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Did you find a 1988 penny and want to know if it’s worth more than face value?
Many 1988 pennies are worth much more than just one cent!
Some 1988 Lincoln cents are worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
Today, I’m going to show you which 1988 pennies are worth looking for and why…
1988 Penny Facts & Values
- The 1988 Lincoln Memorial cent saw more than 11 billion examples struck.
- 1988 pennies are made from a copper-coated zinc composition.
- All 1988 pennies should weigh 2.5 grams.
- Victor David Brenner designed the bust of president Abraham Lincoln as seen on the penny back in 1909. His “VDB” initials are seen in tiny letters just under Lincoln’s bust on the obverse (heads side) of the 1988 penny.
- The reverse (tails side) of the 1988 penny carries an image of the Washington, D.C. monument known as the Lincoln Memorial. That design was created for the coin in 1959 by Frank Gasparro, whose “FG” initials are seen just to the right of the landmark on the coin.
1988 No-Mintmark Penny Value
The 1988 penny without a letter (a.k.a. mintmark) under the date was struck at the Philadelphia Mint.
These 1988 no-mintmark pennies are not rare coins at all. In fact, billions were made! The total output of 1988 pennies from the Philadelphia Mint was a whopping 6,092,810,000 coins — and many of these still turn up in pocket change today.
Most worn (circulated) 1988 Lincoln pennies are worth face value, or just 1 cent.
However, 1988 Lincoln cents that are uncirculated are generally worth 10 to 30 cents apiece.
The most valuable 1988 Lincoln penny was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as MS68RD and traded for $881 in a 2014 auction. Not too shabby for a penny, huh?
But just you hang on… wait ’til you see what other 1988 pennies have sold for!
1988-D Penny Value
The 1988-D penny was struck at the Denver Mint and bears a “D” mintmark under the date declaring its origin in the “Mile High City.”
The Denver Mint produced a lot of pennies in 1988… 5,253,740,443 of them! Yes, you read that correctly, more than 5.25 billion pennies, with a “B”!
Just like their same-year counterpart pennies from the “City of Brotherly Love,” 1988-D pennies are worth face value if worn, or 1 cent.
Uncirculated 1988-D pennies are worth 10 to 30 cents each.
And the record price? The most valuable 1988-D penny ever sold at auction was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as MS68RD and fetched $1,495 in 2007.
1988-S Penny Value
Virtually every year, the United States Mint makes a small number of collector-edition proof coins that have high-quality, mirror-like finishes. They are made on high-tonnage presses using specially prepared dies and polished blanks.
In 1988, the San Francisco Mint struck a limited number of proof pennies that were included in larger sets of proof coins that also included other circulating coins — such as the nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar.
The San Francisco Mint made 3,262,948 1988-S pennies with the “S” mintmark, and all were sold to collectors in these special proof sets.
Most 1988-S Lincoln pennies are worth $1 to $3 apiece.
However, the most valuable 1988-S penny ever sold was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as PR70DCAM and took $1,438 in 2004.
IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your Penny?
To determine the true value of your 1988 penny, you first need to know what condition (or grade) your coin is in.
Valuable 1988 Error Pennies To Look For
Not all pennies are created equal. Most are made without errors, but nobody is perfect — not even the folks at the world-class United States Mint.
A small but significant number of 1988 penny error coins were made, and many of them are worth much more than face value!
To be clear… not every odd looking 1988 penny you find is an error coin. In fact, most of the strange-looking coins you find that appear to have some type of error unfortunately are just showing some type of post-mint damage.
So, which 1988 penny errors are worth looking for?
Here’s a rundown of the 1988 error pennies you are most likely to find in spare change — and what they’re worth:
1988 Doubled Die Penny
It seems a lot of people have heard about double die pennies because they’re often worth lots of money. But let’s get a couple things clear first…
To start, there’s no such thing as a double die. The proper name is doubled die (past tense). That’s because the way this error variety is created is when the die itself (which strikes an image onto a blank coin) receives a doubled image from the hub, where the master design comes from. This usually occurs when the hub impresses the image upon the die twice at slightly different angles or positions.
Another thing that’s important to know is that not all doubled dies are necessarily super valuable. Many are, that’s for sure. But in most cases, the valuable doubled dies are those that show drastic doubling that can be seen with the naked eye. These are the most in-demand and thus the most valuable. But the vast majority of doubled die coins show only very minor doubling — and it may only be clearly seen with the aid of a coin magnifying glass.
That being said, there are no known 1988 doubled die pennies with uber-drastic doubling. But there are many with minor doubling. This doubling is usually best seen in the lettering, date, and in design details such as Lincoln’s eye on the 1988 penny.
Most of these obscure but still highly collectible 1988 doubled die pennies are worth between $20 and $50.
1988 Off-Center Penny
Talk about drastic-looking errors…
An off-center penny is one coin that will snag just about anyone’s attention, including the eyes of the non-collector! Off-center coins are missing anywhere from 1% to 99% of its design, an error caused by the dies being misaligned or the planchet (the blank coin) not being properly seated on the presses.
Most off-center errors are askew by only 1% to 3%, and these are highly common and not really worth anything extra. An off-center coin generally has to be between 5% and 10% off-center for it to be worth any significant premium, with values starting at around $10 or so. The most valuable type of off-center error coin is missing about 50% of its design but still shows its complete date and, if applicable, mintmark; such 1988 off-center error pennies are worth around $50 to $100.
1988 Die Break Penny
Dies are prone to aging, and at some point they often begin cracking. These cracks result in lines, bumps, and other raised anomalies on the coin. Die breaks and die cracks are usually collectible varieties that are worth about $3 and up.
One of the most valuable types of die breaks is known as a die cud, which is a distinctive type of die crack that looks like a flattish, rounded mound attached to the coin’s rim. Die cuds are often worth around $100 to $200, and sometimes even more than that.
Then there is the BIE penny error. While not necessarily rare, the BIE error is unique to Lincoln pennies. So, what is it? The BIE error is so named because of a small, vertical die crack that can form between the letters “B” and “E” in “LIBERTY” just to the left of Lincoln that often takes on the form of a capital letter “I.” If you find a 1988 BIE penny error, be sure you keep it, for it’s worth $5 to $10.
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!