the previous year got stuck on a conveyor belt or tote and was mistakenly used in the striking process.

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As most people don’t take note of the date on their change, some of these bronze pennies circulated for a while before being snatched up by an alert coin collector. The value of this coin is due to its uncirculated condition and its copper-red colour.

1856 Flying Eagle Cent – $172,500

In 1856, the price of copper rose when it took more than a penny’s worth of copper to make the coin. To lower costs, the US Mint reduced the size of the penny (to its current diameter).

But the move needed Congressional approval, so the mint produced around 800 and gifted them to the lawmakers.

Any one of these coins in circulated or uncirculated condition is very rare.

1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln Penny – $258,500

This highly valued penny bears all three of the coin designer’s initials: VDB. Only 1,194 of these proof coins were struck at the Philadelphia mint before the US Treasury directed the mint to remove the designer’s initials.

The low mintage alone makes this coin very rare, but the brilliant colours on a coin being stored for 100 years make this coin very attractive to collectors.

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1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze – $282,000

This coin is the second example of a 1943 Lincoln cent which was meant to be minted on a zinc-plated steel planchet but was instead coined on a bronze planchet. There are only six known examples of this error being produced at the San Francisco mint in 1943.

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Cent – $336,000

This coin is valued because of its die variety. They are extremely rare and highly prized by collectors.

1943-S Lincoln Steel Penny – $373,750

In 1944, Lincoln pennies reverted back to the original bronze alloy of 95% copper and 5% tin. But two zinc-plated steel planchets came out of the coining press in the San Francisco mint. One was picked up by a savvy collector.

The coin remained uncirculated and very well preserved. In addition, it was well-struck, which shows in the fine detailing on the coin. This coin is considered the second most valuable penny in the world.

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1943-S Lincoln Steel Penny – $373,750

In 1944, Lincoln pennies reverted back to the original bronze alloy of 95% copper and 5% tin. But two zinc-plated steel planchets somehow ended up in the coining press in the San Francisco mint. One was picked up by a savvy collector.

The coin remained uncirculated and very well preserved. In addition, it was well-struck, which shows in the fine detailing on the coin. This coin is considered the second most valuable penny in the world.

1943-D Lincoln Bronze Cent – $1,700,000

Accidents can produce the rarest coins as we have seen. When the US changed from bronze alloy to zinc-plated steel pennies in 1943, only a handful of bronze pennies slipped through.

Many of these coins show circulation wear and tear. This single example from the Denver mint is in pristine condition.

It is considered the most valuable Lincoln penny in the world.

Across the Atlantic, here are some valuable British coins.

1917 George V Sovereign London Mint – Estimated Value £15,000

This gold sovereign was issued during World War I with a very low mintage. The sovereign was a gold coin, with a nominal value of one pound sterling, which was in circulation before 1932 as part of the British Gold Standard.

1933 George V Penny – Estimated Value £72,000

This coin is considered the most valuable coin in the UK. Although it was originally created as a pattern coin, which means it is not intended for release into circulation, it is believed that only seven were issued, making them very rare.

1937 Edward VIII Brass Threepence – Estimated Value £45,000

Remember “thruppence”? This threepenny coin is another pattern coin with historical significance because of Edward VIII. He abdicated less than 12 months into his reign, making the coins redundant. Only 10 were minted.

1933 George V Penny – Estimated Value £72,000

A few ‘pattern’ versions were created but never went into production. There were only 4 in existence.

But a further 7 George V pennies were created later in 1933, for ceremonial purposes and one each for the British Museum and the Royal Mint Museum.

None of these coins has ever come up for sale but it said the value would be double that of the pattern coins.

Having read this, you will never view pennies in the same way again. Owning one of the above means you certainly won’t have to count your pennies ever again.

Glaiza Galo February 16, 2023


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25 Most Valuable US Pennies

25 Most Valuable US Pennies

Here is a cool list that details the top 25 most valuable pennies ever minted in the United States of America (updated: 2023). These coin values / worth’s are not based off common errors like double dies, but rather coins that were issued into circulation as is. Check out the list below, some of these old coins are worth a ton of money.

This most valuable coin list is dynamic and is based upon the few thousand or so United States coins found in our ever growing database (updated: 2023).

As of now our database consists almost entirely of coins from 1880s-2023, as we wanted to focus mostly on coins that were readily accessible and possibly still in circulation. The purpose of this page is to assist coin hunters and collectors in their pursuit of valuable coins. This page will save you a bunch of time, it represents hundreds possibly thousands of hours of research and detailed coin analysis.

List of 25 Most Valuable US Pennies

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  • 1.) 1944 Steel Wheat Penny — $408,000
  • 2.) 1943 Copper Wheat Penny — $250,000
  • 3.) 1856 Flying Eagle Penny — $25,000
  • 4.) 1924 S Wheat Penny — $12,000
  • 5.) 1873 Indian Head Penny — $10,000
  • 6.) 1858 Flying Eagle Penny — $10,000
  • 7.) 1857 Flying Eagle Penny — $7,000
  • 8.) 1922 D Wheat Penny — $6,000
  • 9.) 1914 D Wheat Penny — $5,600
  • 10.) 1909 S VDB Wheat Penny — $4,150
  • 11.) 1914 S Wheat Penny — $3,200
  • 12.) 1877 Indian Head Penny — $3,200
  • 13.) 1909 S Indian Head Penny — $2,250
  • 14.) 1913 S Wheat Penny — $2,000
  • 15.) 1918 S Wheat Penny — $2,000
  • 16.) 1924 D Wheat Penny — $2,000
  • 17.) 1925 S Wheat Penny — $1,800
  • 18.) 1912 S Wheat Penny — $1,500
  • 19.) 1913 D Wheat Penny — $1,500
  • 20.) 1920 S Wheat Penny — $1,500
  • 21.) 1872 Indian Head Penny — $1,350
  • 22.) 1915 S Wheat Penny — $1,200
  • 23.) 1916 S Wheat Penny — $1,200
  • 24.) 1923 S Wheat Penny — $1,200
  • 25.) 1926 S Wheat Penny — $1,200

Most Valuable Coins by Type.

  • 25 Most Valuable Silver Dollars
  • 25 Most Valuable Half Dollars
  • 25 Most Valuable Quarters
  • 25 Most Valuable Dimes
  • 25 Most Valuable Nickels
  • 25 Most Valuable Pennies
  • 10 Most Valuable Morgan Silver Dollars
  • 10 Most Valuable Peace Dollars
  • 10 Most Valuable Barber Half Dollars
  • 10 Most Valuable Walking Liberty Half Dollars
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