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The Most Valuable Pennies Of All Time

Updated December 2, 2019 949.5k views15 items

The penny has been part of US currency almost as long as the country has been independent. In fact, the first "Fugio cent" was designed by Benjamin Franklin. Since the very beginning, the images on the penny have symbolized the spirit of the country. There has been talk in recent years of doing away with the penny as we move toward a more cashless society, but we're not quite there yet.

As with anything that's mass-produced, some mistakes have crept into the penny's circulation. Those coins are hard to come by, but if you have one, you may be in line for a real financial windfall. Maybe you have a collectible in a bowl or piggy bank you've forgotten about. Here's a list of the most valuable pennies out there to help you spot that one-of-a-kind gem.

  • 1856 Flying Eagle Penny

    What It's Worth: $6,500 and up

    Why It's Worth So Much: Only 700 Flying Eagle pennies were initially produced, and they were never really in circulation. The first batch was given to members of Congress and other political influencers of the day as a trial run for the newly designed penny. The new coin was a hit, and 3,000 more Flying Eagles were made. No matter their condition, they are highly valuable. 

  • 1877 Indian Head Penny

    What It's Worth: $367 to $3,000 and up  

    Why It's Worth So Much: The 1877 Indian Head Penny, unlike most other pennies on this list, wasn't made in error in any way. The reason why it's so valuable is because there weren't that many made to begin with - a little over 850,000 coins were minted in 1877. Compared to the year before, when 7.9 million pennies were created, and the year after, when 5.9 million coins were made, that's a minimal amount. 

  • 1873 Doubled Liberty or 'Closed 3' Indian Head Penny

    What It's Worth: $20 to $10,000 and up

    Why It's Worth So Much: An 1873 Indian Head Penny is generally worth between $20 and $450, but if your 1873 penny has a doubled die mistake on the word "Liberty" in the Indian's headband, you've got a winner on your hands. The coin was created when the US Mint over-doubled their output that year. The "closed 3" version of the coin refers to the serifs used on the "3" digit in 1873, which are close enough to the digit's middle to make it appear to be an "8." This is much rarer than the "open 3" version of the coin.

  • 1922 No 'D' Plain Lincoln Wheat Penny

    What It's Worth: $900 to $28,000 and up

    Why It's Worth So Much:  Because the Denver Mint was the only mint producing pennies in 1922, this coin should have a "D" mint mark. However, some do not have any mark at all due to an overworked coin die, while others only have weak, almost imperceptible strikes. It's unclear how many still exist, but if you can find a 1922 penny without any "D" mark whatsoever, you are sure to get top dollar for it.