The 1916 penny is considered a rare coin because you’ll rarely find a piece in circulation, and even when you do, it might not be worth anything, and that’s because it has spent too long in circulation.
However, if you find a 1916 penny in your home, you shouldn’t discard it with the notion that it’s barely valuable.
This article will focus on the worth of a 1916 penny, and how valuable its error coins are as well.
So, let’s get right into it.
1916 Penny Details
Unlike the pennies in circulation today, the 1916 wheat penny is a lot different. The strive for coin collectors to add this to their unique collection is based on the coin’s rarity. There are only a few pieces of this coin left, and coin enthusiasts are aware that once it’s finished in circulation, the 1916 pennies are gone for good.
The 1916 penny was minted in three U.S. facilities as expected; Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver.
This penny has a composition of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc, and a total weight of 3.11 grams.
It was designed/engraved by Victor David Brenner, an exceptional sculptor.
While the face value of this penny maybe $0.01, you’ll certainly sell it for way higher if you have a piece in your possession.
The 1916 penny has a smooth edge and a diameter of 19mm.
1916 Penny Value Chart
|1916 No Mint Mark Penny Value||$0.57||$0.92||$10||$23|
|1916 – D Penny Value||$1.16||$3.38||$17||$115|
|1916 – S Penny Value||$2.05||$3.98||$35||$134|
|1916 Proof Penny||–||–||–||$400|
1916 No Mint Mark Penny
In the Philadelphia Mint, 131,833,677 pennies were minted, and all were without mint marks. The 1916 – P penny is not considered a rare coin because it was minted in abundance. Seeing a 1916 penny today is possible, even though it has been in circulation for more than 10 decades.
However, many of these coins were hoarded by coin collectors, thereby causing artificial scarcity. But, in average conditions, you are sure to find this penny very easily.
The value of this coin in the circulated condition is about $10 – $15, and in uncirculated grades, it can go for about $100.
In 2004, a piece of the 1916 – P penny was bought for $8,338, and this piece was graded MS67.
Finding a 1916 – P penny that still has its shiny, red surface means you are in luck because it’s worth about $1500. The 1916 pennies are very old coins, so it really is a big deal to find them in mint state.
1916 – D Penny
In the Denver mint, 35,956,000 pennies were minted in 1916, and they all have the “D” mint mark right under their date. These coins were also minted in large quantities, and have more value when found in mint state.
For the 1916 – D pennies, a piece that still has its lustrous red surface is worth a lot more than its counterparts with red-brown colors.
In averagely circulated condition, this penny is worth the same as the Philadelphia variants. The majority of the 1916 – D pennies you’ll find will mostly be damaged, but you can be sure that they’ll sell for more than their face value.
When in an uncirculated state, the value of this penny can go as high as $2000, but in a circulated state, this coin will sell for $10 – $50.
In 2016, a 1916 – D penny graded MS67 was bought at an auction for quite a hefty price – $58,750.
So, a 1916 – D penny with a red surface in mint state is valued between $100 to $10,000; this is definitely a penny to look out for.
1916 – S Penny
The San Francisco Mint has the lowest mintage of the 1916 pennies. With 22,510,000, it’s considerably lower than other pennies minted in Philly and Denver.
They are not as scarce as you might think, but in mint state, you might rarely find a piece. When it comes to the 1916 pennies, the higher the grade, the more scarce it becomes. The value of a 1916 – S penny is greatly attached to its condition, as that’s what dictates the exact worth of the coin.
In circulated conditions, the value of this coin is about $6 to $85, and in mint state, it’s valued at $2500 or even more.
A 1916 – S penny graded MS65 was sold at an auction for $27,600, so this penny is worth keeping if you have one in uncirculated condition.
The composition of the 1916 – S penny is 90% copper, so when left in circulation for too long, it changes color from red to brown. This coloration reduces its value drastically, as it shows that it’s heavily worn out already.
1916 Proof Penny
The 1916-proof pennies were minted in Philadelphia, and they also have no mint mark. The easiest way to differentiate them from the regular pennies minted in Philadelphia is their glossy surface.
Only 600 pieces of proof coins were minted, and they were produced specially for coin collectors. It’s considered the rarest of the 1916 pennies, and it’ll take a lot of searching and patience to find it in circulation. Some people believe that it doesn’t exist in circulation anymore, as it’s being hoarded by individuals and coin enthusiasts who already have them.
These coins are made with the finest of dies and with so much precision and carefulness. They usually have a deep cameo appearance, and that’s what is used to grade their appearance.
1916-proof pennies that are designated DCAM are more valuable than the ones designated as CAM because they have a finer and more lustrous appearance.
Depending on the grade of a 1916-proof penny, it can be valued at $600 to $7,500, especially in grades above MS60.
In 2011, a 1916-proof penny-graded PF67 was bought at an auction for $34,500.
History of the 1916 Penny
The Lincoln penny has seen a lot of changes in the past decades, but those changes can be classified as subtle because they are rarely noticed.
The 1916 penny falls under the category of the Wheat penny, and this category is a favorite to many collectors. It was the first penny to have a human portrait featured on it, unlike the other pennies that featured symbolic images or designs.
Abraham’s image was designed on the Wheat penny by Victor Brenner and this was his first time working on a coin. His lack of experience was a great concern, and it resulted in different changes being made before the final acceptance. Even after Victor’s design had been approved, he was asked to make the portrait a simpler one, so it won’t affect the quality or durability of the coin. As a result, the image of Lincoln being used was adjusted, so his face could be positioned at just the center of the coin, thereby taking up lesser space.
Over the years, the metal composition of the Wheat penny saw different changes, from being made with copper to being produced with steel, and eventually zinc.
While the observe side of the Wheat penny has remained fixed, the reverse side has seen different changes.
1916 Penny Grading
Grading the 1916 penny is an easy task if you know the details to look out for. although, you’ll most likely find this coin in averagely circulated condition, so it’s quite easy to give a range of its worth.
However, if by chance you come across a 1916 penny in mint state, it’s best to have a professional coin grader look at it, because it might be worth more than you think. Also, grading error coins can be tricky as well, especially when you are an amateur at grading coins.
The easy way to tell the value of your 1916 penny is by looking at the date and mintmark variety. Where a coin is minted can affect its value, plus note that the proof pennies are the most valuable variants of the 1916 pennies. You should also pay closer attention to the color of the 1916 penny, and its aesthetics as well.
If you can still clearly see all the fine strikes and details on your coin, then it’s worth more than $0.01.
To get a better insight on how to grade a 1916 penny, watch this video.
Rare 1916 Penny Error Lists
Depending on the severity of an error, you might end up selling a coin, more than a hundred times its worth. It’s, for this reason, coin collectors are always on the lookout for error coins because they are fully aware of how much more they might be worth.
Not all error coins have value, so keep that in mind.
With that said, let’s go over some 1916 penny error coins.
1. 1916 Penny With Die Cracks Error
Die cracks are breaks that happen on the die used in striking a coin, and this happens while minting. The cracks can take on different shapes depending on the severity of the fracture. Die cracks add significant and unique character to a coin making it even more intriguing for coin collectors.
The value of a 1916 penny with a die crack error depends on the size of the crack and the visibility of the error. For 1916 pennies with more visible cracks, it’s valued at $230 or even more.
2. 1916 Penny With Missed Center Error
This mistake only happens when the coin is struck off-center resulting in an uneven alignment of the coin’s design.
1916 pennies with this error are worth $10 to $200, depending on the degree of off-centering.
3. 1916 Penny With Repeatedly Punched Mintmark
The Repunched mintmark error is found on the mintmark just above the date. You’ll notice that the mintmarks are usually stamped multiple times onto the coin, and it’s usually very visible to the naked eye.
This error is a very common one, and a 1916 penny with the repeated punched mark error is valued at $10 to $25.
Watch this video to know more about 1916 error pennies.
1. What Is The Actual Value Of A 1916 Penny?
It’s impossible to tell the actual value of a 1916 penny, as there are four different variants, and the condition of the coin will play a major role in its worth. The value of a 1916 penny in the circulated condition is between $2 to $75, and in an uncirculated grade, it can be valued at $233.
2. Is There A Rare Variation Of The 1916 Penny?
Yes, the 1916 proof penny is categorized as rare, because it was minted in only 600 pieces. Also, the 1916 penny in mint state is considered a rare and valuable coin, but you can easily get yourself a piece in worn-out condition.
3. How Can I Determine The Value Of My 1916 Penny?
Determining the value of your 1916 penny is best done by a professional. It’s usually done with a scale that ranges from poor or brilliantly uncirculated. Also, to know the value of your 1916, you can compare it to descriptions of coins provided by reputable coin grading services.
4. Is It Safe To Clean My 1916 Penny?
No, cleaning a 1916 penny can damage the surface, thereby reducing its value. Plus, collectors prefer coins with original surfaces that haven’t been altered.
5. Can I Use The 1916 Penny Was A Legal Tender?
Yes, but because it has a very low face value, it has more potential as a collectible coin.
6. How Do I Store My 1916 Penny?
You can store your 1916 penny or any other coin in a dry, and cool environment, away from moisture and air. Keep it away from acidic materials, as that may damage the coin’s surface.
All 1916 wheat pennies have great potential, and you might need them to be evaluated by a professional before you can tell their worth.
The sharpness and design of the 1916 penny are very attractive, and it is being a very old coin certainly adds to its appeal.