Article from Oxford Gold Group
How much is a gold penny worth, and are these pennies valuable in a gold or silver IRA?
Answering these questions may create even more questions for potential investors, like:
- Which rare coins are worth more than gold pennies?
- Which are less valuable than we imagine?
- How do experts determine a coin’s market worth?
As far as the gold penny goes, there are quite a few money-making variants and collector’s editions worth any investor’s consideration. For example, many profitable gold coins exist for collectors and investors that want to resell later. In this article, the Oxford Gold Group experts discuss some of the more noteworthy coins, including gold pennies.
The Treasure Act of 1996
A great place to start involves learning about the Treasure Act of 1996. This piece of legislation gives value to many coins that we would have otherwise lost to time. As a UK Act of Parliament, it classifies which objects are in the treasure category, forcing anyone who finds these items to officially report them to the authorities.
The act gives plenty of old English and American coins their worth. However, many coins take their value from how rarely a mint printed the specific coin rather than from the act itself.
The Gold Penny
So, how much is a gold penny worth? The answer might be a little underwhelming. The quantity of gold in a penny is low, weighing in at only 0.2 grams, despite being 14 karat gold.
There is not much gold in a gold penny (about 0.583 pure gold). Comparing this to the current prices for 1 oz. of .999 pure gold, the gold penny is worth less than $5. Those who want to collect gold coins and other coins for value are better off hunting for collector’s pennies, silver pennies, or other gold items.
The caveat to this is for the lucky collector who happens to find an ultra-rare Henry III gold penny minted in about 1257—this represents a huge opportunity. Otherwise, stick to regular gold or rare pennies.
Valuable United States Pennies Worth Collecting
If pennies seem like a valuable addition to your precious metal portfolio, Oxford Gold Group recommends taking a look at the options below.
Wheat and Rare Pennies
Multiple valuable wheat pennies and other pricy pennies exist, ranging from 1856 to 1969. The wheat penny is distinguishable by its “one-cent” display on the back. We list some of the more valuable and well-known rare pennies below (in order of potential market value):
1943- S Copper Lincoln Wheat Penny
This is among the most lucrative options for small coins (one sold for $1 million in 2012!) The United States minted this penny by accident, with one popular theory that leftover copper planchets from 1942 were left in the press for the minting of 1943 pennies.
The Professional Coin Grading Service names these pennies among the most desirable and valuable of mint errors. After all, how much is a gold penny worth if there is hardly a coin collector who isn’t after one?
1944 Steel Lincoln Wheat Penny
As a similar story to the ‘43 copper Lincoln, these coins supposedly were from steel cent planchets from ‘43 that ended up in the 1944 presses. It is another rare coin that collectors pine over.
1943 Copper Lincoln Wheat Penny
The Philadelphia mint created less than 30 copies, so this one is a definite rarity.
1856 Flying Eagle Penny
With only 2,000 coins produced, this penny is less rare than the others on our list but still valuable. The United States minted these as pattern coins, although they were never mass-manufactured before discontinuation.
1969-S Double Die Obverse Lincoln Memorial Penny
Double die coins are highly popular due to their uniqueness. This coin ranks as the most expensive Lincoln Memorial series coin.
1877 Indian Head Penny
The penny did not result due to an error, but the United States minted it in lower quantities. The US printed under one million of these overall, and fewer exist today.
1873 Doubled Liberty “Closed 3” Indian Head Penny
This double die cent features the word “liberty” twice. Doubled coins from this era are rare, but this is one of the most elusive coins in that category. The closed “3” makes the piece scarcer, as only just over one million were ever printed (compared to 11 million of the “open 3” cents).
1922 No D Plain Lincoln Wheat Penny
The mint fixed a broken coin die, but the replacement did not include the mintmark. The result was an unmarked coin from the Philadelphia mint, with around 15,000 to 20,000 in circulation (fewer today). It is a prime target for coin collectors and traders alike.
1955 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Wheat Penny
Just under 25,000 Lincoln Cents from this period had a double die. While United States officials were aware of the error, they did not want to waste the batch and sent them along with the ordinary pennies. The batch was initially discovered in New England vending machines, and some of these pennies go for an excellent bargain to this day.
1873 Doubled Liberty “Open 3” Indian Head Penny
Similar to the “closed 3” version, this penny’s serifed ends of the “3” draw close to the middle of the digit. A “closed 3” has distinct loops, while an “open 3” has more space between the ends and center of the number. These coins are more common than the “closed 3” counterparts.
How much is a gold penny worth to you, and can silver pennies compare? Many people do go for silver pennies for their collection value (some even more valuable than the gold pennies mentioned above). Silver pennies are easily distinguishable, minted in a silver color rather than copper tones.
Many silver pennies enjoy excellent collector’s value and are worth as much as collectors designate at the time of purchase or sale. Mints released these coins around 1943 when the United States began using steel and zinc; copper had better use as ammunition in World War II. These silver coins range from 20 cents to $1 each, depending on wear and quality, and their appearance confuses many people who mistake these coins for genuine silver.
In 1944, the United States minted about 15 to 20 steel wheat coins by mistake, an incredible rarity that puts these collectibles in huge demand. Silver pennies from other years were likely plated with steel, zinc, or mercury. Some even had a foreign origin, like the aluminum or nickel coins featuring the Lincoln emblem by mistake.
The United States sometimes minted coins from other nations, and blank coins would end up in the wrong machinery or receive a local design. These fun aberrations are valuable if you can find them, but it depends on their quality. Similarly, some planchets for dimes ended up in penny presses as off-metal errors from which the collectors of today can profit.
The mint produced other silver cents after 1982 that featured some unfortunate errors. For example:
- Lincoln cents, or pennies with zinc cores, can lose their copper plating due to chemical stripping. These coins are only worth their face value.
- Some zinc pennies never received their copper casing and are collectible but not worth a huge amount on the market.
Bringing in the gold or silver penny to a certified trader is an excellent way to gauge its worth. For example, it is not always evident whether the coin lost its copper from chemicals or never had it to begin with, and collectors could find themselves in possession of something quite rare.
Other Valuable Gold Coins
The gold penny might not net much from a trader, but there are other gold coins for investors to set their sights on as a gold investor or seller. Unlike bullion, coins tend to go for more than their weight in gold, thanks to the detail and craftsmanship.
Gold North American Bald Eagle
Marked with the same insignia as the presidential seal, this coin reflects the allure of freedom and nature within the United States. It is an attractive pure gold piece to newcomers and precious metal investors alike.
Gold Bottlenose Dolphin
This ⅓ oz. of the pure gold coin displays two bottlenose dolphins. The coin was initially issued under the Australian Currency Act of 1965 and still holds significant weight and purity.
Gold Rose Crown Guinea
The East India Company made this high-quality coin featuring the Rose Crown Shield. The other side shows Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II designed by renowned sculptor Raphael Maklouf. The denomination is $25, dated to 2018.
The Guinea falls into the category of the most respected gold coins, carrying a reputation of purity and trust. When investors want a gold coin that is instantly recognizable by sellers worldwide, the Guinea is a great place to start.
Connect with Oxford Gold Group for Gold and Silver Coins
How much is a gold penny worth? Typically not much, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the world of small coins. Whether you’re a longtime collector or a newcomer, Oxford Gold Group can advise you on countless valuable gold coins, silver coins, and other precious metals.