Top 100 Pennies Worth Money

Top 100 Pennies Worth Money

Posted by Andrew Adamo on Apr 30th 2024

Rare Pennies Worth Money List

Pennies are some of the most exciting coins to collect because you can find them virtually anywhere. That being said, there are so many of them that it can be difficult to know whether you have a penny worth a lot of money or not. To make things a little easier, we put together a list of the top 100 most valuable pennies. We haven’t included “special strikes” or proof coins, so these are coins you could have a higher chance of finding in your everyday pocket change. Learn more about rare pennies worth money list with Bullion Shark!

History of the Penny

The penny dates all the way back to ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks and Romans, who used small copper or bronze coins as a means of exchange.

Here in the United States, the penny was one of the first coins produced by the U.S. Mint after it was established in 1792. The first penny was larger than what we use today and made of pure copper. The modern penny is made with a combination of copper and zinc — 100% copper pennies proved to be worth more than the face value.

The penny’s first design depicted a woman with flowing hair symbolizing Liberty, which remained on the penny for over 60 years. In 1857, the size of the coin got smaller, and nickel was added to the composition. That same year a new design rolled out featuring a flying eagle on the coin’s obverse and a wreath on the reverse. The “Indian Head” design was used from 1859 to 1909.

In 1909, Abraham Lincoln became the first president to be featured on American coinage. The image of Lincoln on the penny’s obverse was designed by Victor David Brenner, and it’s still used today. The coin’s reverse had a couple of design changes between 1909 and 2008, from two sheaves of wheat to the Lincoln Memorial.

In 2009, the United States Mint issued four different penny designs throughout the year as part of the Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program.

The themes were chosen to represent the four major aspects of Lincoln’s life:

  • Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky
  • Formative Years in Indiana
  • Professional Life in Illinois
  • Presidency in Washington, DC

What Impacts Penny Value?

One of the most important factors that impact a coin’s value is the mintage. The mintage number refers to how many examples of a particular issue were originally produced at the U.S. Mint. A lower mintage can make coins more difficult to obtain, which will increase their value.

A coin’s age, design, and bullion content also play a major role in its value. Older coins typically become more scarce over the years as some are lost or destroyed. Additionally, certain designs have historical significance, which can increase demand.

Regardless of the age, design, or composition of a coin, the condition it’s in will have a direct effect on its value. The coin’s color, tone, and level of wear and tear will be inspected during the coin grading process.

Most Valuable Pennies From the Late 1800s

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. Very few of these coins have survived in good condition, which increases the demand from coin collectors and the value. So, what pennies are worth money?

Pennies worth money list:

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 $45
2006 D Lincoln Penny $35
2002 D Lincoln Penny $30
1975 D Lincoln Penny $30
2002 Lincoln Penny $27
2005 D Lincoln Penny $25
2014 S Shield Penny $25
2012 D Shield Penny $25
1968 S Lincoln Penny $25
2012 S Shield Penny $25
2013 S Shield Penny $25
2013 D Shield Penny $25
2017 S Shield Penny $22
2010 D Shield Penny $21
2015 S Shield Penny $20
1993 D Lincoln Penny $20
2012 Shield Penny $20
2013 Shield Penny $20
2016 S Shield Penny $18
2007 S Lincoln Penny $16
1968 D Lincoln Penny $16
2006 Lincoln Penny $16
2020 S Shield Penny $15
2021 S Shield Penny $15
2022 S Shield Penny $15
1968 Lincoln Penny $15
1969 Lincoln Penny $15
1970 D Lincoln Penny $15
2014 D Shield Penny $15
2018 S Shield Penny $15
2019 W Shield Penny $15
1970 S Lincoln Penny $15
1992 Lincoln Penny $15
2005 Lincoln Penny $15
2011 S Shield Penny $15
2014 Shield Penny $15
2010 Shield Penny $15
2011 Shield Penny $15
2011 D Shield Penny $15
2019 S Shield Penny $14
1980 Lincoln Penny $14
1969 S Lincoln Penny $12
2009 S Shield Penny $12
2009 S Shield Penny $12
1966 Lincoln Penny $12
1967 Lincoln Penny $12
1969 D Lincoln Penny $12
2010 S Shield Penny $10
1995 Lincoln Penny $9
1980 D Lincoln Penny $9
1978 Lincoln Penny $9
1975 Lincoln Penny $9
1974 S Lincoln Penny $9
1974 D Lincoln Penny $9
1974 Lincoln Penny $9
1973 S Lincoln Penny $9
1973 D Lincoln Penny $9
2016 D Shield Penny $8
2015 D Shield Penny $8
2015 Shield Penny $8
2004 S Lincoln Penny $8
1981 D Lincoln Penny $8
1979 D Lincoln Penny $8
1977 Lincoln Penny $8
1977 D Lincoln Penny $8
1973 Lincoln Penny $8
1972 Lincoln Penny $8
1972 D Lincoln Penny $8
1972 S Lincoln Penny $8
1971 Lincoln Penny $8
1971 D Lincoln Penny $8
1971 S Lincoln Penny $8
2016 Shield Penny $7
1985 S Lincoln Penny $6
1982 D Lincoln Penny $6
1979 Lincoln Penny $6
2009 S Shield Penny $5
2009 S Shield Penny $5
1985 D Lincoln Penny $5
1983 Lincoln Penny $5
1975 S Lincoln Penny $5
1970 Lincoln Penny $5
1984 S Lincoln Penny $4
1983 S Lincoln Penny $4
1981 S Lincoln Penny $4
1980 S Lincoln Penny $4
1979 S Lincoln Penny $4
1977 S Lincoln Penny $4
1976 S Lincoln Penny $4
2018 Shield Penny $3
2017 P Shield Penny $3
2017 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)

Top Resources for Coin Collectors

Collectors know to buy from the best coin dealers. Bullion Shark is here with rare, ancient, and modern coins, collector sets, and more. Whether you’re looking for rare dimes, error coins, or valuable half dollars (and more), there’s something for everyone.

If you have questions, we have numismatic experts on staff that will be happy to help.


Penny | U.S. Mint

Half-Cents and Cents | PCGS CoinFacts

Lincoln Wheat PennyKey Dates, Rarities and Varieties | The Spruce Crafts

Lincoln Cents, Wheat Reverse (1909-1958) | NGC Coin Explorer


What makes a penny rare?

A penny becomes rare due to several factors including low mintage numbers, historical significance, errors during the minting process, and survival rate in high grades (condition).

Which pennies are worth a lot of money?

Some of the most valuable pennies include the 1943 copper Lincoln cent, 1955 double die Lincoln cent, 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent, and the 1873 Indian Head penny with a doubled "LIBERTY".

How can I tell if my penny is valuable?

Check for key dates, mint marks, and errors. Research its history for rarity and demand. Have it appraised or graded by a professional grading service like PCGS or NGC for a more accurate assessment.

Are wheat pennies worth anything?

Most wheat pennies are worth slightly more than face value, but certain key dates and high-grade examples can be worth significantly more, such as the 1909-S VDB, 1914-D, and 1922 no-D.

What are the rarest wheat pennies?

The 1909-S VDB, 1914-D, and 1922 no-D are among the rarest and most sought-after wheat pennies due to their low mintage and survivorship.

Is a 1943 steel penny worth anything?

Most 1943 steel pennies are worth a small amount over face value, but if you have a 1943 copper penny, it could be worth a significant amount, as these were minted in error and only a few exist.

What errors make pennies valuable?

Errors such as double dies, off-center strikes, blank planchets, and wrong metal errors (like the 1943 copper penny) can significantly increase a penny’s value.

How much is a 1969-S double die penny worth?

A 1969-S double die obverse penny can be worth thousands of dollars, especially if in higher grade conditions. It's one of the most famous error coins.

What should I look for in a 1982 penny to see if it's valuable?

The 1982 penny has several varieties based on its metal composition (copper vs. zinc) and mint marks. The small date, copper alloy 1982-D is particularly rare and valuable.

Are there any valuable modern pennies?

Modern pennies (post-1982) are generally not valuable due to their high mintage and use of less expensive materials. However, error coins from recent years can still be valuable, such as certain double die varieties or misstrikes.

How can collectors ensure the authenticity of high-value pennies before purchasing?

Ensuring the authenticity of high-value pennies before purchasing can be a complex process that involves a few critical steps. Collectors should first familiarize themselves with the specific characteristics of the penny they are interested in, including its design, weight, and metal composition. Engaging with reputable coin dealers who are members of well-known numismatic organizations can also provide a layer of security. These dealers often have a reputation to maintain and are less likely to sell counterfeit coins. Additionally, obtaining a certificate of authenticity or having the coin authenticated by professional coin grading services such as the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) can offer further assurance. These organizations have the expertise to verify the authenticity of coins and grade them accurately, which adds to their credibility in the collector's market.

What are the specific criteria used by coin grading services to evaluate the condition and value of a penny?

The criteria used by coin grading services to evaluate the condition and value of a penny are detailed and specific. These criteria include the coin's luster, which is a measure of the reflectiveness and quality of the coin's surface, indicating its level of preservation. The presence of wear and tear is also a critical factor; coins with minimal to no wear usually receive higher grades. Other considerations include the sharpness of the coin's details, such as the clarity of inscriptions, images, and any mint marks. The color and patina of the coin, which can change with age, are evaluated for signs of natural aging versus artificial tampering. Finally, the presence of any flaws such as scratches, dents, or corrosion spots can impact the coin's grade and, consequently, its value. These grading services use a standardized grading scale to ensure consistency and reliability in the evaluation process.

Are there any modern pennies (post-2000) considered valuable due to errors, low mintages, or other unique characteristics not covered in the article?

As for modern pennies post-2000 being considered valuable due to errors, low mintages, or unique characteristics, there are indeed several instances where such coins have garnered attention from collectors. While the article did not delve into these modern rarities, examples include error coins where there have been minting mistakes, such as double dies or misstrikes, which can make them highly sought after. Additionally, limited edition releases or special commemorative issues by the U.S. Mint can also increase a penny's value. The value of these modern pennies can vary widely, depending on the rarity and nature of the uniqueness or error. Collectors keen on finding valuable modern pennies should stay informed about recent mint releases, known errors, and auction results to identify potential treasures within their pocket change or collections.

Other Articles You May Like:

1943 Steel Penny Value: How Much Steel Penny Coins Are Worth Now?

Statehood Quarters: U.S. Mint State Quarters Program and the Delaware Quarter

The Morgan Dollar Coins Values and History

Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Values and Prices

Rare Quarters Worth Money List