What the heck is a non-commemmorative commemorative coin? Well, there are 2 in particular that several people have come here trying to find information about.
I call them non-commemorative commemoratives because they were made to commemorate or celebrate something, however they were not made by the U.S. Mint — so they cannot actually be true commemorative coins.
The 2 most common ones that we see on this site are:
the Lincoln memorial pennies with a portrait of JFK stamped onto them; and
the Lincoln memorial pennies with a liberty bell stamped on them (which usually comes with a tiny map also).
The coin depicting John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln together will most often come with a card attached.
The word "commemorative" is even on the card, but in fact it is a novelty coin that was made by a 3rd party after leaving the mint.
The Lincoln-Kennedy cent is a little more interesting than other commemoratives due to the "coincidence card" that the coin comes attached to. On the card is a list of unusual coincidences between the Lincoln assassination and the Kennedy assassination. Things such as… the first name of Lincoln’s private secretary was John and the last name of Kennedy’s private secretary was Lincoln; both president’s were succeeded by vice-presidents named Johnson; and several interesting coincidences.
Here are more details about the coincidences and other fun facts about the JFK-Lincoln penny.
Liberty Bell Penny
The Liberty Bell penny doesn’t have all of that interesting information behind it, but still shows up pretty often.
It too is just a novelty coin that was stamped by a 3rd party after it left the Mint.
This coin is stamped with a picture of the Liberty Bell, and most times is accompanied by a map. I’ve seen a few variations of these and suspect there are many more. Some have a map that looks like Arizona and some have a map of the U.S. I’d guess that there were some made for other states other than Arizona as well, if not for each of the states.
What Are They Worth?
These are just the 2 most common non-commemorative commemoratives that I’ve mentioned here. There are actually several altered coins such as these. Some have been stamped with the Statue of Liberty, some with maps, some with animals.
All of these coins have one thing in common. They are all indeed worth something… one cent! That is what they’re actually worth, however some people sell these types of coins for $1- $2 apiece to people who will pay it just because they like it.
So if you find a Lincoln cent such as one of these floating around in circulation, chances are it’s just a novelty.