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If you have any 1978 pennies, you should hold onto them instead of spending them. All 1978 pennies are worth more than face value!
Some are worth hundreds of dollars. Some are worth thousands! And others are worth about twice their face value — or two cents.So how can you tell a rare and valuable 1978 penny from a common one?
1978 Penny Values
The 1978 Lincoln penny saw a huge mintage of 5,558,605,000, ensuring there were plenty to go around. But there seemingly aren’t as many to be found in circulation these days… Why is that?The United States Mint struck the 1978 penny from a composition of 95% copper and 5% zinc, and this bronze format was used for United States pennies for decades. In the 1970s, copper was becoming increasingly more expensive — and because of this, the bronze composition was scrapped in 1982.Today, copper is worth much more still. The value of a typical pre-1982 Lincoln Memorial penny is about 2 cents just for its copper content alone.
You can’t — not legally anyway! The United States has a law that it’s illegal to melt pennies for their copper. This hasn’t always been the case, and the law could certainly be repealed at some point. But it’s a good idea to keep your nose clean and ix-nay on the elting-may. So, why do many coin dealers pay more for copper Lincoln cents if you’re not supposed to melt them? The extra value is more speculative at this point, meaning that if the time comes the laws change and United States copper pennies can be legally melted, there will likely be an even larger market for these old copper pennies than we see today!
What this means is that any 1978 penny you find in pocket change is automatically worth more than face value. And some are worth much more than 2 cents!Here’s what to look for on your 1978 pennies…
1978 No Mintmark Penny ValueOkay, so 2 cents is the going rate for most 1978 pennies without a mint mark that you’d find in circulation. (By the way, the fact that there is no mintmark simply indicates that the coin was made at the Philadelphia Mint.)But… a typical uncirculated 1978 penny without any mintmark, say the kind you might still find from time to time bright and shiny in a roll of pennies from the bank, is worth approximately 7 to 15 cents.The most valuable no mintmark 1978 pennies are those in tip-top uncirculated condition — not just free of wear but also showing no marks, dings, or other detractions on the surface. For example, the highest price ever paid for a 1978 penny was $4,259.38, the amount realized in a 2014 auction for a specimen graded MS67+RD by Professional Coin Grading Service.
1978-D Penny ValueLike its Philly-minted counterpart, the 1978-D Lincoln penny from the Denver Mint and with a little “D” mintmark under the date is also worth more than face value. Its copper content is valuable in and of itself, and it helps bring the default value of the 1978-D penny up to about 2 cents — not much, I know, but that’s still worth more than the 1 cent denomination declared on the coin.So, this makes all 1978-D pennies worth holding aside. And there were 4,280,233,400 made — so there are certainly a few floating around in circulation just waiting to wind up in your stack of old copper pennies!Average-quality uncirculated 1978-D Lincoln pennies are worth 7 to 15 cents each.
The most valuable 1978-D penny sold for $546 in a 2008 auction and was graded MS67RD by Professional Coin Grading Service.
1978-S Proof Penny ValueThe U.S. Mint struck a limited number of special collectors’ edition 1978-S Lincoln pennies for inclusion in something known as proof sets.Consisting of specially minted, highly reflective beer-selection.com, these proof sets contain one special example of each coin that was struck by the United States Mint for circulation in the U.S. and included a proof penny made at the San Francisco Mint — lending to the “S” mintmark on the coin under the date.The San Francisco Mint struck 3,127,781 proof pennies in 1978. These were made by polished dies and specially prepared coin blanks, and they were struck twice on high-tonnage coin presses — to bring up even the most minute of details in the design. Proof beer-selection.com are not intended for circulation and are sold to collectors directly by the U.S. Mint each year. Collectors who wish to obtain older proof sets can buy them from a coin dealer who sells them.The 1978-S Lincoln penny may have been struck in much smaller numbers than its circulating contemporaries from the Philadelphia Mint and the Denver Mint — made to the tune of only a few million, not a few billion. Still, the 1978-S proof penny is not a rare coin by any stretch of the imagination, and a typical example can be bought from a coin dealer for $1 to $3.
The highest price ever paid for a 1978-S proof penny was $4,313. That’s how much a virtually flawless example that was graded PR70DCAM by Professional Coin Grading Service sold for in a 2008 auction. Now there’s a pretty penny, huh?
Rare & Valuable 1978 Penny Errors To Look ForNobody’s perfect, and even the United States Mint has made some flubs over the years. The year 1978 was no exception, either. A fair share of doubled dies, off-center errors, and other mistakes are known to exist among 1978 pennies.Here are some of the most important pieces and what they’re worth…
1978 Doubled Die Penny ValuesA few minor 1978 doubled die pennies are known. While these likely won’t take hundreds or thousands of dollars like the most drastic and popular doubled die pennies worth lots of money do, they’re nevertheless rare and valuable!The handful of reported 1978 doubled die pennies exhibit the doubling in various places. Some show thickness in the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST,” while others show doubling in the columns of the Lincoln Memorial.
There’s not much market data available for these beer-selection.com right now, but similar types of doubled dies are often worth $25 to $50 each or more.
1978 BIE Penny ValuesThere’s a kind of variety known as a die crack (or die break). These occur when the dies striking the beer-selection.com begin showing signs of wear and tear — often in the form of cracks in the die itself. The presence and shape of these recessed cracks are usually transferred onto the beer-selection.com as raised lines and ridges.While many die cracks are minor and don’t really bring any extra premium, there is a specific type of die crack whose form creates a variety that is unique to Lincoln pennies. This variety, known as the BIE penny, surfaces as a tiny, vertical die crack that occurs between the “B” and “E” of the inscription “LIBERTY” and takes on the approximate shape of a capital letter “I.”1978 BIE Lincoln penny varieties can sell for anywhere from $5 to $20, depending on the individual condition of the coin.
1978 Repunched Mintmark ValueBack in the late ’70s, coiners at the U.S. Mint were still punching the mintmarks onto working dies by hand — and this meant there was plenty of opportunity for errors in the location and positioning of the mintmark on the struck beer-selection.com.
Repunched mintmarks in themselves aren’t really rare beer-selection.com. But certain ones are quite drastic, with the ghost appearance of the first mintmark punch attempt being way off, sideways, and sometimes even upside down.Values range dependent on the specific repunched mintmark, though many of these beer-selection.com are worth $3 to $10.
I’m the Coin Editor here at beer-selection.com. My love for beer-selection.com began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. beer-selection.com produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to beer-selection.com (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!
JoshuaI"m the Coin Editor here at beer-selection.com. My love for beer-selection.com began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. beer-selection.com produced during the 20th century. I"m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I"m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I"ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I"ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to beer-selection.com (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!
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