20 Most Valuable Pennies and How Much They Were Sold

Pokémon cards and vintage sports memorabilia are not the only collectible items that people are willing to splash out the big bucks for. Another set of items that are highly cherished and can set off a bidding war is pennies. These sets of currencies, which are worth a mere one cent, increase in value as they get older thus making them a must-have. Individuals who can afford them, therefore, have no problem bringing out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most valuable amongst them.

The Most Valuable Pennies and How Much They Were Sold

20. 1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny

  • Value $19,950
  • Grade PCGS
  • Weight – 13.48 grams

1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny
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It is not surprising that this particular penny is amongst some of the most valuable in the world given its rich history. It is amongst the very first coins that were released by the United States and caused quite some uproar due to an interlocking chain surrounding the head. Many were of the view that the chain represented the slavery that they had fought hard to conquer and called for it to be removed. Their call was harkened to and the chain changed to a more tolerable wreath.

19. 1992 Close Am Reverse

  • Value $20,000
  • Grade – MS-64
  • Weight – 2.5 grams

1992 Close Am Reverse
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This penny is relatively recent when compared with other pennies on this list. It is nevertheless quite valuable as a result of a mistake by the U.S. Mint. As the story goes, the mint used different dies for producing regular coins for circulation and proof coins for collectors. At some point, there was a mix-up and the proof die was used for the reverse side of regular coins. There was also a distance between the A and M letters in America. All these features set the penny apart from the rest and made it sought-after.

18. 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny

  • Value $48,000
  • Grade S IC MS64RB
  • Weight 2.5 grams

1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny
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The 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny is so-called because of an issue that arose at a Denver mint the year it was minted. All of the pennies were supposed to have received a D mintmark but due to the fact that the machines were being overworked, some of these pennies did not receive the mark at all while some received a faint version. Some of the coins also had a strong reverse/obverse indicating that the worn-out dies were replaced with new ones.

17. 1922 D Lincoln No D Strong Reverse Die Pair 2

  • Value – $63,000
  • Grade – 1c MS RB
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1922 D Lincoln No D Strong Reverse Die Pair 2
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Also known as the Die Pair 2, this was amongst the set of coins that were minted in the city of Denver in the year 1922. Out of the about 7.16 million copies produced, only one pair has no mint mark thus making it something that collectors long for. Some however do not value it, dismissing it as just a regular 1920s Denver mint coin struck from worn dies, but the fact that it has been graded and included in the guide book of coins (known as Red Book) supersedes their arguments.

16. 1914-S Lincoln Penny

  • Value – $105,800
  • Grade – PCGS MS-66 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1914-S Lincoln Penny
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Originally minted in the city of San Francisco in the year 1914, this penny has a flaming red-orange color with a side portrait of Lincoln emblazoned on the head. On the reverse side is the word, one cent, as well as the phrase, United States of America. The whole inscription is then encased within two feathers. This penny was able to attract a high price of $105,800 in 2006 as a result of the fact that the collector was able to preserve it in remarkable conditions.

15. 1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-coated Steel Planchet

  • Value – $115,000
  • Grade – NGC MS-63
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-coated Steel Planchet
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The 15th most valuable penny sold so far in the world is the 1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-coated Steel Planchet. Its attractiveness stems from the fact that it belongs to the category of coins that the Denver mint mistakenly produced by using leftover steel planchet rather than the regular copper ones that they were supposed to utilize. It seems though that the value of this penny is falling. It fetched a price of about $115,000 at a 2007 auction. It then dropped to $60,375 at a June 2010 auction in Long Beach, California.

14. 1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny

  • Value – $117,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-67 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny
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V.D.B. are the initials of Victor David Brenner, the renowned designer behind the Lincoln cent. Brenner placed his initials on the bottom rim of the reverse side of the 1909 cent and about 484,000 specimens were produced in the San Francisco mint. Further production was then halted after members of the public complained that the initials were taking too much space. This led to the removal of Brenner’s initials and consequently, there was a skyrocketing in the value of the already-produced ones.

13. 1872 Indian Head Penny

  • Value – $126,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-67 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1872 Indian Head Penny
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Prior to the Lincoln penny coming into circulation, the coin that was being used as a legal tender in the U.S. was the 1872 Indian Head Penny. It is, therefore, centuries-old and this makes it a favorite for collectors. It is rare though to find one in pristine condition except on the off chance that the penny never exchanged hands but was kept safe from day one. This is highly impossible as things were quite difficult at that time meaning that people could not afford to save much of their money.

12. 1969-S Lincoln Penny-Doubled Die obverse

  • Value – $126,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-64 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1969-S Lincoln Penny-Doubled Die obverse
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This particular quarter has been the subject of many discoveries in recent times. A Michigan collector named Michael Tremonti found one whilst searching through a 50 coin roll of 1969-S Lincoln Cents in the month of December 2020. Back in May 2018, a Texas mom named Megan Green also discovered one while carrying on her newfound hobby of coin collecting. Green had picked up the hobby to occupy herself whilst tending to her son with special medical needs. She later revealed that she will surely auction the coin so as to raise money to pay her son’s hospital bills.

11. 1926-S Lincoln Penny

  • Value – $149,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-65 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1926-S Lincoln Penny
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As the S in its name suggests, this particular penny was minted in the city of San Francisco. It has a relatively low mintage (production) rate in comparison with other Lincoln cents and this has made it a highly sought-after and valuable penny. It attracted a record fee of $149,500 at an auction conducted by Heritage Auctions in Orlando, Florida.

10. 1877 Indian Head Penny

  • Value – $149,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-66 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

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Of all the Indian Head pennies ever released, the 1877 version is the hardest to find, and it is even more difficult to get in good condition. It, therefore, means that if you are lucky to find one that is in good condition, it may very well fetch a price that is higher than the present $149,500. Analysts have even gone ahead to predict that as time continues to pass by, the 1877 Indian Head Penny would become even more difficult to find thus making an increase in value inevitable.

9. 1914-D Lincoln Penny

  • Value – $152,750
  • Grade – PCGS MS-66+ Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams
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1914-D Lincoln Penny
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The 1914-D was minted in the city of Denver with about 1.2 million copies produced and released into circulation. At the onset, there was nothing so special about the coins. They began to attract interest though due to the fact that the Denver mint suspended the production of one cent after 1914. That suspension meant that the 1.2 million that they had already produced now became precious with many collectors looking for it. So great was the demand that several unscrupulous individuals took to making fakes in order to make quick gains.

8. 1864 Indian Head Penny “L” on Ribbon

  • Value – $161,000
  • Grade – PCGS PR-65 Red & Brown
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1864 Indian Head Penny “L” on Ribbon
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The most valuable Indian Head Penny ever sold is the L on Ribbon. The L stands for the initials of the designer, James Longacre, who inserted the same to the ribbon on the obverse, thus making these particular coins quite valuable. To understand how valuable this distinction is, one must bear in mind that previous editions of the Indian head printed from 1859 to 1864 did not have that L. Also, not all those printed in 1864 had it thus making the few ones with it quite special.

7. 1943 Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze Alloy

  • Value – $164,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-63 Red
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1943 Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze Alloy
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This is one of the most idealized and sought-after pennies in American numismatics and this is due to its rich history. The U.S previously used copper to produce cents but was forced to stop and resort to steel in 1942 in order to conserve copper supplies for WWII. Some copper planchets were, however, leftover and a few copper coins, about 40, were still minted in 1943. This predictably made them the specialty they are today.

6. 1856 Flying Eagle Cent

  • Value – $172,500
  • Grade – PCGS MS-66
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1856 Flying Eagle Cent
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This one-cent piece was also designed by James Longacre and was intended to replace earlier pennies which were annoyingly too large and expensive to produce. Longacre thus resorted to a less heavy design, as well as inexpensive components, for this particular coin. It was subsequently approved by Congress and released into circulation in 1857 and 1858. It encountered some issues of its own, some despised the eagle design, and was replaced in 1859 by the Indian Head pennies.

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5. 1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

  • Value – $258,500
  • Grade – PCGS PR-67 Red & Brown
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln Penny
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Victor David Brenner also designed this, and as usual, he put his initials on them. The coins numbered between 420 and 1194 and the U.S. mint were none too happy with the fact that the initials were on them. They, therefore, ordered that the initials be removed. Removed it was and this sent the value of those coins that already bore the initials soaring through the roof.

4. 1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze

  • Value – $282,000
  • Grade – PCGS AU-58
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze
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The 4th most valuable penny in the world is the 1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze. This particular penny has the same history as the 1943 Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze and is similarly valuable. The only difference between the two is that this edition was produced in the city of San Francisco. As earlier stated, this category of pennies is quite valuable and people have taken to making counterfeits. One way to detect the fake is to stick it to a magnet. If it sticks, then it is not authentic.

3. 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Cent

  • Value – $336,000
  • Grade – PCGS MS-64 RD
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Cent
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The 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Cent is regarded as the rarest and most valuable double die obverse in the Lincoln Wheat Penny series. This is because only a handful of them exist, bearing some unique features. One of those unique features is the fact that the phrases “In God We Trust” and “Liberty” appear double. Another feature that also looks slightly doubled is the 1958 date which it bears.

2. 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

  • Value – $373,750
  • Grade – NGC MS-66
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny
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Just like the 1943 Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze Alloy and the 1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze, the 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny owes its popularity to some production planchets that were carried over from one year to the next. As the story goes, some steel blanks were leftover from 1943 and mistakenly allowed to run during the bronze production of 1944. This meant that the majority of the coins produced that year were bronze while a few precious ones were steel. The latter would then become coveted as the years pass.

1. 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Cent

  • Value – $1.7 million
  • Grade – PCGS MS-64BN
  • Weight – 3.11 grams

1943-D Lincoln Bronze Cent
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The most valuable penny sold in the world is the 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Cent. It was sold at a 2010 auction for the prize of $1.7 million. It took four years for the owner to agree to sell it and upon doing so, he donated the proceeds to charity. On his own part, the new buyer was a business executive who had been collecting pennies since his childhood days. Fortunately for him, he had the wealth to indulge in his passion and would go on to become the first individual to assemble a complete set of genuine 1943 bronze coins; one each from Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.

How the Value of a Penny is Determined

Are you looking to get into penny collection as a hobby or perhaps a potential money earner? Then, here are some useful tips that would guide you in determining the value of a penny. First is the date and country of origin which you can determine on the face of the cent or via some research. Then, you need to know if the penny is in good condition as this would make it fetch a higher price during the auction.

Another variable that can impact the value of a penny is any special factors such as the fact that it comes with the designer’s initials or was produced with copper rather than prevailing bronze. This would also impact the price positively. One can also work with a professional coin grading system and have your pennies officially appraised. This would peg the value expertly and also give potential buyers the confidence to proceed with the transaction.

Quick Recap of the 20 Most Valuable Pennies and How Much They Were Sold

1. 1943-D Lincoln Bronze Cent – $1.7 million

2. 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny – $373,750

3. 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Cent – $336,000

4. 1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on bronze – $282,000

5. 1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln Penny – $258,500

6. 1856 Flying Eagle Cent – $172,500

7. 1943 Lincoln Cent struck on Bronze Alloy – $164,500

8. 1864 Indian Head Penny “L” on Ribbon – $161,000

9. 1914-D Lincoln Penny – $152,750

10. 1877 Indian Head Penny – $149,500

11. 1926-S Lincoln Penny – $149,500

12. 1969-S Lincoln Penny-Doubled Die obverse – $126,500

13. 1872 Indian Head Penny – $126,500

14. 1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny – $117,500

15. 1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-coated Steel Planchet – $115,000

16. 1914-S Lincoln Penny – $105,800

17. 1922 D Lincoln No D Strong Reverse Die Pair 2 – $63,000

18. 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny – $48,000

19. 1992 Close Am Reverse – $20,000

20. 1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny – $19,950

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Ngozika Agu
Ngozika can turn any personal finance or entertainment information into an exciting, delightful and compelling article that informs and educates, she can quickly turn random letters into epic stories that not only entertain but also inspires or motivates

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