For almost as long as the United States has been an independent nation, the penny has featured symbols that embody the American spirit. This small but significant denomination has become both nostalgic and highly collectible. Though acquiring these coins can be challenging, if you happen to possess one, it is wise to store it in a secure location. Refer to this compilation of the most valuable pennies to date for more information.
1. 1914-D Wheat Penny
In 1914, the U.S. Mint in Denver produced a limited number of pennies, and over time, many of the 1914-D pennies have gone missing, with some surviving only in subpar condition. Collectors started to take an interest in these coins during the 1930s. Presently, an authentic 1914-D Lincoln Wheat Penny in impeccable condition can fetch anywhere from $281 to $5,500 or even more.
2. 1858/7 Flying Eagle Penny
Several variations of this penny were issued, but those with overdate markings, where one date is stamped over another, are particularly desirable among collectors. Look for the “8” stamped over the “7” on the date. In excellent condition, these coins can command values of approximately $760, and in some cases, even as high as $1,000.
3. 1869 Indian Head Penny
The penny in question is a rare specimen. The production of 1869 Indian Head coins was limited, and many of the surviving pieces have been either altered or damaged. As a result, the coin is highly sought-after, with prices ranging from $80 to $750 and beyond.
4. 1909-S VDB Lincoln Wheat Penny
President Theodore Roosevelt was responsible for initiating the redesign of the penny, and it was artist Victor David Brenner who spent nearly a year working on the new design before it was introduced in 1909. Today, pennies that bear Brenner’s initials are highly prized and can fetch a substantial sum, starting from $950 and above.
5. 1917 Doubled Die Lincoln Wheat Penny
While a 1917 wheat penny on its own is not particularly valuable, the double-struck versions of this coin on the front, or obverse, can be worth a significant amount. Minted in Philadelphia, this penny is a sought-after item among collectors, and can fetch a handsome sum of $5,500 or more.
6. 1873 ‘Open 3’ Indian Head Penny
The 1873 Doubled Die Indian Head Penny with serifs on the ends of the “3” is similar to the earlier, more expensive version. However, the serifs do not extend as close to the center of the digit as the “closed” version produced earlier that year. These pennies are highly collectible, with prices ranging from $22 to $344 and beyond.
7. 1955 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Wheat Penny
Another example of a doubled die error resulting from an unaligned die is notable for the significant doubling of the year and lettering. Mint employees allegedly did not notice the mistake until thousands of coins had already entered circulation. These coins are highly prized among collectors, with prices ranging from $700 and upwards. In a 2006 auction, one of these coins sold for a staggering $50,000.
8. 1922 No ‘D’ Plain Lincoln Wheat Penny
The 1922 penny is a highly prized coin among collectors, as it should have a “D” mint mark that indicates it was minted in Denver. However, due to an overworked coin die, some of these pennies were produced without the “D” mark, while others were struck with weak, barely visible strikes. If you are fortunate enough to come across a 1922 penny without any “D” mark, it can be worth a substantial amount of money, with prices ranging from $900 to $28,000 or more, depending on its condition and other factors. As such, collectors should keep a keen eye out for these rare coins.
9. 1873 Doubled Liberty or ‘Closed 3’ Indian Head Penny
If you happen to come across an 1873 penny that displays a doubled die error on the word “Liberty” in the Indian’s headband, then you have a truly unique coin. The “closed 3” variety of this penny is characterized by the serifs used on the “3” digit, which are positioned closely enough to the middle of the digit to make it resemble an “8.” This is a much rarer variant than the “open 3” version of the coin. The value of these coins varies considerably, ranging from $20 to $10,000 and beyond, depending on their condition and other factors.
10. 1877 Indian Head Penny
The 1877 Indian Head Penny is a highly coveted coin among collectors due to its scarcity. Only a little over 850,000 of these coins were minted in 1877, in contrast to the previous year when 7.9 million pennies were produced, and the following year when 5.9 million coins were made. This rarity makes the 1877 penny significantly more valuable than other Indian Head Pennies. Depending on their condition and other factors, these coins can fetch prices ranging from $367 to $3,000 and beyond, making them a valuable addition to any collection.
11. 1856 Flying Eagle Penny
Only 700 Flying Eagle pennies were initially made and given to members of Congress and other politicians as a trial run. The positive feedback led to the production of 3,000 more coins. Today, these rare pennies are highly valuable, with prices starting at $6,500.
12. 1943 Copper Wheat Penny
The 1943 Copper Wheat Penny is an extremely rare and valuable coin. Like the 1943-S penny, it was created from leftover copper in the mint’s machines. There are only around 40 of these pennies in existence, making them highly sought after by collectors. However, due to their rarity, there are many counterfeit versions on the market, so it’s important to be cautious when looking to purchase one. If you do manage to find a genuine 1943 Copper Wheat Penny, it could be worth up to $82,500.
13. 1969-S Doubled Die Penny
When a coin is stamped with a misaligned die, the resulting image or letters can appear “doubled”. The 1969-S Doubled Die Penny is a prime example of this. Due to their rarity, these coins are highly valued by collectors. A Michigan collector named Michael Tremonti was fortunate enough to discover one of these rare coins in a roll of uncirculated pennies, which he later sold for an impressive $126,500.
14. 1944 Steel Wheat Penny
In 1944, copper was added to the penny alloy along with recycled ammunition shells. However, some steel planchets were left in the mint’s machines, resulting in the creation of the 1944 Steel Wheat Penny. Today, these rare coins are highly valuable and can fetch prices ranging from $75,000 to $110,000.
15. 1943-S Copper Lincoln Wheat Penny
In 1943, pennies were made from steel planchets that were coated with zinc, but some leftover copper planchets from the previous year were also used. These rare 1943 Copper Pennies are considered the “holy grail” for collectors, with only five known to exist. In 2012, one of these rare coins was sold for a staggering one million dollars to Bob R. Simpson, co-chairman of the Texas Rangers.
The penny has come to symbolize the spirit of America and has been an important part of US currency for almost as long as the country has been independent. It has become a nostalgic item and a popular collectible. If you’re lucky enough to have one of the valuable pennies on the market, it’s essential to keep it safe. Take a look at the list of the most valuable pennies available to collectors and explore the rich history that these coins represent.