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Most Valuable Pennies

most valuable pennies from the 1800s to modern

Most Valuable Pennies From the Late 1800s

 Very few of these coins have survived in good condition, which increases the demand from coin collectors and the value. Most pennies from the 1800s will be very worn. It’s rare to find coins that are over 100 years old with a lot of detail remaining.

most valuable pennies from the 1800s to modern

1. 1872 Indian Head Penny

The 1872 Indian Head Penny is one of the rarest in the series due to low mintage numbers. Even though the 1871 Indian Head Penny had a lower mintage, the 1872 seems to carry a higher premium in most grades. Approximately 5,000 of these one-cent coins are still in existence, with all grades combined.

2. 1877 Indian Head Penny

The 1877 Indian Head penny is undeniably the most desirable coin in the entire circulation strike series. It was minted at the Philadelphia Mint.

It has the second lowest mintage, with only the 1909-S Indian Head penny having a lower mintage. Even though it’s not the lowest mintage, fewer of them have survived, likely due to the fact fewer coins were collected in 1877 versus 1909.


3. 1864 Indian Head Penny–”L” on Ribbon

The 1864 Indian Head Penny with an “L” on the ribbon is one of the most famous one-cent U.S. coins. The “L” on the coin’s obverse is there to represent the designer’s (James Longacre) initials. Indian cents from 1859 to 1864 do not have the designer’s initials. The “L” wasn’t added until the end of the year, creating a very popular variety for coin collecting.

Most Valuable Pennies From the Early to Mid-1900s

Knowing which pennies are key dates or rarities can make it easier to identify which Lincoln Wheat cents are the most valuable coins. Some Lincoln cents are rare coins worth a lot of money, while others are not.

4. 1914-S Lincoln Penny

The 1914-S Lincoln penny was issued from the San Francisco Mint with a mintage of 4,137,000. It’s part of the Lincoln Cent series, which began in 1909. The penny’s design features a portrait of Lincoln on the obverse and two wheat ears on the reverse.

5. 1914-D Lincoln Penny

The 1914-D Lincoln penny is a key date because it had one of the lowest mintages (1,193,000) from that year, making it very scarce. To put it in perspective, over 75 million examples were issued from the Denver Mint in 1914.

6. 1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny

The 1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny is one of the most popular and widely known Lincoln cents. The popularity partially stems from the controversy surrounding the placement of the designer’s initials on the bottom of the coin’s reverse. It’s also due to a very low mintage of 484,000 pieces.

7. 1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet

1944-D Lincoln Pennies are sometimes referred to as steel pennies or silver pennies due to their color. In 1944, nearly all pennies were supposed to transition from steel back to copper (bronze).

These penny errors were produced because a small number of steel planchets were leftover from 1943 and got mixed in. Steel wheat pennies were produced at all three Mints, but only seven to ten steel cents from 1944 with a “D” mint mark still exist.

8. 1969-S Lincoln Penny–Doubled Die Obverse

The 1969-S Lincoln Penny doubled die obverse is an extremely rare penny and is known for being one of the most elusive and valuable coins of all Lincoln cents. The doubling on the 1969-S is prominent in the date and easily visible to the naked eye. More than a couple of dozen of these rare coins have appeared in circulation, with more specimens believed to exist.

Honorable Mentions:

1982 Lincoln Penny$452006 D Lincoln Penny$352002 D Lincoln Penny$301975 D Lincoln Penny$302002 Lincoln Penny$272005 D Lincoln Penny$252014 S Shield Penny$252012 D Shield Penny$251968 S Lincoln Penny$252012 S Shield Penny$252013 S Shield Penny$252013 D Shield Penny$252017 S Shield Penny$222010 D Shield Penny$212015 S Shield Penny$201993 D Lincoln Penny$202012 Shield Penny$202013 Shield Penny$202016 S Shield Penny$182007 S Lincoln Penny$161968 D Lincoln Penny$162006 Lincoln Penny$162020 S Shield Penny$152021 S Shield Penny$152022 S Shield Penny$151968 Lincoln Penny$151969 Lincoln Penny$151970 D Lincoln Penny$152014 D Shield Penny$152018 S Shield Penny$152019 W Shield Penny$151970 S Lincoln Penny$151992 Lincoln Penny$152005 Lincoln Penny$152011 S Shield Penny$152014 Shield Penny$152010 Shield Penny$152011 Shield Penny$152011 D Shield Penny$152019 S Shield Penny$141980 Lincoln Penny$141969 S Lincoln Penny$122009 S Shield Penny$122009 S Shield Penny$121966 Lincoln Penny$121967 Lincoln Penny$121969 D Lincoln Penny$122010 S Shield Penny$101995 Lincoln Penny$91980 D Lincoln Penny$91978 Lincoln Penny$91975 Lincoln Penny$91974 S Lincoln Penny$91974 D Lincoln Penny$91974 Lincoln Penny$91973 S Lincoln Penny$91973 D Lincoln Penny$92016 D Shield Penny$82015 D Shield Penny$82015 Shield Penny$82004 S Lincoln Penny$81981 D Lincoln Penny$81979 D Lincoln Penny$81977 Lincoln Penny$81977 D Lincoln Penny$81973 Lincoln Penny$81972 Lincoln Penny$81972 D Lincoln Penny$81972 S Lincoln Penny$81971 Lincoln Penny$81971 D Lincoln Penny$81971 S Lincoln Penny$82016 Shield Penny$71985 S Lincoln Penny$61982 D Lincoln Penny$61979 Lincoln Penny$62009 S Shield Penny$52009 S Shield Penny$51985 D Lincoln Penny$51983 Lincoln Penny$51975 S Lincoln Penny$51970 Lincoln Penny$51984 S Lincoln Penny$41983 S Lincoln Penny$41981 S Lincoln Penny$41980 S Lincoln Penny$41979 S Lincoln Penny$41977 S Lincoln Penny$41976 S Lincoln Penny$42018 Shield Penny$32017 P Shield Penny$32017 D Shield Penny$3

Know More About Your Pocket Change

Ultimately, penny values can vary in value by a great amount depending on the rarity, condition, and other factors. It’s important to do your research before buying any U.S. coin for a large sum of money, so we’ve provided a short list of prominent coin graders:

  • United State Mint
  • American Numismatic Association (ANA)
  • American Numismatic Society (ANS)
  • Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
  • Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)

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