The 1961 penny in mint condition might be worth a lot, and even more, if it’s an error coin.
You’d be surprised to find out how an old coin can be worth a small sizeable fortune.
If you own a 1961 penny and you’re curious to find out its value, keep reading.
1961 Penny Details
- Category: Lincoln Penny
- Mint: Philadelphia, Denver
- Total Mintage: 2,509,639,944
- Face Value: $0.01
- Observe Designer: Victor David Brenner
- Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro
- Edge: Plain
- Thickness: 1.52mm
- Diameter: 19.05mm
- Weight: 3.11 grams
- Composition: 95% copper, 5% zinc
1961 Penny Value Chart
|1961 No Mint Mark Penny Value||$0.02||$0.02||$0.03||$1.00|
|1961 Proof Penny Value||$0.02||$0.03||$0.5||$1.50|
|1961 “D” Penny Value||$0.02||$0.02||$0.03||$1.00|
1961 No Mint Mark Lincoln Penny
In 1961, the Philadelphia mint produced 753,345,000 pennies with no mint mark. This is a very peculiar attribute of most Philadelphia coins, as they are always with no mint mark, and that’s what makes them unique.
The value of these coins is more than their face value and that’s because they weren’t minted in as much quantity as the Denver mint. However, that’s not to say they are worth a fortune because let’s face it 700 million is a lot; meaning they aren’t rare. The value of any coin depends on its rarity and condition.
The reason why there isn’t so much 1961 penny in circulation is because people are saving it for its copper value, which is 95%.
In mint state, you can get the 1961 – P penny for about $3 to $18. The 1961 pennies can go for a premium price only in uncirculated condition, and just a little above their face value in poor condition, and that’s because their copper melt value per penny is approximated at $0.02.
Luckily, if you have an error 1961 – P penny, its value can be quite a lot, just make sure it gets checked by a reputable coin appraiser.
In a 2013 auction, a 1961 – P penny-graded MS67RD was bought for $5,720.
1961 Proof Lincoln Penny
Another variation of penny produced in the Philadelphia mint was the proof coins. The Philadelphia mintage produced 3,028,244 proof Lincoln pennies, and the worth of these proof coins is based on their condition. Their price can range from $0.3 to even $200, and they are quite very common.
The 1961 proof coins have a lot of radiance, and the details are far sharper than the normal pennies. One of the major reasons for minting the proof coins was to show the 1961 penny in a more gorgeous light. Their deep and shiny surface is a result of the die being struck twice, plus the coins are always polished to achieve that glossy appearance.
In 2018, a 1961-proof coin graded PR69DCAM was sold for $4,320. A 1961-proof coin graded CAM and DCAM is worth about $175 and $3,500 respectively.
So, you have a high chance of getting thousands of dollars if your 1961-proof coin is in mint condition.
Yes, the 1961 proof sets weren’t distributed into circulation, but you can get one from a reputable coin dealer, and they are sometimes not expensive to buy because they are not rare.
1961 “D” Lincoln Penny
The Lincoln penny produced in the Denver mint has a value of $0.02. however, in uncirculated condition, they can be worth $0.10 to $0.20. Again, it’s important to note that coins that are minted in large quantities are rarely worth more than their face value.
On the head side of the coin, you’ll notice the “D” letter just underneath the date, and that’s a sign to show it was indeed minted in Denver. Most of the coins produced in Denver have the “D” mintmark on the observe side of the coin.
The Denver mint produced the highest number of instances, making it a very common penny in 1961. the total mintage of coins produced in the Denver mint in 1961 was 1,753,266,700, making it very common, hence worth very little. Understandably, the Lincoln penny was minted in such large quantity, because it’s of course the smallest denomination of currency in the United States of America.
However, there isn’t much of the 1961 – D penny in circulation, because it’s been hoarded by the public due to its copper content.
The worth of a 1961 – D penny is about $700, and in auctions, it can even be worth more than that. In a 2014 auction, the 1961 – D penny-graded MS67RD was bought for $4,406.25.
When compared to the Lincoln penny minted in Philadelphia, the Denver coins are more valuable. For instance, a 1961 – D with a grading of MS67 is worth more than a 1961 – P with the same grading.
History of the 1961 Lincoln Penny
The Lincoln penny was introduced in 1909 to commemorate the centennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln.
The observe side of the coin featured the portrait of Lincoln, while the reverse side has two wheat ears, hence the name “wheat penny”. This design was unchanged until 1959 when the wheat ears were replaced by the Lincoln Memorial designed by Frank Gasparro.
Before then, it had been unacceptable to use images of people on coins, but the design was chosen to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.
The image features Lincoln seated at the center of the coin with the inscription of the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” just above his head, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” underneath.
The Lincoln Memorial penny is the first coin that features the same person on both sides of the coin.
The 1961 Lincoln penny was struck in two different mint facilities: Philadelphia and Denver. The coins minted in Philadelphia had no mint mark, and proof coins were also minted in Philadelphia. Proof coins are generally worth more than regular coins because of their limited mintage and unique appearance.
The 1961 coins minted in Denver, have the “D” mint mark to show exactly where it was minted.
Today, Lincoln’s portrait is still used in U.S. pennies, and it’s not going away any time soon. Because the Lincoln pennies are made of 95% copper, they are usually worth more than their face value regardless of the condition.
1961 Lincoln Penny Grading
When grading the 1961 penny, your focus should be on the image/portrait. A single scratch or blemish on the major focal areas can drastically reduce the worth of your coin.
If it still has a strong luster and eye appeal, there’s a high chance that it’ll be valued at a good price.
When unsure of how to grade your coin, it’s best to reach out to a trusted coin collector. There are different coin grades used to determine the worth of a coin; Poor, Fair, Very Good, Very Fine, Extremely Fine, Uncirculated, and many more.
So, if you are having a hard time grading a 1961 penny yourself, refer to the video below.
Rare 1961 Lincoln Penny Error Lists
Error coins are always selling at premium prices, except on a few occasions. Error coins are fascinating and rare, hence the hype from coin collectors to have one in their possession.
Some errors are quite common, and this makes it less desirable, thereby making it worth just a few bucks.
The 1961 Lincoln penny mintage, produced a few interesting error coins. It’s time to find out;
1. 1961 Lincoln Penny Repunched Mintmark Error
You can find this error only in 1961 pennies minted in Denver because they are variants with mintmarks.
Repunched mintmark error is a common error, and sometimes it doesn’t add much value to the worth of the coin because you can find such errors easily. For coins produced in a large number, there are lots of Repunched mintmark errors, and the value of these error coins is about $10.
Before the early 1960s, mintmarks were put in coins using hands, thereby giving room for a lot of errors. Sometimes they were struck in the wrong position and re-punched to the right side.
However, the rarest of the 1961- D Repunched errors are those with the letter “D” positioned upside down. So, if you have a coin with this type of error, only then can it be worth hundreds of dollars. Also, if your coin is in a mint state, it’ll increase its value.
Collectors and numismatists see error coins as a fascinating history, so the more intriguing and rare your error coin is, the more they’ll pay for it.
2. 1961 Lincoln Penny Double Die Error
The double die error happens when the tool used for impressing the design into the planchet is created with a doubled image. This usually results in a dramatic doubling of key features on the finished coin.
The degree/severity of the doubling can vary, and the more striking and distinctive the error is, the more valuable the coin is.
However, there has been no outright information on any drastic double die error in the 1961 pennies. The double die errors involving the 1961 penny are focused on the letters and maybe dates, which is nothing unique. These are all minor errors and they’ll cost around $5 to $20, so if you are looking to buy an error coin, this is certainly very affordable and even common. Remember, an error coin will only go for a premium price if it has a distinctive appearance.
3. 1961 Lincoln Penny Missed Center Error
The off-center error happens when the planchet stamped into the coin doesn’t align with the die. This caused the resulting coin to appear off-center and have missing parts of the design as well. The degree of the off-centering varies, but the most dramatic ones show an important portion of the design distorted or even missing.
1961 error coins that are just 2% – 5% off-center are valued at $3 to $15, but if the off-center of your coin is over 50%, it can be worth $100 or even more.
Check out other interesting errors of the 1961 Lincoln penny.
1. What’s The Actual Value Of The 1961 Lincoln Penny?
Ideally, the value of a 1961 Lincoln penny is about $0.02, and in uncirculated condition, it can be worth about $1. However, its value is subject to change based on factors like minting errors the current demand on the market, and its condition.
2. What Are The Most Valuable Errors Associated Of The 1961 Lincoln Penny?
The most valuable errors of the 1961 penny are the Repunched mintmark error, double die error, and off-center error. The intensity of these errors will drastically increase the value of the coin.
3. How Do I Know My 1961 Penny Has An Error?
To determine if you have a 1961 error coin, you need to examine it properly and look out for signs like double lettering/date, or check to see if the edge of your coin has off-center strikes.
4. Is There A Legit Source To Sell My 1961 Error Penny?
You can sell your error coins to reputable coin dealers or collectors. Also, check out platforms like eBay and Heritage Auctions as they are very popular when it comes to selling/buying rare coins. Although, you might want to conduct your research on the value of your coin before reaching out to any buyer.
5. Who Designed The Reverse And Observe Side Of The 1961 Lincoln Penny?
The reverse side of the 1961 Lincoln penny was designed by Frank Gasparro, and the observe side was designed by Victor. D. Brenner.
The 1961 Lincoln penny is not a particularly rare coin, but there are a series of errors associated with it that significantly increases its value.
The value of your 1961 penny is tied to its appearance. For starters to get the real value of your coin, be sure that there are no visible blemishes and that it still retains its red color. So, always be on the lookout for the RD (red) and RD (red-brown) color versions of the 1961 Lincoln penny.