Rare pennies are easily split into two groups. Classic, spanning the years 1793 to 1954, and Modern, from 1955 to the present.
Finding rare pennies in your box of old coins is... well, rare. However, don't let that stop you from looking.
Twenty different dates spanning the Classic years are considered rare and valued accordingly. The total mintage of the top 20 rarest pennies is a surprising 5,720,028 coins. You are left to wonder, how many are still out there.
Even more fascinating, the number of modern rarities, those minted since 1955, is unknown due to the fact most are minting errors. Determining the actual number of these is never more than an educated guess.
With 5,720,028 Classic rare pennies made, why are they rare and what are your chances of finding one? These are both good questions.
Pennies are the staple of commerce and after decades of use, they simply wear out. Remember at the time no one knew these coins where rare. Many more suffered bad luck... lost, destroyed by fire, swept away by floods, not to mention buried in a jar in the yard and forgotten.
Then after 1857 the size of the penny was reduced to reflect the rising cost of copper. Mass melting of the older coins accrued, further destroying countless common and rare pennies.
Add to all this the relative few coin collectors of the time saving coins for future generations. The result... rare pennies. Here are the top twenty coins and their values.
Note: The coin values listed are wholesale values for coins in "Good" condition. This represents a well worn but undamaged, wholesome coin. Note: Values updated 2009.
Half Cent Coin Values
Find any one of these in your group of old coins and you have discovered a valuable part of history. Despite the high odds against finding a rare classic. By knowing which are the truly rare coins, the odds are, one will never slip past you.
Following the Classics, we enter the Modern era. From 1955 to the present most dates after 1958 are found in circulation.
Does it get easier to find something of value? The answer lies in are you willing to search through thousands of coins? Are you willing to study and learn which coins collectors seek?
The majority of the modern rarities are minting errors. They create lots of excitement as discovered. With some becoming favorites of collectors and maintaining their value and others fading from memory.
In order to attract lots of attention and value the error must be striking in appearance. The spectacular 1955/55 Doubled-Die error is easily the most famous eye catching minting error.
The second feature necessary to win the hearts of collectors, the coin must be "Uncirculated" thus realizing the most value. Many folks search uncirculated rolls of pennies as a hobby, hoping to find a modern treasure. Additionally, they spend an equal amount of time keeping up to date with the latest minting error discoveries.
Here are a few modern rare pennies and their retail value. It is important to note the coin values are for Gem Uncirculated Coins. They are best described as like new, very bright and virtually mark free. Note: Values updated 2012.
The above are the top celebrated coins, however numerous other minting errors with values ranging from a few dollars and up are in circulation today. Start by searching for information... "Strike it Rich with Pocket Change" by Ken Potter and Brian Allen is the latest book dealing with the subject.
Additionally, many rare coin dealer's web sites list modern rare pennies in their price list. Searching is exciting when it leads to a "find" and it is always interesting.
Your rare pennies can fascinate and thrill you and your family for a life time. Coin Collecting Guide for Beginners takes you on a journey through one of the oldest and most popular of all hobbies. Discover the best value of your coins.
Selling Wheat Pennies and Receiving the Highest Price
Separate your old wheat pennies into the main value groups - different decades, mintmarks, rare dates and importantly condition. Preparing and selling wheat pennies for the best value is possible.
More Penny Values
Discover your old coin values. Half Cents, Large Cents, to Indian and Wheat pennies. Match your coin to the "Grading" images to judge their condition and the coin value charts, staying current with today's penny values.
Do you have other coin denominations?
Coin Values Discovery... finds the Value of Rare Pennies and... All old US coin values. It is an excellent index with images and text links to all coin series, from Cents to Gold. Value charts, grading images and descriptions uncover how much your box of old coins is worth.