What Is The Rarest Penny? (Hint: It’s NOT The 1909-S VDB!)

rarest pennyHave you ever wondered what the rarest penny is?

True, the 1909-S VDB is perhaps the most popular rare penny, but it is, believe it or not, far from being the rarest one-cent coin.

While it boasts the lowest mintage among the regularly struck Lincoln pennies and is indeed considered rare, with nearly 500,000 made and perhaps 20,000 or more still in existence, the 1909-S VDB is not the rarest penny.

 

So Which One Cent Coin is the Rarest?

Among the regular-issue pennies, the 1793 Liberty Cap large cent takes the cake as the rarest penny made in the United States.

Made during the first year the United States Mint was striking coins on a regular basis, this 1793 penny was one of several one-cent designs struck that year.

So how many 1793 Liberty Cap pennies were made?

A measly 11,056. And the number of present-day surviving specimens is only a fraction of that.

What would it cost you to buy a specimen?

Well, you better be ready to pony up some serious dough! This is, after all, a nearly $4,000 coin in Good-4 condition. If you want a specimen with a bit less wear – say a Fine or Very Fine grade – you’re looking at spending as much as $12,500 to $15,000 or more.

This isn’t the type of coin you simply saunter into your nearest coin dealer to buy. Because 1793 pennies of any type are so desired by numismatists, they are usually quickly snapped up. Usually, your best bet for finding a 1793 Liberty Cap penny would be a high-level coin auction. However, if you’re seriously looking to buy this coin, your coin dealer may have an inside track to helping you find one.

 

What About the Other Rare Pennies?

For all you penny enthusiasts who take exception to my listing the 1793 Liberty Cap penny as the rarest and wonder why I didn’t mention the 1856 Flying Eagle cent as the rarest, here’s the reason: with around 2,000 struck, the 1856 Flying Eagle cent is officially only a pattern coin – not a regular-issue Flying Eagle cent.

Here are some other non-regular issue, rare pennies:

As you can see, while the penny may be the lowest denomination in modern-day coinage, it certainly isn’t without its valuable rarities that are, indeed, worth a pretty penny!

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, and living green with others.

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  • Gonzalesjasmin83

    hi,i dont know how can i go to auction my one dollar old coin can u help me

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Jasmin,

      What type of one dollar coin do you have? You may be better suited taking it to a coin dealer. Here’s a search engine for finding a reputable coin dealer near you: http://www.pngdealers.com/dealersearch.php

  • Martha Cruger

    I came across this 1958 wheat penny. The “1” on the
    year is revered-pointing right instead of left. I haven’t been able
    to find another error such as this anywhere on the internet. As far
    as I’ve seen all the 1’s on pennies are just sticks. And all the
    1958 pennies I’ve looked at also have just sticks for 1’s. I’m
    trying to find out what it’s worth. The “1” on this penny
    is not extra material that dropped from somewhere. It is clearly a
    “1” from every angle. Could you please give me some
    insight if you are familiar with this error in particular.