One of the great things about collecting pennies, and coins in general, is that they tend to last a long time. A penny minted at the turn of the 20th century doesn’t look that much different from a coin minted in 2013. The next time you get change back from the Twix you just bought you could end up with an antique coin worth thousands of dollars (or Twix)!
Here are the most valuable pennies:
1. 1943 Copper Penny
This penny was mistakenly produced using copper when all other pennies that year were made with zinc coated steel. Like every other organization during World War II, the US mint had to make changes to their normal practices to support the war effort. This included using steel for the 1943 penny because copper was in great shortage and needed for bullet and artillery shell casings. Most people who come across the silver colored pennies think they’ve found a great rarity but unfortunately that’s not the case. A mint condition 1943 penny is worth about $.50. However, the mint did mistakenly produce a few copper 1943 pennies which are much more highly valued. A 1943 copper penny sold for $1.7 million at auction in 2010.
2. 1944 Steel Wheat Penny
This penny is rare for the exact opposite reason the 1943 copper penny is rare. By 1944 the mint has resumed producing pennies using copper instead of steel. However, a few pennies were mistakenly minted using steel and are now considered extremely valuable. A 1944 steel wheat penny can be worth as much as $100 thousand. Interesting note, pennies with wheat on one side are known as wheat pennies. It has nothing to do with the color of the penny.
3. 1914 VDB D Wheat Penny
The 1914 penny was designed by Victor David Brenner, hence the VDB in the title. On the head side, under the date is a “D” which identifies where the coin was produced, which was Denver. This is the longest serving penny design having been minted from 1909 through 1958 with no major changes. In mint condition this coin can fetch over $4 thousand.
4. 1909 VDB S Wheat Penny
1909 was the first year of Victor David Brenner’s penny design. Nte the difference between the 1909 penny and the 1914 penny is that VDB is stamped on the edge of the penny on the tail side of the coin. This coin created a little controversy after it was minted because of the prominence of the VDB initials. It was rare at the time for a coins designer to have their initials so prominently displayed. The mint removed the initials from next years coin but eventually restored them 10 years later in a more discreet location above Lincoln’s shoulder.
On the head side, under the date is an “S” which identifies where the coin was produced, which was San Francisco. Ove 28 million 1909 pennies were produced in Philadelphia while less than half a million were minted in San Francisco, which is what makes this coin valuable. A mint condition coin can sell for as much as $1,000. This penny is worth approximately $2,500.
5. 1923 Wheat Penny
Sensing a theme? This coin was also designed by Victor David Brenner. There’s nothing remarkable about this coin other than that good condition coins from this year are rare. A good condition 1923 wheat penny can fetch as much as $750.
So there it it, the top five most valuable pennies. Have you started looking through your coin jar yet for rare pennies?!?
Check out a list of the 10 most valuable world coins on the home page.