Valuable Pennies in Circulation
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Valuable Pennies in Circulation

Some of the rare pennies that can be found in pocket change.

Valuable pennies can still be found in circulation. A coin does not have to be old to be worth more than face value. In fact some pennies that have been minted since the year 2000 are worth at least $10. They are not common but they are out there. The key to finding these hidden gems is knowledge and patience. A little luck does not hurt either.

A jewelers loop in 17X power should be used to check each penny. A jewelers loop is a compact powerful magnifying glass. They can be bought at any hobby shop or through a coin dealer. The difference between a common coin and a valuable one is often minor. Something as small as a doubled eye-lash could easily bring a pennies value up to $10. These tiny differences cannot be seen with the naked eye.

The pennies dated 2000, 1999, 1998, 1992 and 1992-D have both type 1 and type 2 reverses. The type 2 reverse is the valuable one. During these years the mint made a mistake by producing some pennies with a proof style reverse. The difference is most notable with the spacing of the AM in AMERICA. For the pennies dated 1998 - 2000 the valuable coins have the A M separated. The rare varieties for the year 1992 has the AM touching at the bottom. The reverse die was changed in 1993 but apparently at least one 1993 die was used in 1992 at both the Philadelphia and Denver mints. The Rare 1992 coins are extremely valuable. One of these will easily fetch $1000 at an auction. The 2000 Ty2 is worth $10 and up depending on the grade. The 1998 Ty2 will sell for at least $15 in circulated grades. The 1999 Ty2 is the rarest of these 3 years. Even in the worst condition it will sell for $30. The better ones can be sold for upwards of $500.

Some 1985-D, 1997 and 1998 pennies were struck with a brass plating. A normal penny has a copper plating. The brass pennies in uncirculated condition are easy to spot due to their color. These will sell for $1 circulated. Shiny uncirculated examples can be found for $30 or more.

Doubled dies are the most famous kind of coin error. Most of these are extremely minor. Some years have 20 or more different doubled dies. Only strong double dies that are easy to spot will sell for a large premium. A good example of minor doubled dies are the ones found on the reverse of 2009 pennies. On a lot of them the only evidence of doubling can be found on Lincolns fingers or thumb. These might be fun to find but will only sell for a dollar or two. That said there are several doubled dies that command a respectable premium.

The 1997 Doubled Ear will sell for over $10. This error has doubling around Lincolns ear. The earlobe is clearly doubles underneath. There is also some hair around the ear that has two images. Another doubled die from the '90s that you should keep an eye out for is the 1995 doubled obverse. The word LIBERTY is clearly doubled. IN GOD also has some doubling. This is a $25 coin in any grade.

In the '80s there are two popular double dies. The 1984 has a doubled ear. The second ear is completely separated. It is easily a $50 coin. The other popular doubled die is the 1983 Doubled reverse. All of the letters on the reverse are clearly separated. This one is easy to see with the naked eye. It will sell for more than $50. The '80s have several others that sell for a few dollars. These include a 1984 with the date and LIBERTY, 1982 with IN GOD WE TRUST, and 1980 with the date and LIBERTY.

The granddaddy of all modern penny varieties and errors is the 1972 doubled die obverse. There are several different ones to look for. The famous one has strongly doubled letters and date. LIBERTY and the date has extreme separation. The best  one will sell for more than $100. The lesser ones will go for anywhere from $1 to $15 in circulated grades.

Every penny should be looked at. Common areas to examine include all of the letters, numbers and the center of the coin. You may have to look at thousands of pennies to find that one good one but the payoff could be worth the effort.

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Comments (4)

Very interesting article. Although I'm Canadian, and hence don't see a lot of US coins, this is very valuable info (I'll pass it along to my family members who have migrated South :)). Thanks!

Just goes to show, pennies can turn into dollars with an observant eye. Great write.

I bought some mis-priced pennies that are offset, leaving about 50% of the surface planchet un-stamped on both sides. The pennies were in a pet shop/card shop and marked some ridiculously low price I forgot how little, but I bought 6 or 7 of these, knowing that they were priced wrong. I came back a few days later to buy more but they had 'corrected' the price (it doubled at least.)

Robert Lawton

i have found a rare 1993 misprint . at frist i thaught it was a double die . but this is very difrent. the coin looks to have been stamped twice and something got between the stamp and the face of the coin it has a 3/8 size ring stamped into the coin face . the 1993 are in sets of two and the 19 is see abley high then the 93 , the same is true of the letters in the word libertythe ib are above the other letters if you line them in line ..the coin has silver color metal showing where the inner stamp made the ring pressed into the coin ..i dont even know what to call this mis - print double die the coin looks thenner then the standard pennythe lettering on the back looks like it has been stamped twice in prefect alinement .. no see able double die .but you can clearly see this coin has been stamped some how this way at the mint ,it has a dever D . this maybe a exstreamly rare 1993 D