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The 1980 penny is worth looking for — even worn 1980 pennies are quite valuable!
Some are worth thousands of dollars.
In this post, you’ll learn how to tell the difference between a valuable 1980 penny worth big bucks versus one that’s worth only a few cents.
1980 No Mintmark Penny Value
The 1980 Lincoln Memorial penny without a mintmark isn’t a rare coin, as the Philadelphia Mint struck 7,414,705,000. That’s more than 7.4 BILLION… with a “B!”
Yet, it seems like it’s getting harder to find these old pennies in pocket change. Why is that?
While the 1980 penny with no mintmark is a common coin in the absolute sense, many collectors and non-collectors alike are hoarding these coins due to their copper content.
You see, copper prices are going up — way up since the 1980 Lincoln cent was struck many years ago with its 95% copper content.
The United States Mint switched the bronze composition of the Lincoln cent in 1982 to a copper-plated zinc format — due to the rising value of copper.
Today, a typical pre-1982 Lincoln Memorial penny contains around 2 to 3 cents of copper.
Therefore, people are saving 1980 Lincoln pennies because of their default copper value — they’re worth significantly more than their face value of one cent.
There’s one caveat though… It’s presently illegal to melt United States pennies for their copper. So how do you make money from saving old copper pennies?
Many coin dealers are paying extra for 1980 pennies on their speculative value (the amount the coins are worth on the hypothetical scenario that, eventually, it becomes legal to melt them). Others are waiting to trade them down the road for even more money if copper values keep going up.
What all of this means is that 1980 pennies with no mintmark are worth around 2 to 3 cents.
Most uncirculated 1980 pennies are worth 10 to 30 cents apiece.
The most valuable 1980 penny with no mintmark sold for $2,232.50 in a 2017 auction.
1980-D Penny Value
You should definitely keep your eyes out for one of these!
Like the Philadelphia-born penny, the 1980-D Lincoln cent struck at the Denver Mint is also made from a 95% copper composition. Carrying a “D” mintmark under the date to denote the coin’s striking in Denver, the 1980-D Lincoln penny is worth more than face value due to its high copper content.
The 1980-D penny is a common coin that boasts a mintage of 5,140,098,660 pieces. Even still, it’s becoming harder to locate these days because of the fact that more and more people are hoarding copper pennies. So good luck finding them in your spare change!
1980-D Lincoln pennies are worth 2 to 3 cents each, even in worn condition.
Uncirculated pieces are worth 10 to 30 cents each.
The most valuable 1980-D penny took a whopping $546 at a 2008 auction!
1980-S Proof Penny Value
The United States Mint struck a limited number of special collector pennies in 1980 and sold them in sets of proof coins — which exhibit mirror-like surfaces and super-sharp strikes. Proof coins are made with highly polished blanks that are struck at least twice by specially prepared dies on high-tonnage presses. Proof coins were sold to coin collectors by the U.S. Mint during the year of production.
The U.S. Mint in San Francisco made 3,554,806 proof sets in 1980.
You can buy 1980-S pennies or 1980 proof sets from coin dealers who specialize in buying and selling modern U.S. coins.
Because the U.S. Mint didn’t distribute 1980-S pennies into circulation, the only chance you have of finding them in circulation is if one turns up that was broken out of a proof set and spent as money.
While the number of 1980-S pennies made (3,554,806) is much smaller than the billions upon billions that were churned out by the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, there are enough to satisfy collector demand.
The typical 1980-S proof Lincoln cent is worth $1 to $3.
The most valuable 1980-S penny is an exceptionally pristine example that sold for $3,680 at auction in 2003.
3 Rare 1980 Error Pennies To Look For
Many 1980 penny errors are rare and valuable, while others that look like errors are really just damaged or altered — not errors at all.
Here are the 1980 error pennies that you could find in your spare change…
1980 Doubled Die Penny
One reason that so many people (even non-collectors) are aware of doubled die penny errors is because some of them are worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, most doubled dies aren’t worth that much. And that’s the case with the 1980 doubled die pennies you’re likely to find.
Most 1980 doubled die Lincoln pennies are relatively obscure and sought by only specialists.
However, there is a 1980 doubled die obverse (heads side) penny that shows a thicker date and lettering in the word “LIBERTY,” and this variety sells for anywhere from $35 to $250+, depending on the condition of the coin.
1980-D & 1980-S Repunched Pennies
In the early 1980s, coiners at the U.S. Mint were hand-punching the mintmarks (“D” and “S”) individually onto each working die. It was a process that left plenty of room for error — which arose from time to time.
Some 1980-D and even 1980-S proof penny dies show indications of repunched mintmarks, caused by the coiner repunching the mintmark after the first attempt was either misplaced or not oriented correctly — sideways, tilted, what have you.
The value of a repunched mintmark largely depends on the magnitude of the error and how popular (or sought-after) a particular repunched mintmark error is.
Many repunched mintmark 1980 pennies sell for between $3 and $10.
1980 BIE Penny
Coin dies don’t last forever. These specially crafted devices that punch the design of a coin onto a blank eventually wear out — sometimes becoming brittle and cracking. These die cracks show up on the struck coins and appear as raised lines, squiggles, or bumps.
One particular type of die crack that is unique to Lincoln cents appears as a straight, vertical line between the letters “B” and “E” in the inscription “LIBERTY” and looks like a capital “I.” This type of die crack is aptly classified as a “BIE” variety and is wildly popular with coin collectors.
A “typical” 1980 BIE penny might be expected to sell for $5 to $15.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. 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 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 authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!