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People love rare pennies — it seems most of the questions I get here at The Fun Times Guide has something to do with old pennies that people found in their pocket change.
Of course, everyone wants to know if they’re lucky enough to have found some rare pennies worth money!
For example, lots of readers want to know what their old wheat pennies are worth and what the most valuable pennies are.
You’ll be happy to know there are some really valuable pennies worth $1,000 that you can find in your loose change today.
I’m not kidding about those penny values… There really are rare pennies, old pennies, error pennies, and doubled die pennies worth money in circulation today!
I’m going to share with you what those pennies are and how much each one is worth.
Oh, and by the way, I’m actively looking for these valuable pennies, too. So I’m totally in this game with you and hope somebody reading this post (like you!) finds one of these rare coins.
#1 – 1943 Copper Penny
If you’ve read many of my coin posts, you’ll know I’ve written pretty extensively about the 1943 penny.
Why? Because the 1943 copper penny (or, more technically, 1943 bronze penny) is one of the most popular, most valuable pennies around.
There’s a lot of confusion about 1943 copper pennies, though. For one, a lot of folks seem to think it’s the 1943 steel penny that is the rare and valuable penny. Unfortunately, 1943 steel pennies are extremely common — more than 1 billion were made and there are plenty of survivors today.
The rare 1943 penny is the copper version — which was accidentally made when a couple dozen or so copper planchets (prepared coin blanks) leftover from the 1942 pennies were minted.
So far, there have been about 40 of these rare 1943 copper pennies. But many have turned up in pocket change over the years, which means there may be more out there.
Will you find the next 1943 copper penny? I hope so… The value of 1943 copper wheat pennies ranges from about $85,000 and up!
#2 – 1944 Steel Penny
When the United States Mint returned to making copper pennies in 1944, a few steel planchets from 1943 somehow ended up in the mix and were stamped — and voila, a couple dozen or so 1944 steel cents were accidentally made!
Just as there is some confusion among some on whether it is the 1943 steel pennies or 1943 copper pennies that are rare, the same is the case with the 1944 pennies. Some coin collectors think 1944 copper pennies are scarce, when it’s actually the 1944 steel penny that’s rare and valuable.
What’s really cool is that there are people who have found 1944 steel pennies in their spare change — and they struck it rich! A 1944 steel penny is usually worth about $75,000 or more.
#3 – 1955 Doubled Die Penny
Lots of people have submitted photos of their 1955 pennies wanting to know if their 1955 penny is a 1955 double die penny and what 1955 double die pennies are worth.
Longtime readers of this blog will notice the questions coming in are often about double die pennies.
Of course, there is no such thing as a double die penny. That’s because the error involves a doubled die. That is, part or all of the design imprinted on the die was doubled. That means every coin a doubled die strikes will show some doubling of the design.
But enough on the minting lessons for now. You’re probably here to find out how much a 1955 doubled die penny is worth and how you can find one in pocket change!
It’s thought that maybe 20,000 or so 1955 doubled die wheat pennies were made. While it’s conventional wisdom to think that virtually all were found (sucked out of circulation) many years ago, there are still some believed to be floating around out there.
The 1955 doubled die penny only occurs with the 1955 Philadelphia (no mintmark). If you see a “D” (Denver) or “S” (San Francisco) mintmark under the date, then your 1955 penny certainly is NOT the famous 1955 doubled die — though it’s possible you may have a lesser-known type of 1955 doubled die penny.
Oh, and there is also a 1955 penny with machine doubling (not really an error or variety) that is widely referred to as the so-called 1955 Poor Man’s Doubled Die penny. This error penny actually exhibits a form of worn die damage and is neither rare nor valuable.
You’ll know a real 1955 doubled die penny when you see it — there is very visible doubling in the date and inscriptions on the obverse (“heads side”) of the coin.
And now, to answer your question about these rare pennies worth money… 1955 doubled die pennies are generally worth about $1,000 or more.
#4 – 1969-S Doubled Die Penny
The 1969-S doubled die penny is among the most valuable Lincoln Memorial pennies, which were minted from 1959 through 2008.
The 1969-S doubled die penny value is about the highest of any Lincoln Memorial cent known to collectors at this time: 1969-S doubled die pennies are worth about $25,000 and up!
How sensational, too, that collectors are finding 1969-S doubled die pennies in circulation. It seems that more are coming to light as the years pass — which means there’s a possibility you may find one in your spare change, too.
You’ll definitely notice the doubling on a 1969-S doubled die penny — it really isn’t that hard to spot. You’ll see the doubling in the date and especially in the inscriptions on the obverse (“heads side”) of the coin.
#5 – 1982-D Small Date Copper Pennies
This is one of the more recent discoveries among rare pennies.
The 1982-D copper small date penny is considered a transitional error — which occurred during the year when the United States government was switching the composition of the traditionally copper penny to virtually all zinc.
If you’re looking for a 1982-D copper small date penny, it’s important to recognize the differences in weight between the copper and zinc pennies — using a coin scale:
- A copper penny weighs around 3.11 grams.
- Copper-plated zinc pennies weighs 2.5 grams.
You can weigh your 1982 pennies to see which you have, or do the drop test:
- Zinc pennies click when they’re dropped and hit a hard surface, such as a table.
- Copper pennies make a small ringing sound upon impact.
There’s also the difference between the large date and small date:
- On the 1982 small date penny, the tops of the 4 digits in the coin’s date (“1,” “9,” “8,” and “2”) appear to be on the same plane.
- With 1982 large date pennies, the “9” and “8” protrude above the visible plane lining up at the tops of the “1” and “2.”
While the 1982-D small-date bronze penny (which was first found in circulation in 2016) is currently thought to be an extremely rare coin, it’s possible there are more out there.
Hopefully you find one. The first 1982-D copper small-date penny sold for nearly $19,000! Certainly other 1982-D copper small-date pennies are worth similar amounts and will bring in big bucks for those who find them.
#6 – 1983-D Copper Penny
While all 1983 pennies were supposed to be made from copper-plated zinc, there were apparently some that were made from the pre-1982 copper composition.
It’s assumed that a few of the copper planchets, which were last officially used for making business-strike pennies in 1982, were left behind and accidentally struck in 1983 at the Denver Mint. There aren’t many 1983-D copper pennies.
These rare copper pennies are worth a pretty penny, too. The 1983 copper penny value is currently right around $15,000! And, yes, these rare coins are being found in pocket change.
#7 – 1989-D Bronze Penny
Amazingly, 7 years after the last official business-strike copper pennies were made, some 1989 pennies were also made from copper.
As with many of the zinc-era copper error pennies, the 1989-D bronze penny was recently discovered, and there may be more of them out there.
Like with the other copper error pennies, the easiest way to know if you have the 1989-D copper penny is to weigh it. If your 1989 penny weighs around 3.11 grams, then you’ve probably got the rare copper penny.
The value of the 1989 error pennies is something to write home about, too — if you happen to find one of these rare pennies in your pocket change: 1989-D copper pennies are worth $3,000 or so!
#8 – 1992 Close AM Penny
Here’s a cool error variety: the 1992-D Close AM penny!
What’s the “AM” on the Lincoln penny? It refers to the “A” and “M” in “AMERICA” on the reverse (“tails side”) of the 1992 penny.
On the rare 1992-D Close AM penny, the bases of the “A” and “M” appear to be virtually touching one another.
This rare error variety penny came about when a reverse die intended for striking 1993 proof pennies was accidentally used to produce some 1992 pennies intended for circulation.
It’s a strange error coin that’s worth a lot of money. In the highest grades, 1992-D Close AM pennies are worth more than $20,000!
Like all of the other rare pennies mentioned in this article, 1992-D Close AM pennies have been found in circulation.
So, start searching though your loose change, penny jars, rolls of pennies, and boxes of pennies! You may already have some of these rare pennies or other valuable coins sitting around somewhere just waiting to be found.
Here’s a video I made showing lots of rare pennies… and how much they’re worth today:
More Info About Rare Pennies
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you find rare pennies worth money in circulation:
- The Story Behind The Rare 1909 VDB Pennies
- What’s The Rare 1914-D Penny Worth?
- What Are 1922 Pennies Worth?
- How Many Rare 1931 Pennies Were Made?
- See What Your 1990 Pennies Are Worth
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!
56 thoughts on “Rare Pennies Worth Money: Here Are 8 Old Pennies You Could Find In Pocket Change Worth $1,000 To $85,000 Apiece!”
I have just found a 1982 d copper penny small date. I weighed it and it weighs 3.11 grams. Is it worth anything? I hear it’s worth around $19,000 is that true?
Hello, Mike —
Yes, the value of the 1982-D Small Date copper penny is correct. However, looking at the photos you sent me, I unfortunately see this is a 1982-D Large Date cent. Notice the “9” and “8” proturude above the relative height of the “1” and “2”? This piece is still worth 2 cents for its copper value, but I’m sorry to say it’s not the rare 1982 penny.
I hope you keep looking — others have found these rare pennies in pocket change, and there’s no reason you can’t, too, if luck is on your side and you keep checking your change!
May I see a photo of your coin, please? It’s the 1982-D Small Date copper cent that’s worth the thousands of dollars. If the tops of the numerals on the date are all riding along the same plane and the coin weighs about 3.1 grams — and it has a “D” mintmark, you should have the right coin, presuming its authentic!
Here’s more info: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1982-copper-penny-value/
1969 s https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89b06c72849d573d97134e7c6875f82941dca471207fbf0a28ca6f7a41991fdc.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64e0b4798b91d97803455d7f2db869a3212e1538bafcddbabaf6e15febc4d433.jpg
Hi, Kimberlee —
Here’s more info on 1969-S pennies and their values: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1969-penny-value/
Joshua, Re the 1990 No S proof cent: Is there any way one can tell the
diff between a penny released into circulation from Philadelphia and
one which had been part of a proof set but was “broken out” of the set
and now show signs of normal wear and tear of circulation?
Hi, Carl —
For learning more about the differences between the 1990 Philadelphia penny and 1990 no-S proof penny, you might find this article helpful…
The 1990 Penny: See What Your 1990 Pennies Are Worth, Including The Rare 1990 No S Penny: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1990-penny-value/
Thanks, Josh. I will check it out.
Thanks again for the article. I understand the difference between the proof coin and a circulated one. However, after 20+ years (just for example) of being in circulation, couldn’t a 1990 No-S show much of the usual “circulation wear” but still retain some of its proof luster? My 1990 penny does not look like many of my older circulated coins, thus my original question. Here are a couple of photos of my coin showing normal wear and tear but also some nice distinct areas which might or might not have been “proof” quality?? Thanks in advance.
Hi, Carl —
Even circulated proofs — and there are many of them out there, actually — still retain strike characteristics of the original proof, including surface or field quality (the latter referring to the “flat” areas of the coin). I’m glad you posted photos of your coin because I can tell this is a Philadelphia business strike by the rim shape and certain field markers, including the vertical (in this photo) striations seen a planchet that would have NOT been polished at the Mint for proof striking. Plus, the Lincoln bust is struck with a flattish strike, unlike the bolder bust as seen on 1990 proofs.
All best wishes,
Many thanks for the reply and information. It seems that I learn something every day regarding coins and the mint process (e.g., the striation characteristics of my coin). I appreciate your help … and all of the articles you’ve published.
You’re most welcome, and thank YOU so much for being a loyal reader… If there’s anything you want to learn about but don’t see an article about it here, please let us know and we will consider writing a post about it.
You’re welcome, Carl!
Hello: I have a 1911 penny, a 1937, 1940, 1941 and 1942. Are those worth something? How do I know?
Hi, Liz —
For starters, the 1937 and 1940 pennies are each worth about 3 to 5 cents in circulated condition. These links should help with the others:
1911 penny values: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1911-penny-value/
1941 penny values: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1941-penny-value/
1942 penny values: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1942-penny-value/
Hi Joshua! Thank you so much for the information, sir. Saludos from Puerto Rico. Wepaaaaaaaaaaaa!
You’re welcome, Liz!
i have a 1909 BIG penny with liberty on it and and a regular size liberty quarter 1983s are thee worth anything and do you know anything about vintage teas sets with 3d roses
Hi, Kathy –
While I unfortunately have no knowledge about vintage tea sets, I can help you with the coins.
The large 1909 penny is a replica piece that is commonly sold in gift and souvenir shops. They are neat novelties but have no numismatic value. The 1983-S Washington proof quarter is worth about $1.50.
please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, Kathy –
I’m afraid correspondence will need to take place here in the forum. Please feel free to post your coin questions/comments and coin photos here!
Hello Joshua , I need your help to guide me on this coin. It is an interesting 3.1 gm. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/66c064d1b2082161eb769ce4db0e78e2b391b441ad3265f6f64bdd34d4e742e2.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/343a7457da2e639a0380e80a6395c0b0ff4426802e325e82fb78164384a7fd68.png 1982 penny. It seems like there were missing parts of metal in many places on both sides. But not for the age of the coin neither for its use. Help me please.
Hi, Jair —
From what I can tell in the photos, this 1982 cent seems to have some moderate post-Mint damage, which explains the missing parts you describe. As this coin is bronze, it is still worth about double the face value for its metal content.
Hello Joshua, I think I have a triple die dime 2015, can you help me please. and a penny 2015 too. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/79b567d3e614dcdd70b6cb6f3b1f122a4441ec9f8db44e21c602032e3287955f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a9a77e5fe948c826bdc86c70453ac73a8ceb3e0f2ed0da4698c9e02a2abfc09c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0565baf14014ae69baac74390ff737d24b0d5e5568620ec417b7385a10a5067d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0dc8433e081d2e439f393f15dc182b1c84ec8c048656231700b23fb0030d17b5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cf2fc5392147577c734bb674dd6743cb11c5338616708d70bf5c60d6ebb28c28.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f343e6863062b5dd51d095939616a07ca874e15ff3ba0a166d9de382151f693c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dfd9685aa5be3ae2f5856d6cd5516d942d1ff3e66ea5554d42b581d45a5c6cec.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06b9fa4cf722d4dca02788bc81d067a2e87f0d3c56f8c81fcbd1508c4d3430c6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b46ff06da62fb8b8a1c5d7831912773a8282e2fcbdfec0cbab4094c0c16e2ae3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c3c5415ba00755eb0f8c3089d3934feaece138df0dd2d32ff7157ff7b9a921c1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52955f5ae4982781e10631ab91dea72afbdcb5f1b50901939bfa45b2c6ac09a0.jpg
These seem like they may have been very good finds. I recommend sending these images to variety expert John Wexler to see if he can confirm whether they are doubled dies, machine doubling, or a mix of both… Here’s his info: https://www.doubleddie.com
Thanks a lot Joshua
You’re welcome, Jair!
Hello Joshua, can you please help me with these 2015 dime and penny. thanks a lot. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/79b567d3e614dcdd70b6cb6f3b1f122a4441ec9f8db44e21c602032e3287955f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a9a77e5fe948c826bdc86c70453ac73a8ceb3e0f2ed0da4698c9e02a2abfc09c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0565baf14014ae69baac74390ff737d24b0d5e5568620ec417b7385a10a5067d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0dc8433e081d2e439f393f15dc182b1c84ec8c048656231700b23fb0030d17b5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cf2fc5392147577c734bb674dd6743cb11c5338616708d70bf5c60d6ebb28c28.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f343e6863062b5dd51d095939616a07ca874e15ff3ba0a166d9de382151f693c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dfd9685aa5be3ae2f5856d6cd5516d942d1ff3e66ea5554d42b581d45a5c6cec.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06b9fa4cf722d4dca02788bc81d067a2e87f0d3c56f8c81fcbd1508c4d3430c6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c3c5415ba00755eb0f8c3089d3934feaece138df0dd2d32ff7157ff7b9a921c1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52955f5ae4982781e10631ab91dea72afbdcb5f1b50901939bfa45b2c6ac09a0.jpg
I have five cents 1996d and one Dime 1995 and one cent 2001 how much cash their can worth
Hi, Kenneth —
If you found these coins in pocket change, they have wear, and don’t exhibit any errors or varieties, they’re worth face value.
Thank you Joshua what next
Hi, Kenneth —
If you’re looking for coins worth more than face value, you might want to check out this list of valuable coins you can find in pocket change: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/us-coins/
Hello Joshua help me to sell my old coins
Hi, Kenneth —
Here are some links to help you figure out how much some of your coins may be worth and where to find goof coin dealers…
US coin values: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/us-coins/
How to find a good coin dealer: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/coin_dealer/
A directory of coin dealers around the US: https://www.greysheet.com/DealerDirectory
If you need more help, please let me know!
I have a 1957 D wheat penny that seems to have been miss printed with plenty of errors on it. Is it worth anything? I also have a 1919 S wheat penny and a wheat penny that looks faded with 192something on it cause the last number is faded. I also have a wheat penny that seems to be mixed steal and copper 1946 D. I also have a dark colored on from1946 no stamp. I also have another miss printed from1944 S. I have many more with later dates and would like to know if any are worth the effort to keep them. I know wheat pennies have been ruled obsolete. I don’t really know what that means but am willing to learn.
Hi, Brenda —
I’d love to help further, but I’ll need to please see clear photos of the coins you’re asking about to give a good opinion.
As for obsolete, that simply means they’re no longer being made or in widespread use in circulation. This link on old pennies worth holding aside may be helpful: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/valuable-pennies/
Thank you for reaching out!
This is the best I can do I hope they come out ok. They look kind of fuzzy. Please reply asap. Sending the one that is a miss stamp. Thanks
Brenda Rodriguez https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef742040eea7243f56642e405f7e94135a9ad62530ae310fed7ca1cec5e6912d.jpg
Hi, Brenda —
Thank you for submitting the photos; the 1957-D cent actually has some damage on it, and it looks like it may have once been locked into a jewelry mount. Based on what I see from the pan image, it looks like the other Lincoln cents exhibit various levels of wear and post-mint damage. But the image is fuzzy upon zooming in, so if there are any doubled dies there I can’t see them here. If you want to resubmit clearer images of each coin as you did with the 1957-D cent please feel free to.
I have been collecting wheat pennies for years and since they are now obsolete I would like to find out what they are worth.
Im sorry if this post is long gone. I started collecting a while ago and always love to see other collectors! Josh, i was wondering if you would take a look at my coin.. I think i have a 1982 D copper small date penny. I would like your expert opinion if I should send it in. Thank you for all that you do and taking the time out of your schedule to help other collectors like all of us that have posted. So really thank you. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f57fa70d21f3f321c3c99d55db67c391be6b3661c80d23e1a862b6309169a83a.jpg
Hi, Mason —
I appreciate your kind comments and reaching out… I wish I could have good news for you, but I’m afraid the 1982-D Lincoln cent shown here is a common large date. The 1982-D Small Date shows a curvier “2” and the tops of all the numerals in the date along the same invisible line.
I wish you the best in finding a 1982-D Small Date or other rare coins!
Thank you for your help! Good luck to you!
You’re welcome, Mason! Good luck to you, too!
I have a TON of wheat pennies from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I am wondering if there is a place that I can go to and have them inspected to see if they are worth anything. I started collected them for their copper value, but since you can’t melt them down, that’s useless at this point. However, if I have any of value, I would love to sell them. I live in Worcester, MA. Any assistance you can provide would be wonderful!
Hi, Teresa —
Here’s a more thorough breakdown on the valuable Lincoln cents (including those that aren’t super rare but worth more than a buck or so apiece): https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/valuable-pennies/
As for finding dealers in the Worcester area, I suggest checking out a few links below. The first one is general info on how to find a good coin dealer, and the other two are searchable databases of coin dealers. I hope these help you find a great dealer in the Worcester area!
Finding a good coin dealer: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/coin_dealer/
Coin Dealer Newsletter coin dealer directory: https://www.greysheet.com/DealerDirectory
Professional Numismatists Guild directory: https://png.memberclicks.net/find-a-png-dealer
I hope this info helps!
Josh I need your attention pls
Hi, Earnest —
I just responded below! I hope my answer is useful.
In the future, please allow between 24-48 hours for my responses, as I go through all responses on a first-come, first-served basis on here. I promise, barring any unusual matters, I will respond! 🙂
I look forward to helping again,
Great! Thank you for your help! I look forward to seeing what my final potential value can be with all these coins! LOL
I’m glad I could help! Wishing you well with your coins!
I’m happy to meet an expert like you on here and its my great pleasure being on this site and wish all users on this site a very good luck…
Josh I need your help on the type of coin I have and I actually want to know if it worth anything, i have the 1946 pure silver quarter, please does this worth anything?
Thank you for your kind words and for reaching out. A 1946 Washington quarter is made from a 90% silver composition; unfortunately, there is no “pure” (100%”) silver quarter from that period. Assuming you have a 1946 Washington quarter with its normal 90% silver composition and it has average circulation wear, it’s worth about $3.50 to $4.
I hope this info is helpful!
Joshua I’m thinking I have found a 1982 d small date penny how can I find out for sure if it is? I have placed it beside 2 other 1982 d and the “82” in the date is smaller by comparison….please help!!!
I’m also curious about the price of an 1897 Indian head penny
Hi, Kiefer —
An 1897 Indian Head penny in well-worn condition is worth about $1 to $3.
Hi, Kiefer —
A small date will show all the numbers aligned at the top along an imaginary plane. If the “9” and “8” seem bubbly and appear to extend higher than the “1” and “2” it is NOT a small date. The shape of the “2” is also different between the large and small dates. Here’s more information on how to determine a large date from a small date: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/1982-copper-penny-value/
If you want to post one or two clear photos of, say, two or three 1982-D pennies that you’ve found I’ll happily identify those few coins here on the forum to help get you started.