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Most Expensive Pennies Still in Circulation

One of the most expensive pennies still in circulation is worth its weight in copper, especially if it’s one such copper penny worth over a million dollars.

Most Expensive Pennies Still in Circulation
Most Expensive Pennies Still in Circulation

If there was a list of the most pointless things in America today, one could argue that the penny is on top of that list. After all, the US Mint stated that it costs 2.4 cents to produce a cent piece. But the penny had more value decades ago, particularly if those pennies were hardly in circulation. Maybe next time you look through your childhood piggy bank, you’ll discover you unknowingly stashed one of the most expensive pennies in circulation.

Flying Eagle Pennies

Production issues with the Flying Eagle design led to the coin’s rapid demise and replacement by the Indian Head Penny after its three-year run from 1856 through 1858.

The aesthetic value of the coin itself is a major selling point. Many think the Flying Eagle Penny was the first currency to feature a flying bird. Birds that appeared on coins from different countries originated from ancient shields or crests. Some say that it all started with the Flying Eagle Penny, which popularized the practice of depicting animals in their natural settings rather than in royal poses on coins.

The 1857–1858 Flying Eagle penny can fetch you $30 if it’s in decent condition and $150 if it’s near mint. However, the 1856 Flying Eagle penny is the needle in the haystack worth $6,500 in good condition and $12,500 if it’s mint.

Indian Head Pennies

As prefaced in the prior section, the Indian Head Penny took over in 1859 and had a 50-year run until 1909. Collectors scour the ends of the earth, hoping they come across a pristine Indian Head not only because of its production years but also because of its historical importance.

Collectors value Indian Heads as artifacts of American history since the initial years of manufacturing were before the start of the Civil War. This is why many Indian Head coins minted in the first decade of its existence fetch far greater prices than later issues.

The coins’ antiquity is another appealing feature for many collectors. It’s not often that coins survive for over a century, so the fact that so many have such immaculate shapes is a huge draw for collectors. The worth of each year’s penny varies drastically. Some versions of the penny could only get you a value meal at a fast-food joint, whereas a well-taken care-of 1877 Indian Head Penny will allow you to book a $2,500 vacation.

Copper Wheat Pennies

Now, we enter the era of the penny most of us recognize, with Honest Abe’s head front and center. But some versions of the Copper Wheat Penny could give you a solid ROI of the one cent you think it’s worth.

The copper-alloy cent from 1943 is highly prized and considered a monetary masterpiece. During that time, zinc-coated steel pennies predominated in circulation because copper and nickel were vital to the Allies’ war effort.

The most valued 1943 Copper Penny is a PCGS-graded unique-D cent worth $1.7 million. Steel versions of the 1943 penny are hardly worth their face value. But since steel metal and copper alloy are vastly different, a simple magnet test will provide answers. In short, authentic copper wheat pennies won’t budge from a magnetic force, while steel will. Most coin collectors believe there are fewer than a hundred of these pennies today. Next time you toss your change into a cupholder only to get rid of it months later after condensation from your sodas made it a sticky mess, you might want to give it a second look to see if you are the lucky recipient of one of the most expensive pennies in circulation.

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