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How is it possible that some 2020 pennies are worth nearly $5,000?!
Well, the truth is many 2020 Lincoln cents are worth more than face value due to errors, varieties, or simply being in top condition.
In this article, I’m going to tell you exactly which details you should be looking for on your 2020 pennies — the features that can help you identify whether you have a rare and valuable coin or not.
Here’s how to tell a regular 2020 penny worth 1 cent apart from one that’s worth hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars…
Fun Facts About The 2020 Penny
The 2020 Lincoln penny is a common coin that can easily be found in pocket change — not a surprise given that billions were struck.
The best news is that many of these coins are worth more than face value, as explained below.
But first, there are a few questions you might want answers to about the 2020 Lincoln penny, including:
- What does the little VDB on a 2020 penny mean? The “VDB” seen on the 2020 penny (and most other Lincoln cents) represents the initials of Victor David Brenner. He designed the portrait of 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln that has appeared on the obverse (“heads side”) of the Lincoln cent since 1909. On the 2020 penny, you’ll find the “VDB” just under Lincoln’s shoulder. By the way, the shield design that appears on the reverse (“tails side”) of the 2020 penny was the brainchild of Lyndall Bass. This design has appeared on Lincoln cents since 2010.
- How much does a 2020 penny weigh? A standard 2020 Lincoln penny should weigh 2.5 grams — which is the typical weight of a copper-coated zinc penny. (Yes, 2020 pennies are primarily made from zinc, not copper or bronze as is commonly thought.) Here are the best scales for weighing U.S. coins.
- What does the little letter under the date on a 2020 penny mean? The little “D” or “S” that you see underneath the date on some 2020 pennies is called a mintmark. The mint mark symbolizes which U.S. Mint facility made the coin. A “D” mintmark on the 2020 penny means it was struck at the Denver Mint, whereas an “S” mintmark indicates the coin was made in San Francisco.
2020 Penny Value (No Mintmark)
The 2020 penny without a little letter (mintmark) underneath the date was struck at the Philadelphia Mint, which made billions of pennies that year. Since 2020 pennies were made in such large numbers, these coins are very common.
In circulated (worn) condition, a 2020 penny with no mintmark is worth face value of 1 cent.
However, if you find a 2020 penny that looks like it just came from the mint yesterday, that’s another story!
A typical uncirculated 2020 penny with no mint mark is worth around 10 to 30 cents — significantly more than face value.
The most valuable no mintmark 2020 penny is worth much more than that!… It was graded MS69RD by Numismatic Guaranty Company and sold for $760.01 in 2021.
2020-D Penny Value
The 2020-D Lincoln penny was struck by the billions at the Denver Mint, which puts its “D” mintmark underneath the date. The 2020-D penny is a very common coin.
In worn condition (aka “circulated), a 2020-D penny is worth face value of 1 cent.
Uncirculated specimens of the 2020-D penny are worth much more — usually about 10 to 30 cents apiece.
The most valuable 2020-D penny was graded MS68RD by Professional Coin Grading Service and fetched a whopping $4,999.99 when it sold in 2021.
2020-S Penny Value
Looking for a 2020-S penny in your pocket change? Good luck! Though it’s not impossible to land a 2020-S Lincoln cent while searching through coin rolls and such, you’re probably not going to find one in your spare change. That’s because they weren’t struck for circulation.
The San Francisco Mint made these special S-mintmark proof coins just for coin collectors. The 2020-S penny was available in proof coin sets and sold to the public.
The 2020-S penny is certainly anything but ordinary. These proof coins were made using highly polished blanks, and they struck twice on high-tonnage presses by specially prepared dies to bring up even the most minute details on the coin.
These 2020-S pennies were struck in limited quantities and are generally worth $3 to $5 each.
The most valuable 2020-S penny was graded PR70DCAM by Professional Coin Grading Service and sold for $88 in 2021.
Valuable 2020 Error Pennies To Look For!
There are many 2020 penny errors and varieties worth more than face value, but the big question is telling an error apart from a coin with common and worthless post-mint damage. What you’ll find below is a list of the most frequently encountered and popular penny errors and what they’re worth.
2020 Doubled Die Penny Error
While there are no known major 2020 doubled die pennies worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, there are many minor and notable doubled dies that are worth $25 to $50 apiece — some even more. Among the most likely places to find doubling on 2020 pennies is in the date, in the lettering, in Lincoln’s tie or eye, and in the lines in the shield.
2020 Off-Center Penny Error
Off-center coins are really cool errors in which some (sometimes most!) of the design is missing — because the coin wasn’t properly centered on the press upon striking, or the dies were not aligned correctly. The most frequently encountered 2020 off-center pennies are 5% to 10% off center — these are generally worth $10 to $20 apiece. The most valuable 2020 off-center pennies are about 50% askew yet still show a complete date on the coin — these are worth approximately $100 to $150.
2020 BIE Penny Error
The BIE penny is a weird kind of error variety in which there’s an apparent capital letter “I” between the letters “B” and “E” of “LIBERTY” on the coin. However, this is no misspelling! It’s a die break that just happened to crop up in that very spot. BIE varieties are unique to Lincoln cents and can be found on any date — including the 2020 penny. Some people even attempt to complete a collection of BIE pennies by year. This can be a very tough feat, but not an impossible one! A 2020 BIE Lincoln penny error is generally worth $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!