This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy thru these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Some 2011 shield pennies are worth much more than face value — up to $600 apiece!
So, how do you tell a rare and valuable 2011 penny worth hundreds from a regular 2011 Lincoln cent that’s only worth face value?
You’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’m going to provide you with:
- A list of current 2011 penny values
- An explanation of which 2011 pennies are worth more than face value… and why
- A list of 2011 Lincoln penny errors that you could actually find in your pocket change
2011 Lincoln Penny Facts
Is there any coin that is more ubiquitous than the Lincoln penny? Maybe, but it’s doubtful.
The trusty Lincoln cent debuted way back in 1909 — when it replaced the Indian Head penny.
With its familiar portrait of 16th U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, the eponymous penny was originally designed by Victor David Brenner, whose “VDB” initials currently appear under Lincoln’s shoulder on the obverse (heads side) of the coin.
Since 2010, the reverse (tails side) of the U.S. penny depicts the Union shield. The shield penny symbolizes Lincoln’s successful resolve to keep the United States whole and stave off Confederate rebels during the Civil War — a landmark event that occurred during his presidency from 1861 through 1865. The Union Shield reverse was designed by Lyndall Bass and continues to appear on Lincoln pennies today.
Many people think of Lincoln pennies as being made with copper — and they are. However, the percentage of copper in the one-cent coin has changed drastically over the years. Until 1982, all Lincoln pennies (except for those made of steel in 1943 and others rarely and erroneously struck in other compositions) were made with a 95% copper, 5% zinc (or 5% tin and zinc) alloy. This changed in 1982, when the price of copper made it unprofitable for the U.S. Mint to continue striking pennies with a majority-copper composition.
Since 1982, circulating Lincoln cents have been struck on a copper-coated zinc planchets (or blanks). So virtually all copper content found in a U.S. penny today is confined to a thin coating on a zinc core — which looks silver on modern Lincoln pennies that have been deeply scratched or heavily worn. So, in the event that you’re wondering if a 2011 silver penny actually exists… the answer is NO.
Here are some great tips for collecting old Lincoln pennies.
2011 No Mint Mark Penny Value
The 2011 penny without a mint stamp (or mintmark) is a very common coin. The Philadelphia Mint struck 2,402,400,000 of them. For those of you getting lost in counting zeroes, that’s more than 2 billion!
Surely, finding a 2011 shield penny in spare change or a coin jar is what leads many people to look up the value of this old penny. But if they’re so easy to find, it probably follows that 2011 Lincoln cents aren’t worth very much. Right? In a sense, this is true. Well-worn examples of the 2011 penny — like the kind you’re probably going to pull out of circulation — are generally going to fetch face value of just 1 cent.
But there are some 2011 pennies without a mintmark that are worth much more than face value:
- Uncirculated specimens, such as the kind that look like they just came from the mint yesterday, are worth an average of 10 to 30 cents.
- The most valuable 2011 no mintmark penny to cross the auction block was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as MS68RD and fetched an astounding $455 in a 2017 sale.
2011-D Penny Value
The 2011 Lincoln penny with “D” mintmark is another common coin. The “D” mint mark indicates that this 2011 penny was struck at the Denver Mint — which produced 2,536,140,000 of these coins that year.
Since 2011-D pennies are so common, they’re worth face value if worn — just 1 cent for the typical example you’re likely to find in pocket change.
However, as with the 2011 no mint mark penny from the Philadelphia Mint, uncirculated specimens of the 2011-D penny are worth much more:
- A typical unworn example in mint condition is worth 10 to 30 cents.
- The most valuable 2011-D penny to ever sale was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as MS68RD and sold for $667 in a 2017 auction.
2011-S Penny Value
The 2011-S proof Lincoln cent was specially struck for coin collectors and sold by the United States Mint in proof sets. No 2011-S pennies were released into circulation — although a few that have been broken out of their proof sets and spent as regular money do turn up from time to time.
So, what’s a proof coin anyway?
For one, proof isn’t a condition or grade. It refers to a method of manufacture and is a type of coin. Modern day proofs like the 2011-S penny are made with polished planchets/blanks and struck twice on high-tonnage presses by specially prepared dies to ensure even the smallest details are completely rendered.
The 2011-S penny was struck at the San Francisco Mint — which made 1,673,010 of the 2011 shield pennies with an “S” mintmark.
You can visit a coin dealer to buy a 2011-S proof penny as an individual coin or in a proof set. Most 2011-S pennies sell for around $2 to $5.
One of the most valuable 2011-S Lincoln pennies, graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as PR70DCAM, commanded $140 in a 2014 sale.
IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your Penny?
To determine the true value of your penny, you first need to know what condition (or grade) your coin is in.
2011 Lincoln Penny Errors List
Not all pennies are perfect. Chances are you’ve come across plenty of coins that appear to have some pretty odd things going on with them.
Most of the time, the things on a coin that may appear to be errors are really just signs of post-mint damage — which detracts from the coin and contributes to lowering its value.
However, there are some legit errors and varieties worth looking for that are quite valuable, too!
Here are some 2011 penny errors to look for:
- 2011 Doubled Die Penny – The 2011 doubled die pennies are very hard to find. They don’t present as dramatically as the popular and valuable Lincoln penny doubled dies like those from 1955 and 1972. Nonetheless, 2011 doubled die pennies can be worth anywhere from $25 to $50… or more.
- 2011 Off-Center Penny – Looking for an off-center 2011 shield penny is worth your effort. Finding one that’s worth a lot of money can be difficult, but if you’ve got one that’s about 50% off center and still shows a complete date the payday could bring $100 or more. Even off-center pennies that are 10% or 20% askew are worth $5 to $10 and up.
- 2011 BIE Penny – Here’s a weird type of Lincoln cent error in which a short, vertical die break between the letters “B” and “E” in the inscription “LIBERTY” on the obverse sometimes looks like a capital letter “I.” These so-called BIE pennies are very much sought after, and collectors will gladly pay $5 to $10 apiece for these pennies.
A list of 43 U.S. pennies worth more than face value. Hold onto these!
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!