This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy thru these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Collectors love doubled die pennies!
Commonly (but mistakenly) called double die pennies (with the “d” missing), these rare and valuable error varieties are among the top prizes of coin collectors.
Some doubled die Lincoln pennies are worth hundreds of dollars. Others have fetched thousands. Still others are worth less money — but all of them are highly collectible mint mistakes that are widely sought after!
Doubled Die Pennies vs. Pennies With Mechanical Doubling
A doubled die occurs when the die, which strikes a design onto a blank coin, has doubling within some element — or elements (plural) — of the design or inscriptions.
This doubling is passed onto the die during the hubbing stage, when the die itself is impressed with the image that is to be struck onto one side of the coin. This type U.S. Mint mistake increases the value of the coin.
It is important to understand the difference between doubled die coins and coins with mechanical doubling.
Mechanical doubling (sometimes called machine doubling) occurs as a result of die deterioration or planchet reverb upon being struck by the die. This type of doubling is not an error or variety. It is very common, and it generally does not increase the value of the coin.
(You can see an example of mechanical doubling in the “Poor Man’s Doubled Die” section below.)
The number of different pennies with doubled dies is extraordinary — there are far too many to list in any one article. It is the rarest and most dramatic doubled die pennies worth big money that are the ones most frequently covered in penny error coin value guides.
The Most Valuable Doubled Die Penny Error Coins
Hoping to find a valuable treasure in your pocket change? Or, maybe you’re planning to cherrypick some good finds at the coin shop!
Here’s a list of the most valuable doubled die pennies and what they are worth:
Doubled Die Indian Pennies
- 1873 Doubled Liberty — This fascinating Indian penny error shows doubling of the inscription “LIBERTY” in Miss Liberty’s feathered headdress. The doubling is pretty prominent and can be seen by many without the aid of magnification. The value of the 1873 Doubled Liberty penny is $150 to $2,400+.
- 1894 Doubled Date — Doubling can be seen to the top right of the “9” and “4” in the date, with some doubling on the “1” and the “8.” This is a wonderful variety that is pursued by many Indian penny collectors. It’s worth $20 to $500+.
Doubled Die Lincoln Wheat Pennies
- 1917 Doubled Die Obverse — Doubling is seen in the date (“1917”) and motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” as strong thickening and clear doubling of these inscriptions. This is one of the most sought-after early Lincoln Wheat penny varieties. The value of this 1917 penny is $150 to $3,000+.
- 1936 Doubled Die Obverse — This valuable 1936 penny error shows distinct doubling in the date (“1936”), legend “LIBERTY,” and motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This 1936 penny is worth $100 to $500+.
- 1955 Doubled Die Obverse — Perhaps the most famous doubled die wheat penny is this one from 1955. Vivid doubling is seen in the date (“1955”), legend “LIBERTY,” and motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This 1955 penny is often credited as the first error that really made collecting doubled die varieties so popular in the mainstream. It has also served as a plot device in the “Weird Al” Yankovic film UHF and in Stephen King’s 2010 book A Good Marriage. The 1955 doubled die penny is worth $1,300 to $10,000+.
- 1958 Doubled Die Obverse — While the 1955 doubled die penny is the most popular doubled die penny around, the 1958 doubled die cent is the rarest and most valuable. This error coin exhibits prominent doubling in the inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” Only three are known to exist and they are worth about $150,000 apiece!
Doubled Die Lincoln Memorial Pennies
- 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse — Here’s one rare and valuable penny that you actually have a legitimate chance of finding in your spare change. But you’ve got to know what you’re looking for! The 1969-S doubled die penny shows major doubling in the date (“1969”), legend “LIBERTY,” and motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” However, you will not see any doubling in the “S” mintmark — because this was punched onto the die after the hubbing process, where the doubled die effect was imparted on the die. This 1969-S error penny is worth $25,000 to $100,000+.
- 1971 Doubled Die Obverse — One of the more obscure Lincoln Memorial penny errors is the 1971 doubled die cent. It shows some minor doubling in the legend “LIBERTY” and motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This valuable 1971 penny error is worth $25 to $100+.
- 1972 Doubled Die Obverse — One of the most dramatic (and certainly most popular) Lincoln Memorial penny errors is the 1972 doubled die cent. It’s rivaled in popularity only by the 1955 doubled die penny and is easily the most valuable of Lincoln Memorial doubled die pennies — with the exception of the similar 1969 penny error. Doubling is easily seen in the date (“1972”), legend “LIBERTY,” and motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This 1972 penny error is worth $150 to $1,000+.
- 1983 Doubled Die Reverse — Usually the doubled die penny errors show their doubling on the head’s side (“obverse”). The 1983 penny stands alone on this list though… Its doubling is seen on the tail’s side (“reverse”). You will spot the most prominent doubling in the denomination “ONE CENT.” A typical 1983 doubled die penny is worth $100 to $250+.
- 1984 Doubled Ear — Two ears may be better than one, especially when both ears are seen on this cool valuable 1984 penny error! You’ll see a doubled ear lobe under Lincoln’s “primary” ear on this coin. A 1984 doubled ear penny is worth $150 to $250+.
- 1995 Doubled Die Obverse — The last major doubled die penny reported among Lincoln Memorial pennies was minted in 1995. It’s easy for many to spot this 1995 penny error, which shows doubling in the inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The 1995 doubled die penny is worth $20 to $100+.
What About The 1955 Poor Man’s Doubled Die Penny?
Trying to find the so-called 1955 Poor Man’s Doubled Die penny (pictured above)?
While it’s a popular coin mistake, it’s not really a doubled die.
The 1955 Poor Man’s Doubled Die is a great example of common machine doubling or mechanical doubling (mentioned above).
This coin has long been sold by many coin dealers to coin collectors who can’t afford a real 1955 doubled die penny and want to fill that hole in their penny folders or albums.
While most mechanical doubling or machine doubled coins have no extra value, the 1955 Poor Man’s Doubled Die penny tends to sell for $1 to $5 as a novelty item.
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!