While most pennies are worth a cent, some are worth thousands or even millions of dollars. This list of the most valuable pennies will help you figure out which collectible coins to hang on to when sorting through your change bucket.
The value of a coin is determined by its rarity, condition, and the demand for it. These factors often change in response to market conditions.
Birch Cent of 1792
Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Birch Cent of 1792, which features a portrait of Lady Liberty with flowing hair and the motto “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry,” and George Washington saw it first-hand. The US Mint established large-scale runs in 1792 after minting only a small number of prototype coins. Known for its unique design, the Birch Cent is among the most popular of the early American coins and one of the most valuable pennies in the world. Frank Van Valen, a leading numismatist in the United States, said the Birch Cent is “arguably one of the most important early coins.”
On the obverse of this coin is a portrait of Lady Liberty with a flowing hairstyle and the phrase “LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY.” The reverse of the Birch Cent shows a wreath containing a denomination of ONE CENT. It also features the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the fraction 1/100 below it.
Collectors and experts consider the Birch Cent, in exceptional condition, as one of the finest examples to cross the auction block. Graders have assigned it a Mint State 65 red and brown CAC. Lipton, a numismatic expert, said he expects Stack’s Bowers Galleries to sell this particular coin for more than $1 million later this year. As written by the expert, the price should reflect the beauty and rarity of the coin.
The rarest variety of the patterns minted in 1792 is the Birch Cent, which is one of only a few. People often refer to these coins as Pattern Cents and find them quite fascinating. These coins are essential to any numismatic collection and represent a unique period in American history.
Strawberry Leaf Cent of 1793
The 1793 Flowing Hair Large Cent (Strawberry Leaf Variety) is a very rare coin, and it is worth a substantial amount of money. It is estimated to be worth $758,927 in average condition and more than $1,000,000 if it is in higher condition. This variety was a new issue coin in 1793, and it is an interesting piece to have as part of your collectible coins. The obverse design of this coin is very similar to the other Wreath cents, but it has a different plant sprig attached to the date. This is what sets this coin apart from the other Wreath cents with a simple three-leaved sprig. Specialists have rated the value of this variety as very high. This is because the highest-graded Strawberry Leaf Cent is currently known and is a very rare coin.
Moreover, this is the only Strawberry Leaf coin that has all of the date digits legible. This makes it the easiest to compare the digits with other Strawberry Leaf coins and potentially with other 1793 Wreath varieties.
It is a fairly well-preserved and valuable penny with smooth, even, normal, and honest wear. It has just a few contact marks, and some rims are scuffed. A nice-looking coin that is an excellent addition to any collection of valuable pennies. The Strawberry Leaf Cent is the most famous and sought-after variety of 1793, and collectors have cherished it since the 19th century.
1793 Liberty Cap Cent
The 1793 Liberty Cap Cent is one of the world’s most popular and sought-after coins. It represents the first copper coin minted in the United States and features a design that pays tribute to Lady Liberty. The coin’s obverse features Miss Liberty, depicted in stunning detail, showing her bow-tied hair blown in the wind. Beneath her, the year of minting is inscribed.
On the reverse of the Liberty Cap Cent is a wreath, reminiscent of the wreath seen on earlier Liberty Cap half cents. This design was the last of its kind for this denomination. The condition is the most important consideration when looking for valuable pennies, such as the 1793 Liberty Cap Cent. While these coins are quite common, they will show signs of aging, including chipping and smoothing, which can dramatically affect their value.
If you’re looking for the highest possible price, look for a coin that a professional grading service has graded. Those coins will be in the best condition and will sell for top prices in the market. Another important aspect of the condition of a 1793 Liberty Cap Cent is strike sharpness. Those coins with better hair details and dentils at the border will be worth more than those with a poor strike. Cents of these types are rare and hold immense value, particularly when professionally graded and in excellent condition. Many numismatists consider them the most valuable penny ever struck in the United States.
1864 Wartime Cent
The 1864 Wartime Cent is a rare coin that can be extremely valuable to collectors. It was a time of war when the country minted it, and many people were doing their part to help support the troops.
The obverse of this coin features a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, and the reverse shows the Lincoln Memorial building in Washington, DC. Collectors highly seek these coins, and they can be worth thousands of dollars if you’re lucky enough to find one.
In 1864, the United States Mint introduced a bronze cent to replace the copper-nickel Indian Head Cent that had been circulating since 1860. James B. Longacre designed this new coin, which was a major redesign. The new design showcased a much slimmer appearance in contrast to the copper-nickel Indian Head cent and incorporated a different alloy. They produced the coins continuously until 1873, when they discontinued their production.
Another unique feature of this design is the word “IN GOD WE TRUST” that appears in the middle of the obverse. It wasn’t a common motto on other coins; this was the first time it appeared on a penny. However, it was a significant change to the design and has become an integral part of the coin’s history. The phrase has adorned all subsequent designs of the Indian head cent, the seated Liberty quarter, and the seated Liberty half dollar.
During the Civil War, there was a shortage of metal supplies, so the Mint began striking pennies in bronze. This material was easier to strike and a less expensive option for the Mint. The coin surpasses the value of the copper-nickel Indian Head cent, although it remains relatively low in comparison to other coins.
1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent
If you’re a coin collector, you’ve probably heard about the incredibly rare 1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent. This coin is a major rarity that’s been selling for six figures and sparking a bidding war on eBay. The elusive variety has only three known examples. The PCGS Set Registry houses two of them, while Stewart Blay possesses one.
The coin’s obverse features a strong Class I CW spread that rivals the spread seen in the 1955 and 1972 doubled die obverse cents. It also includes severe doubling on the words LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST and a minor doubling of the date digits. In addition to a strong obverse, the coin’s reverse is surprisingly smooth. It has a light rose luster and a bit of haziness around the letter O in ONE.
Another reason to look for valuable pennies like this rare penny is that it’s certified in mint state 65 RD by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Collectors generally consider this grade as the highest quality for a coin since it represents a coin in Mint fresh condition with no visible marks or problems. The Stewart Blay collection includes this particular example, which PCGS graded as MS-65 RD. The existence of only three obverse examples makes this valuable penny extremely rare and enables it to command a six-figure price when sold.