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Before you read any further… YES, there really are valuable rare pennies worth $1 million apiece — or even more!
So, that’s the really good news!
Now you’re wondering which pennies are worth these big bucks. Right?
And you probably want to know if you have any of these rare coins.
I’m going to show you exactly what to look for when you’re searching for these million dollar pennies…
What Makes A U.S. Penny Worth $1 Million?
As with virtually all rare coins that are popularly sought after, valuable pennies are worth what they are due to supply and demand.
There are plenty of obscure coins with tiny mintage numbers that few people have heard of (and even fewer collect) that can be bought for a very small amount of money.
Then there are rare coins like the 1909-S VDB penny or 1955 doubled die penny that have thousands of survivors — and hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of collectors want them. As a result, there simply aren’t enough of these coins to satisfy all of the collectors who want them.
In the grander scheme of things, the concept of supply versus demand (which cuts across all aspects of collectibles — and even all of capitalistic retail, really) explains the theory behind high prices for rare coins.
So, what about pennies worth a million dollars? What could possibly push the price of a rare penny to such astronomical heights?
These million-dollar pennies aren’t just any rare coins… They are extremely rare and, therefore, extremely valuable!
3 U.S Pennies Worth $1 Million Apiece
Let’s take a look at 3 of the most famous pennies worth $1 million and the reason behind their values:
#1 – 1793 Chain AMERI. Penny
This 1793 penny is the very first coin the United States Mint ever struck for mass-scale production and circulation. And this coin is one major rarity indeed!
There were several varieties of 1793 large cents. But this one, which features a chain encircling the inscription “ONE CENT 1/100” and the abbreviation “AMERI.” (for “AMERICA”), is not just the first type of the 1793 penny — it’s also by far the rarest and most sought after by collectors.
Let’s talk rarity for a moment…
This coin saw a mintage of 36,103 pieces made. That’s not the lowest among U.S. coins, but it’s certainly on the lower end.
What makes this coin so rare is that there are only a handful of survivors. Most estimates suggest fewer than 200 — with Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) putting the number of survivors at a mere 187, regardless of condition!
So, there’s actually still a chance that you could find a 1793 million dollar penny.
The most valuable of all 1793 pennies sold at auction for $1,500,000 in 2019. This specimen was graded MS64+BN by PCGS and is one of the finest examples known.
#2 – 1943-D Copper Penny
Chances are you may have heard about the 1943 copper penny already.
The 1943 copper penny (also known as the 1943 bronze cent) is an error coin that was accidentally made when the U.S. Mint was striking 1943 pennies from zinc-coated steel — to help save copper for the World War II effort.
Many people are confused about these 1943 Lincoln cents. Some believe the 1943 steel cent to be a 1943 silver penny. In fact, there were no 1943 silver pennies made — although the 1943 steel pennies do appear to have silver in them, given their whitish color. Also, the 1943 steel pennies are extremely common — more than a billion of them were made!
The 1943 copper pennies are the rare ones worth looking for.
One really easy way to tell if you have a steel penny or copper penny is to see if your coin sticks to a magnet. The steel penny will stick to a magnet, while the copper will not.
Weighing your pennies with a coin scale can also help determine if you have a steel penny versus a copper penny. The steel Lincoln cents weigh about 2.7 grams each, while copper Lincoln cents weigh around 3.1 grams.
If you don’t already have a coin scale, these are the best scales for weighing U.S. coins. (Another helpful tool for inspecting your coins is a coin magnifier.)
The 1943 copper pennies are extremely rare — only a couple dozen examples are thought to exist — but some are even rarer than others. There were 3 U.S. Mint facilities striking pennies in 1943 (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco). While a few 1943 copper pennies exist from the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints, just one is known to have been produced at the Denver Mint.
That lone example of the unique 1943-D copper penny was graded MS64BN by PCGS and traded in a private sale for a record price of $1,750,000 in September 2010. The coin later brought $840,000 in a 2021 sale, but PCGS suggests the value is still at least $1,000,000.
Yep, the 1943 million dollar penny sure is a beauty!
#3 – 1958 Doubled Die Penny
The most famous doubled die penny is the one that was struck in 1955. The 1955 doubled die penny is easily worth more than $1,000, and it’s one of the most widely collected error pennies around.
But while the 1955 doubled die penny may be the most popular penny error worth big bucks, there is one that has a far higher value… The 1958 doubled die penny!
PIC OF 1958 PENNY
The 1958 doubled die penny is a valuable error variety with doubling clearly evident in the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “LIBERTY” on the obverse (heads side) of the coin.
Collectors who have a 1958 doubled die Lincoln penny really won’t need to second guess if theirs is the coveted example of this doubled die or not — because the doubling is very clear and can be seen with the naked eye. The doubling is about as obvious as it is on the main type of 1955 doubled die penny (mentioned above), which shows blatant doubling of the obverse inscriptions and the date.
This is also one very rare coin. And by very rare, I mean very rare. There are only 3 known 1958 doubled die pennies that exist. Just three!
The 1958 million dollar penny is not only one of the rarest Lincoln pennies around, it’s one of the rarest U.S. coins, period!
There’s no question that this valuable doubled die penny is a top dream coin for so many Lincoln cent collectors. Only 3 collectors at a time can ever own this coin — a consideration that makes this both a highly sought-after and valuable coin.
In 2023, the finest example (which was graded MS65RD by PCGS) sold for an astonishing $1,136,250!
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!