Which Old Pennies Are The Most Valuable?

valuable old penniesDo you have a bunch of old pennies in your possession and are trying to figure out which ones to keep?

While chances are most of your old pennies are worth only face value, there are plenty out there that are worth looking for.

In fact, some old pennies are worth hundreds of dollars!

Of course, you’ll have to look pretty hard to find the old one cent coins that are worth substantially more than face value, and the good news is that we’ll tell you about some of these valuable old pennies you should have your eye out for.

 

Old Lincoln Cents

Dating back to 1909, Lincoln pennies are the longest running United States coin series. However, over the course of more than 100 years, this tiny coin has seen several reverse design changes, including four commemorative designs that were issued in 2009 to celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

The 3 reverse primary reverse designs include:

  • Wheat ears (1909-1958)
  • Lincoln Memorial (1959-2008)
  • Union shield (2010-present)

 

Most of the valuable dates occurred among old Lincoln wheat ear pennies, and principally during the first 25 years or so of the Lincoln cent’s run. Values for these early Lincoln cents often start many hundreds of times the coins’ face value.

Here’s a look at some of the most valuable Lincoln cents and their values in Good-4 condition (unless otherwise stated):

  • 1909-S VDB: $750
  • 1911-S: $44
  • 1914-D: $225
  • 1922 no date: $725
  • 1924-D: $37
  • 1931-S: $110
  • 1955 doubled die: $950
  • 1969-S doubled die: $50,000 (Mint-State 63)
  • 1970-S small date: $50 (Mint-State 63)
  • 1995 doubled die: $10 (Mint-State 63)

 

Old Indian Cents

Struck from 1859 to 1909, Indian pennies are a throwback to an era when the value of a penny definitely meant much more than it did today. However, if you could transport yourself back to the late 1800s, when the Indian cent was in its prime, and carry back to the present day a handful of old Indian Head cents, you would have beat inflation. Unless damaged or discolored, almost any Indian cent is worth at least $1 to $2, and many are worth much more than that, especially if in well preserved condition.

Here’s a rundown of values for the scarcer Indian pennies:

  • 1861: $23
  • 1864 with L (for James B. “L”ongacre – the coin’s designer): $62
  • 1873 doubled LIBERTY: $625
  • 1877: $725
  • 1878: $26
  • 1888 Last 8 over 7: $2,650
  • 1908-S: $70
  • 1909-S: $450

While this list does not include every single possible valuable variety in existence (listing that many coins would take more than just one article!), this list is pretty inclusive of the most valuable coins that you’re likeliest to come across in penny rolls, old jars, boxes, drawers, chests, and collections. Good luck!

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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  • Rdlong187

    I have a Lincoln wheat cent 1909 and cant read the mint mark. but the coin is not red looking like other coppers. It looks like the 1943s. I have no idea why. Im scared to clean it and its not worn real bad just has something caked and hardened on it. why is it a silver in color and not red?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Rdlong,

      My only guess is that somebody must have plated your coin with pewter, silver, or perhaps even mercury. Such a piece would be considered altered and therefore have no significant numismatic value. I would try to run your coin under clean, running water and then pat it dry with a soft towel to see if that releases the crud you describe on the coin.

  • plr57

    I HAVE WHEAT PENNIES DATED 1917-1920.  WHAT IS THEIR VALUE

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Plr,

      Pennies from 1917-1920 in typical, worn condition are each worth around 20 cents.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CTQUJKBFPZ6GTUYF2I2KHUK6ZU Eugene

    I have pennies dated back from 1875,1897,1902,1905 are they worth any thing/

  • Brenwil5

    1801 indian penny woth?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Bren,

      A 1901 Indian Head cent is worth around $2 to $3 in typical, worn condition.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6JQU4NOQNZPWKX5KFHSZ4XFGXU pat

    i have a 1888 indianhead how or who can i sell to? actually the whole collection frm 1800 -1900 

  • Laurakasten67

    I have a 1866 indian head penny double die what is the value? how should i go about selling it?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Laura,

      The value depends on its condition; I would take it to your nearest coin dealer and get a sight-seen estimate. Here’s a great resource for finding reputable coin dealers: http://www.pngdealers.com/dealersearch.php

  • http://www.facebook.com/latoniabshelton Latonia Shelton

    I found a 1955 One cent peice (which I have already figured out isnt worth anything) and it got me interested in coins but im new to the coin scene so could you explain what the letters attached to the coins (on websites and such) mean ex: 1909-S VDB The S I know can be seen on the coin but what does the VDB mean?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Latonia -

      Welcome to the hobby! To take your example, in the case of the 1909-S VDB cent, the “S” stands for San Francisco, which is where the branch mint that struck that coin is located; the VDB is the set of initials for Victor David Brenner, who designed the Lincoln cent.

      Here’s a link to some more info about some of the letters on coins: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/10/mintmarks_determine_coin_value.php

  • derek

    i have a 1943 steel wheat penny and a 1920 wheat penny that looks like it want press hard enough when made how much are they worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Derek -

      Your 1920 and 1943 Lincoln cents are each worth around 10 to 20 cents.

  • snow assassin

    i have a 1919 weat head penny and a 1929D weat head penny and a 1951D weat head penny

  • jose

    i have a 1943 silver penny, i want to know what its worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      A 1943 steel cent in typical, worn condition is worth around 10 to 25 cents.

  • dbrian

    i have a 1907 penny it has same design as a indian head penny but it has an indian face looks like its pushing through the penny its very detailed does anyone know what this is worth or even called thanks

  • Mark Peshaba

    I recently found a 1943 steel penny with a small D under the year? Was wondering if the penny is worth anything?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Mark -

      The “D” is the mintmark for the Denver mint; your 1943-D steel Lincoln cent is worth between 10 cents and $1 based on condition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brittany.dortch.77 Brittany Dortch

    I have hunreds wheat pennies dating from 1910 to 1990s very few have mint marks but was wondering if anyone knows which exact years are the most valuable? I keep getting different years but would like to know exactly. Thanks!

  • monica30

    what is a double die penny

  • luong yu giang ( david )

    I have lincoln copper cent coin 1919 can you tell me what is it worth?

  • luong yu giang ( david )

    and the other one is morgan silver coin 1898

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi Luong,

      A 1919 Lincoln cent is worth around 15 cents and an 1898 Morgan dollar in circulated condition is worth around $25.

      Thanks for your question!