Penny Errors To Look For: The Ultimate Rare Error Pennies & Common Error Pennies List

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Are you looking for rare error pennies?

There are lots of different penny errors to look for — some are rare and some are common.

So… how do you tell the common error pennies from the rare ones? And what are they worth?

Are there pennies that look like errors but really aren’t? How much are those pennies worth?

Today I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about error pennies. Below, you will find:

  • The ultimate penny error list
  • A list of rare error pennies
  • A list of common error pennies
  • Details about specific types of error pennies


The Ultimate Penny Error List

There are so many types of error pennies out there, it’s hard to know where to begin listing them. Billions upon billions of pennies are in circulation, and among them are countless errors just waiting to be found!

Of course, some errors are more common than others. So, what I’m going to do is break down the list of penny errors by “rare” ones and “common” ones.

Here are the 2 major lists of penny errors to look for — which includes a total of 9 different types of error pennies:



Here are 5 of the rarest and most valuable types of penny errors:


#1 – Doubled Die Pennies

Of all error coins, there’s perhaps none more well-known than the doubled die. But, what are doubled die pennies?

A doubled die penny error occurs when the coin’s die is impressed twice, and at two slightly different angles, by the hub.

When a die with a doubled image goes into production work, it then strikes coins with the doubled image.

Sometimes only a few coins (and sometimes a few thousand) will escape from the U.S. Mint before the error is noticed.

In some cases, if the mistake is caught early enough, the doubled die coins will be recalled from the stockpile that’s ready for distribution into circulation and be destroyed. But many doubled dies go undetected by the U.S. Mint — only to be found by collectors who treasure these rare errors!

While doubled dies occur on every denomination of coin, they seem most prevalent among pennies.

Many doubled die pennies show the most prominent doubling in the inscriptions or date. However, a few exhibit so much doubling that it’s even obvious in the design details. For example, the 1984 doubled die penny shows significant doubling of Lincoln’s earlobe.

Here’s a list of the rarest and most popular doubled die pennies:

I remember when the 1995 doubled die penny was first located. News of the discovery was on the radio, TV, and Internet. Everybody was looking for the 1995 doubled die penny — even me!

A similar thing happened when the 1955 doubled die was first reported. It was released at a time when coin collecting was already widely popular in the United States.

Discoveries like these and the media blitz that follows has helped firmly implant knowledge of (or at least an awareness of) doubled die pennies even, among non collectors. That’s one reason these coins are so popular… and valuable!

Some of the more obscure and minor doubled die coins are worth $25 to $100.

NOTE: Not all signs of doubling mean that a penny is a doubled die! In most cases, when you see a penny with doubled lettering or design, it’s really just mechanical doubling — which means the coin was double struck by the coin presses. This type of doubling is not an error. It’s just a type of defect in the striking process. Most coins with mechanical doubling are not worth anything extra.


#2 – Die Cap Pennies

One of the weirdest types of penny errors is the die cap — which occurs when a penny gets stuck to a die for many strikes.

With each strike against other pennies, the stuck coin gets flatter and flatter and ends up getting shaped around the die.

This can make the die cap error coin look something like a bottle cap. These rare penny errors are often worth $250 or more.


#3 – Off-Center Pennies

Off-center error pennies are made when the retaining collar that keeps the coin in place during striking fails to properly corral the coin. These off-center errors are missing some part of the design and/or lettering.

Drastic off-center error pennies (those that are 50% off-center) are quite rare. Pennies that are way off-center and show a complete date are even rarer — they’re worth $50 or more.

Off-center pennies that are 5% or 10% off-center and not showing a date are relatively common and worth $3 to $10.


#4 – Broadstrike Pennies

Another type of error that occurs when a penny isn’t struck in its retaining collar is the broadstrike.

Unlike the off-center error (which exhibits missing lettering and design elements), broadstrike pennies are not missing any lettering or design detail.

One of the common characteristics of a broadstrike is that it appears flatter and wider than normal.

These pancaked broadstrike pennies are rare and often worth $50 to $100 or more.


#5 – Transitional Error Pennies

Changes to the design or metallic composition of a penny sometimes leads to errors. Such is the case when some 1943 pennies were struck on the bronze planchets that were intended for 1942 pennies. Likewise, some 1944 pennies were made from the 1943 steel planchets instead of the 1944 shell case blanks.

There are also errors in which some 1992 pennies show virtually no gap between the base of the “A” and “M” in “AMERICA” on the reverse of those coins.

One of the rarest transitional error pennies involves the 1982-D small date penny — which wasn’t supposed to be struck on a bronze planchet. A small handful of these 1982-D small date bronze cents have been found, and they’re worth thousands! A few other dates with similar errors have also been found.

These are the most popular and most valuable transitional error pennies:



All penny errors are scarce. But some are much more common than others.

Here are 4 of the more commonly encountered error pennies:


#1 – BIE Error Pennies

When an aging coin die begins cracking under repeated pressure, a fracture can appear as a raised line on a coin.

On Lincoln cent dies, these little die cracks had a tendency to appear as vertical line between the “B” and “E” of “LIBERTY” — looking something like a capital letter “I.”

These so-called BIE error pennies are extremely popular with Lincoln penny collectors and error coin collectors. And, because they’re so common, they’re sometimes collected by date.

A typical BIE penny is worth $5 to $10.


#2 – Repunched Mintmark Pennies

Before the 1990s, mintmarks were handpunched onto each die. This meant that each die would sometimes showcase the mintmark in a slightly different location than other dies.

And, sometimes during the mintmark-punching process a little mistake would happen. Maybe the mintmark was stamped in the wrong location or at a weird angle — in which case, the mint employee repunched the mintmark.

Repunched mintmarks can be found on any mintmarked coin from the late 20th century or earlier. But because of the extraordinary number of pennies made and subsequently large number of dies required to strike them, repunched mintmarks are most common on pennies.

A typical repunched mintmark penny is worth $5 or more. 


#3 – Die Clash Pennies

When something happens with the planchet feeding machine that prevents a blank from being fed into the dies, the obverse (head’s side) and reverse (tail’s side) die will strike each other. This can leave an imprint from one die into the other.

When planchets are fed back into the presses again, the coins stamped by the clashed dies may show traits of the reverse design on the obverse and/or part of the obverse design on the reverse.

Die clash penny errors are scarce but among the more common of all errors.

Pennies with barely noticeable die clashes are the most common — they’re worth $2 to $5. More drastic die clash pennies are worth anywhere from $50 and up.


#4 – Clipped Planchet Pennies

Sometimes errors happen when the blank discs that become coins are cut from the original sheet of metal.

The discs may be mis-cut, with a little crescent-shaped piece of metal getting cut from the round disc.

The clip may be either very small or quite large.

Clipped planchet pennies are distinctive, sought-after errors that are worth $15 and up. 


Unique Pennies That Are Not Errors

While there are many cool error pennies you can find in circulation, the vast majority of pennies that appear unusual are not rare error pennies.

Instead, these are coins with post-mint damage or alterations.

Let’s take a look at a few of them…


#1 – Lincoln Pennies With Kennedy, A State Outline, Or Other Markings

A variety of private companies have counterstamped images of John F. Kennedy, different states, the Liberty Bell, and other types of designs and messages on coins.

These are not errors but rather novelty coins that were created as souvenirs or promotional items. I’ve found a few such coins in my own pocket change.

Although counterstamped coins are not rare, some people do collect them.

Here’s how much some counterstamped pennies are worth:

  • Lincoln Penny With State — 50 cents or more 
  • Penny With Liberty Bell — 75 cents or more 
  • Elongated Penny — $1 or more 
  • Lincoln Kennedy Penny — $1 to $2
  • Penny With Freemason Or Mason Logo — $1 to $2
  • Lincoln Penny With Angel, Cross, Or Other Designs — $1 and up


#2 – A Penny With No Face Or Back

Maybe you’ve come across a penny with no face or backno design on one side or the other whatsoever.

What’s up with that?

Well, in virtually every case what you’ve got is a coin that was altered after it left the United States Mint.

These are some of the most common reasons for it:

  • The penny may have been used for jewelry or art. Often a penny with no face or back is planed down so that it can be glued flat to another surface — such as a pendant or a painting.
  • A Lincoln penny with no face or back may have been used as a gaffe coin. Some magicians fashion a dime on one side and, using sleight-of-hand illusion, make the penny appear to turn into a 10-cent piece or vice versa.
  • For no particular reason at all. A lot of times a coin is altered by idle hands as a way to pass the time. I know that when I was younger, I defaced a few coins when I got a little bored!


#3 – Floating Roof Lincoln Memorial Pennies

Sometimes mint employees polished Lincoln Memorial dies to ensure the coins they produced were sharply struck and free of cracks and other defects.

However, sometimes during the polishing process, parts of the die would inadvertently be removed.

In many cases, the victims of overpolishing were the lines connecting the roof of the Lincoln Memorial to the rest of the building below — which gives the illusion that the Lincoln Memorial roof is floating.

Floating roof pennies are popular with collectors but they are technically not errors or die varieties. But, some collectors are paying $1 to $5 for them.


#4 – Two-Headed Pennies

Although many people have reported finding two-headed pennies, no such error is known to exist among United States one-cent coins.

Any two-headed penny that you find is not a legitimate error but rather just an altered coin. Two-headed pennies are novelty pieces sold to people who want to play pranks on others or win a bar bet or two.

While they aren’t real errors, they’re popular collectibles and sometimes sell for $1 or $2.


#5 – Discolored Pennies

Find a silver penny? Or maybe one that’s all splotchy? Think you’ve found a gold-plated penny?!

With the exception of the 1943 steel cent and the 1944 steel penny errors mentioned above, virtually all other pennies you find with weird colorations are caused by:

  • Someone who plated the coins with another metal
  • Removal of the copper plating from post-1981 copper-plated zinc cents
  • Environmental damage

Now, there are cases where a silver penny is actually created by the penny design having been mistakenly struck on a dime planchet. These rare errors are valuable and worth about $250 and up.

TIP: You can tell a penny on dime error apart from a damaged coin by weighing it. If the silver penny weighs between 2.10 grams and 2.7 grams, it could be a penny on dime wrong planchet off-metal error!

I like the Weigh Gram coin sale best.


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!

52 thoughts on “Penny Errors To Look For: The Ultimate Rare Error Pennies & Common Error Pennies List

  1. Joshua,

    first, thanks for all the great articles on here. Thanks to you I know how to look for wide and narrow AM errors, etc.
    In the course of examining coins though, I feel like I see odd differences in Lincoln’s face on some pennies. The mouth and nose as well as the detail in hair texture sometimes seem quite different. I am going to try attaching a photo. I hope what I am seeing will be clear.
    On the left is a 1996 that somehow just looks like a totally different person than Abe. Then there is a 2000 that has a very short mouth, then the 2006 may have had what looked like a smile to me, but what seems more obvious is that the nose looks much bigger than the 2019 on the far right.
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

    1. Hi, D —

      Thank you so much for your kind words and feedback! They’re much appreciated!

      You’re correct in that there are minor differences in hair lines and other details over the years on long-running series such as Lincoln cents, first released in 1909. In your case, your coins seem to mostly be exhibiting differences caused more by wear patterns than any die differences, but if you look at a lot of Lincoln cents struck over periods of different decades you will find significant differences in the hair lines, shoulder details, beard, and overall boldness or flatness of the design. These are well documented by Lincoln cent experts and are worth studying.

      Thank you for reaching out!

  2. Hello Josh, I was just got back from Arizona and purchased penny rolls and found this oddly colored penny. A 1952 d gold penny .

    1. Hi, Lonnia —

      It’s hard to say in the absence of weight tests and seeing the coin in person what you have, but it’s quite possible your penny was plated in gold, a common post-Mint thing people do for “keepsake” coins that are special to them. By the way, if your coin is gold plated, it contains at most only 1 or 2 cents worth of the yellow metal.

      I hope this info is helpful,

  3. Great article, Josh! One reason I’ve heard for there being more cent errors compared to other denominations is that they’re struck in huge quantities and and at very high speeds. Those factors make it a lot easier for dies to crack, planchets to be misfed, etc.

    I’m not sure if it fits into this discussion, but the famous 1922 “plain” cent might be an interesting addition to the list.

    The story of course is that some 1922 cents don’t show a mint mark even though all were struck at the Denver mint and should carry a “D” below the date. It’s thought that a bit of grease or other crud got stuck on a die and filled the little recess that should have formed the “D”. Depending on how worn it is, a 1922 plain cent could retail for anywhere between $450 and $1500!

    There’s also a less-valuable variety with a weak mint mark. This may also have been caused by some dirt in the “D”, but not enough to completely fill the recess.

    As always you need to be careful about any 1922 plain cent you encounter. A lot of fakes have been created by removing the mint mark from a regular 1922-D coin or altering a different-date Philadelphia cent.

    1. Hi, Hammond!

      Thank you for the kind feedback on the story and also the thoughts on the various 1922 varieties. There are certainly a number of varieties that could be added here and, indeed, the long-running Lincoln cent series certainly has the others beaten in terms of the overall number. I think the only other series that even comes anywhere close are the Morgan dollars, which as you know have literally thousands of VAMs notes across the series. But Lincoln cents are more numerous and definitely more accessible to the typical collector. One could spend a collecting lifetime of 100 years acquiring Lincoln cent varieties and errors and still never find them all!


  4. Thank you for all the valuable info.

    It took me a while to figure this all out, but now I am getting the facts separated from all the hyper- info on the web.

    With all this here is an error on a 1981 that I really don’t know if its common or rare because there’s no info about it.

    I see that you mentioned post mint damage but on this coin there is no raw metal torn in the area of the bent 1 but i could be wrong .

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thank you



    2. Hi, Peter —

      Unfortunately the “1” is bent due to post-Mint damage. However, the coin is still worth at least two cents for its copper value.

      Thank you for reaching out,

      1. Thank you for answering so many questions because it seems there are many in the coin world with a lot of beginners like me.

      2. Here is another one I found could this be the real deal? 1988 D





        1. Hi, Peter —

          Based on what I’m seeing in these images it appears the coin has machine doubling, caused most likely by the coin shifting upon strike.

          Best wishes,


    1. What could you tell me about these; they were my mothers and they were the only ones uncirculated in the collection?

    2. Hi, Kaitlin —

      I appreciate your reaching out; I was a little excited when I saw the 1982-D small date weigh in at 2.98 grams, indicative of a possible rare bronze planchet. But then I realized that all of the weights are about 2-3 tenths of a gram heavier than standard and thus am wondering if either the scale is off by a small bit or the cellophane packaging is throwing off the weight. Unfortunately, if the weights aren’t quite right then nothing here is rare, but all the coins are in uncirculated condition. I’d put the value of the coins I see here in the $3-5 range.

      All my best wishes,

  6. Hello! First, let me say, I have never collected coins before and find that it is so much more confusing than I ever thought. So, that being said, I inherited a collection of coins and most of them are pennies. Some of them are single packaged with writing on it, the rest in clear rolls, and all of it was stored in a small box and an upright plastic container (not a well organized collection). There is one penny that has me completely intrigued and stumped, I have sent out photos and emails to various collection places and also taken it to a gold & silver, coins & collectibles dealer….. but so far everyone is unsure or stumped like me and they all say to have it authenticated. It is a 1942 Lincoln Wheat Penny and Lincoln’s face is extended or looks like 2 faces. The dealer said the weight of the penny is correct, but he hadn’t seen anything like it. Just curious what your thoughts may be on it, thank you.

    1. Sorry, Josh. I just realized I have posted on here before about the 1942 penny, oops, I guess I’m still on the hunt for answers. But I didn’t post an image last time of the collection, what would you suggest I do for the rest of it? Most of them seem to be in mint condition 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with some other years thrown in, too.

      1. Hi Erin,

        It’s the classic collector’s lament! The answer depends on your long-term collecting goals…

        Do you plan to keep these pennies for a collection? Or would you rather trade them using the value to buy other coins or other things outside the hobby altogether? As for the individual merits of the coins you mentioned, it’s quite possible that a few offer varieties or especially nice specimens worth way more than typical uncirculated specimens.

        Are these pieces you wish to try identifying? It could be a laborious task but might pay off if you’re lucky.

        Here’s a list of more valuable varieties you might encounter with these coins:

        All my best,

    2. Hi, Erin —

      As far as I can tell the coin appears to be excessively worn with only a few deep lines visible as details; those rather vertical recesses along the back of Lincoln’s body and head don’t demarcate the edge of another impression of Lincoln but are in fact normal when seen with this much wear.

      Still it’s a neat old coin, especially as 1942 Lincoln wheat cents are long obsolete anyway!

      Best wishes,

  7. Hi Joshua,
    I found this coin in my coin jar and is it worth anything? Here are some photos of it and notice the silver look and it looks rusted. Tried to clean with toothpaste.

    1. Hi, Dylan —

      This is a post-1981 zinc-based Lincoln Memorial cent that has been heavily corroded, exposing its silvery-colored zinc inner core. This piece is worth face value.

      Best wishes,

  8. How about this coin Josh?? s

    1. Hi, Rolly —

      The 1965 quarter on the right has a darkish appearance thanks to dirt and other foreign matter accumulated either through normal circulation or intentional antiquing post mint. It is worth face value.

      Best wishes,

  9. Hello Josh, I’m new to coin collecting..I join DISQUS because I’m confused about coins value and what’s it’s worth I’ll post up picture for u to check them out …if it’s the coin the collecting r maybe sales it to the collector

  10. Hi Josh, I am not sure here I see double D, is that it? or is this another kind of error or …. And have a great day!

    1. Hi, Gold Eagle —

      It looks more like a crater or a worn down bubble or blob (solder?) to me; if it’s a crater it was possibly caused by puncture-type post-mint damage. It couldn’t be a repunched mintmark because that second aberration is a different shape and much smaller than the “D” mintmark…

      Best wishes,

      1. Got it and I am taking advantage of this one post my comp is crashing on me, it goes off whenever it pleases grrrrrrrrrr!!! getting worse, but I do want you to know I really appreciate all your help and i wish to fi nd a site as cool as this one for stamps, and find more cool people like you. So I have this last one, can you please tell me what you see here? They are the same but one is my B uuuuutiful orange camera the other is the comp, And thank you again for every thing. *Best wishes*

        1. Hi, Gold Eagle —

          I’m not really sure what you’re wanting me to look at… Hmmm… Is it the gouge above the “P” mintmark? Or is it something about the “P” mintmark? The gouge is post-mint damage… The “P” mintmark looks worn and perhaps slightly damaged but otherwise normal.

          I appreciate your kind words and am happy to help out… My prime goal as always is to educate so that you’ll be able to figure out this stuff on your own 🙂 As they say, give a person a fish and they eat for a day, but teach them how to fish and they eat for a lifetime. If I can help any further please let me know!

          Best wishes,

  11. Hi there , My name is Rafique, i have 5 1972 coins that are gold plated. i pulled them out from a paper weight. the thing is while taking them out i damaged one coin and could see that the metal looked very shinny, looked is non magnetic, i think that they are made from Aluminium.will you have a look and advise me if they are real or not. its weights 3,10 grams , has the VDB on obverse. i no that Alu penny’s were made in 1974, let me no what you think. thank you

    1. Hi, Rafique —

      It’s hard to tell with the lighting exactly what color that is, but if it weighs 3.10 grams, that’s correct for a bronze penny. The aluminum cents of 1974 weigh just less than a gram, so that’s a significant difference in weight. The zinc-plated steel cents of 1943 also weighed less — about 2.7 grams. Perhaps you can submit your coins to a professional numismatist who can look at them in-hand and evaluate?

      Best wishes,

      1. morning Josh, much appreciated for your reply and your response time. i think you right , i will try and send it one of them.thank you again, oh , by the way ..Great Article. good day

  12. hi sorry its my first time i never post any pictures for that 1972 lincoln cent


    1. Hi, Rachel —

      I’m afraid these are weakly struck specimens representing a late die state; they don’t really have any extra value due to the partially missing letters.

      Thanks for reaching out,

  14. Here’s a weird one. The raised areas on the penny appear to the same copper as the rest of the penny and not some other material. The obverse of the coin is normal. It weighs 3.09 g.

    1. Hi, Jerry —

      The ripples may be old adhesive. Try safely soaking the coin in acetone for a few minutes and see if the adhesive (?) — and ripples — disappear.

      Best wishes,

  15. Hi Joshua
    I was wondering if this is possibly a Grease filled error and if so what would be the approximate value of it

  16. Hi Joshua,
    I have this penny I was wondering if it’s a Grease filled error and if so the value thank you

    1. Hi, Chris Jessica —

      In the photos it actually appears like it *may* be a die trial strike — both sides show similar weakness. But it would really take an in-hand evaluation to make a call like that. My best suggestion is to send these photos and possibly the coin to the experts at CONECA ( to make a determination between a die trial strike or plain old wear.

      Fingers crossed!

  17. Hi Joshua,

    I came across this 1989 D penny in my mother’s things. It is slightly larger than other pennies. Could you tell me what it is? (I have place another penny beside it for a size comparison). Thank you!

    1. Hi, BJ —

      I have a piece just like this and it’s made from pewter… Though not an authentic coin it’s a neat novelty!

      Best wishes,

  18. Hi Josh, I’m confused by the wording in this 1943 steel penny that I got in lot in an auction. “Struck in 2 weights, 41.5 grams, 2.23.43 – May 43, and May 43 42.5 grams” Never heard about this and I can’t find any reference. What can you tell me? Thanks

    1. Hi, Richard —

      Walter Breen goes into some detail on this topic in his seminal 1988 tome “Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins.” In short, the Philadelphia Mint ordered steel blanks in two weights (41.5 and 42.5 grains – 2.69 and 2.75 grams) that were also used for striking foreign coins (the U.S. Mint also made foreign coins under contract for some nations). The striking of 1943 steel cents using either of these two blanks came down to “lax” quality control at the U.S. Mint (per Breen). There is currently no value difference or major interest in pursuing 1943 steel cents of either weight standards. Hope this helps!


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