Most coins are worth very little, but in the hands of collectors, some are worth more than their weight in gold. Blake Alma, the penny pundit behind the CoinHub TikTok account, explains that certain coins may be worth a fortune to look out for.
Some of the rare, valuable coins which he pointed out are the 1943 bronze Lincoln cent, the 1914 D Lincoln cent, the 1972 Lincoln cent, the 1926-S Lincoln cent, and the 1944 steel cent.
The 1943 bronze Lincoln cent worth $204,000
You may want to think twice before tossing out your loose change — one of your pennies could be worth $7. The U.S. Mint switched to making pennies from zinc-coated steel planchets instead of the usual bronze coin blanks to preserve copper for the war effort. However, some of the coins managed to find their way out to the hands of a few people.
Some of the old bronze planchets got stuck in the big tote bins that the Mint used to feed the coin presses at the end of 1942,” said David Stone, a coin expert. “The few bronze coins that were struck went unnoticed and got released into circulation.”
Today, the 1943 bronze Lincoln cent is described as “the most famous error coin in American numismatics.” A rare 1943 bronze Lincoln penny has sold for more than $200,000 at a Florida auction.
The 1914 D Lincoln cent, valued at $158,625
The Lincoln cent is the longest-issued coin in American numismatic history. The US mint struck this penny for the first time in 1909, and it has been in circulation until today. Occasionally, the 1914 Lincoln penny with chip cracks or lamination error pieces typically comes from Philadelphia.
Collectors consider the 1914 D Lincoln penny for a rare key date, and well-preserved pieces are worth hundreds of dollars. The worn and heavily damaged pennies can still be sold for around $100. As expected, the coins in the mints state have the highest value.
One 1914 D MS 66 Lincoln penny reached a record auction value of $158,625.
The 1972 Lincoln cent auctioned for $14,400
Maintaining similarities with the 1969 Doubled Die, the doubling on this penny is especially prominent in words “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST” — with some light doubling on the date.
The 1972 penny is one of the most common dates for the 1-cent coin. More than 5.5 billion units were made, and most have entered circulation, meaning they’re worn; thus, those pieces are generally not very collectible.
The 1926-S Lincoln cent sold for $149,500
This coin is not a rare bird in the circulated grades. It is quite expensive even when worn. The 1926-S penny is a bit higher in terms of price than many of its S-mint contemporaries. It is almost impossible to find.
The regular-issue Lincoln cent takes the cake as the most-expensive non-variety Lincoln penny ever sold. It holds the record with a $149,500 hammer price on a top-grading PCGS MS65RD specimen sold in 2004.
The 1944 steel cent
The 1944 Steel Cent is a rare off-metal striking created when a steel blank left over from 1943 was struck in the normal production run of 1944 Bronze Cents, or a steel blank meant for a foreign coin accidentally made it into a bin of bronze cents.
Experts claim that the surviving population of the 1944 Steel Cent is in the range of 25-30 pieces, or about double that of the known population of 1943 Bronze Cents.
According to the NGC Price Guide, as of December 2022, a Wheat Penny from 1944 in the circulated condition is worth between $7500 and $33500. However, on the open market 1944, Steel sold for over $373,000 at an auction.