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Did you find a 1959 penny in your pocket change or notice one in your coin jar?
You’re probably curious if that 1959 Lincoln Memorial cent is worth anything more than a penny, right?
If you’d like to find out more about 1959 pennies, why they’re special, and how much they’re worth, then you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve got more information on 1959 penny values, facts about these old pennies, and info on why you should keep these coins.
1959 Penny Facts
The 1959 penny is special because it became the first to bear a reverse (or tails) portrait of the Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1922 to honor the life of President Abraham Lincoln, who remains on the obverse (head’s side) of the one-cent coin today.
The Lincoln Memorial design replaced the famous wheat ears, or Lincoln wheat penny design that was struck on the coin from 1909 through 1958.
While people loved wheat pennies, the new 1959 one-cent coins were mostly popular with the public when they were first released.
There are always critics though. Some even called the new coins “trolley car cents,” likening the Lincoln Memorial design to the appearance of a trolley car.
The new Lincoln Memorial design was created by Frank Gasparro — whose initials FG are found to the bottom right of the Lincoln Memorial design. Gasparro also designed other famous coins, such as the Eisenhower dollar and Susan B. Anthony dollar.
Finding a 1959 Lincoln Memorial penny today isn’t too hard with enough searching, but they’re getting more challenging to locate as newer pennies continually displace older ones in circulation.
It’s actually getting much more difficult to find any pre-1982 pennies in spare change these days –because people are saving them for their intrinsic copper value, which is presently worth about 2 cents. In other words, these old copper pennies are worth about twice their face value!
But does that mean all 1959 pennies are worth “only” 2 cents?
In a word, no.
How Much Are 1959 Pennies Worth?
If you find any 1959 penny in your pocket change, keep it! Again, they’re all worth at least 2 cents — so you’re doubling your money!
The only 1959 pennies worth more than 2 cents are:
- Those that contain rare errors or varieties.
- Those that have never been worn.
It’s possible to find a circulated 1959 penny with some interesting errors — such as repunched mintmarks or maybe even a doubled die. But you’re not going to find any unworn 1959 pennies in spare change because virtually anything you find in circulation will show some signs, even minute indications, of some wear.
Here’s what 1959 uncirculated and proof pennies are worth:
- 1959 penny — 609,715,000 minted; 25 to 50+ cents
- 1959-D penny — 1,279,760,000 (1.27 billion) minted; 25 to 50+ cents
- 1959 proof penny — 1,149,291 minted; $2+
*All values are for uncirculated and proof 1959 pennies, and therefore must have no signs of wear.
What Else Happened When Your 1959 Penny Was Made?
- Alaska and Hawaii were admitted into the United States as the 49th and 50th states, respectively.
- Fidel Castro was sworn in as the prime minister of Cuba.
- The famous doll, Barbie, debuted at the American Toy Fair in New York.
- Bonanza, Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, and Dennis The Menace aired on TV for the first time.
- The Guggenheim Museum, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in New York City.
- American car manufacturer Ford stopped producing its highly unpopular Edsel model.
- Top songs in 1959 included “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” from The Platters, and “I Need Your Love Tonight” by Elvis Presley.
More About The 1959 Penny Value
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help find the value of your 1959 pennies:
- What’s The Value Of Wheat Pennies?
- A Brief History Of The Penny
- Which Old Pennies Are The Most Valuable?
- Old Copper Pennies: Which Ones To Save & What They’re Worth
- 5 Rare Coins You’ll Find In The Lincoln Memorial Cent Series
- A List Of 43 U.S. Pennies Worth Holding On To
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!