With just over 9 million pennies minted, the 1976 Penny value may give the impression of being low due to its high circulation. However, as common as this coin may be, the 1976 penny can be worth many pretty pennies depending on its mint state and the occurrence of a variety of errors.
1976 Penny Value Chart
|Proof (PR / PF 69)|
|1976 (P + W) No Mint Mark Penny Value||$7||$12.50||$80||$4,000||No (P) or (W) Proof Coins|
|1976-S Proof Penny Value||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$1,208|
|1976-D Penny Value||$7||$40||$450||N/A||No D Proof Coins|
1976 No Mint Mark Penny Value
Introduced in celebration of the 100th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth, The Lincoln Penny was released in 1909. Often called the Lincoln cent, this coin resulted from then-sitting President Theodore Roosevelt’s desire to have developed American coins with Artistic merit.
To achieve this, the U.S. Mint hired professional sculptors to create realistic depictions of the images gracing the coins. Irish-born Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the first sculptor to take on this role in 1905. Following his death, the penny was reworked by his assistants, two of which included Lithuanian-born Victor David Brenner and James Earle Fraser, most well-known for his work on the Buffalo nickel.
The Lincoln Penny took on multiple diverse designs throughout these years until falling upon the Lincoln Memorial in 1959. The reverse design was done by the soon-to-be Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, Frank Gasparro. Despite never visiting the Lincoln Memorial in person, Gasparro created a celebrated design that was swiftly approved by then-sitting President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the Secretary of Treasury, Robert B. Anderson. The new reverse, created in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s birth, was released on January 12, 1959.
This Obverse/Reverse of the Lincoln Penny with Lincoln memorial was minted and circulated from its original release date until September 2008, when a new reverse was introduced in celebration of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial.
The initials of the artist Victor David Brenner on the obverse of the 1976 Penny are attributed to this coin’s rarity. These initials VDBappear on the rarest of all Lincoln Pennies (excluding mint errors in 1922,1955, and 1972).
The 1976 penny weighs approximately 3.11g and is 19.05mm in diameter. It comprises 75% copper and 5% tin/zinc combination.
Both the Philadelphia and West Point mints produced 1976 Pennies with no mint mark. It is not possible to determine where a coin without a mint mark was fabricated. However, the U.S. treasury, of course, shows a record of approximately how many of these unmarked pennies were released by each mint.
According to records kept by the U.S. Treasury Department, 3,133,580,000 1976 pennies were released by the Philadelphia Mint, and 1,540,695,000 were released by the West Point mint. The total of 1976 pennies without mint marks released into circulation totaled 4,674,292,426.
The first Mint of the United States, The Philadelphia Mint, has produced pennies since its opening in 1973 and continues to this day. However, unlike other U.S. Mints, such as San Francisco and Denver, the Philadelphia Mint did not include a mint mark on pennies until 2017, when the P was added in honor of the Mint’s 225th anniversary.
Much like Philadelphia, the West-Point Mint (New York) did not leave a mint mark on pennies until 2019, when they released special collectible pennies with their mint mark.
Just as it is with the 1976 D Penny, the 1976 Penny Value for both P and W mint pennies are up to $7 for an MS 65 mint state. However, the no-mint mark pennies that were circulated only carry a value of up to $12.50 for an MS 66 mint state, compared to the $40 at which the 1976 D-Penny is valued. 1976 pennies without mint marks are valued up to $80 for a mint state of MS 67 and $250 for MS 67+.
However, an unmarked 1976 Penny with MS 68 Mint state is valued at up to $4000.
1976 S Proof Penny Value
The Obverse of 1976 Penny shows a sculpted profile portrait of Abraham Lincoln facing right. A minuscule VDB (initials of the artist, Victor David Brenner) is stamped at the bottom of his shoulder on the left side of the portrait. The Legend “In God We Trust” Hoovers above his head, and “Liberty” to the left of the portrait. The mint year and mint mark S are displayed on the bottom right of the coin.
The Reverse of the 1976 Penny illustrates the Lincoln Memorial located in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The artist’s initials, Frank Gasparro, are present on the lower right side of the memorial. At the top of the coin reads “United States of America” with E Pluribus Unum (Latin for “Out of many, one” placed directly below. The statue of Lincoln, as it is placed in the actual Lincoln Memorial, can be seen in the center of the memorial through the two center pillars.
1976 S Lincoln Memorial Cents (Penny) were struck only as Proof coins.
1976 D Penny Value
The beginnings of the U.S. mint were established by a brokerage firm by the name of Clark, Griber, and Company during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. The private mint monopolized the region as miners were hard-pressed to travel to brokerage facilities located further out of the mining towns. Looking to avoid the costs of shipping the precious medals back east, the brokerage firm decided to open a private mint. This private mint began producing fifteen to twenty $10 gold pieces per minute. The U.S. treasury bought the private mint only three years later, in 1863.
The U.S. Denver Mint struck its first coins on February 1, 1906, and has since grown to be the single largest producer of coins globally. It produces commemorative coins, coin dies, and uncirculated coin sets. With its 350 employees, the Denver Mint can produce up to 50 million coins per day. All coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark.
1976 pennies that were produced at the Denver Mint display a D mint mark just below the mint year on the obverse of the coin and are made up of 95% pure copper. Starting in 1982, the United States employed zinc planchets with a thin coat of pure copper for U.S. pennies, making the value of the zinc and copper combination less than half a penny from this date through the early 2000s. However, all Lincoln pennies produced from 1959 to 1981 were manufactured using 95 percent pure copper – a value of 2.5 cents per penny. This means that the 1976 Penny Value can be more than face value due to the material used to fabricate it.
Approximately 4,221,592,455 1976 Pennies were minted at the Denver Mint. Although this penny is widely available and not highly valued, there are some exceptions due to the state of the coin. For example, The Professional Coin Reading Service assessed the most valuable 1976-D penny traded as MS67RD. This penny went on to be sold for $998.75 in 2016.
Today, a 1976 D-Penny with an MS 65 Mint State is valued at $7. A 1976 D-Penny in MS 66 Mint State is valued at up to $40. And a 1976 D-Penny in MS 67 and MS 67+ state is worth up to $450 and up to $1000, respectively.
1976 Penny Grading
The 1976 Penny is known to have been produced at a lower quality than pennies of prior years. Because of this, the grading of this penny can vary greatly from one U.S. Mint location to the next.
Rare 1976 Penny Error Lists
Errors on minted coins can greatly affect their value. As a slight error can make a rare coin become even rarer, the botched coin can raise in value from a few cents to thousands of dollars. Of course, the value of a 1976 Penny error, as with all other coins, depends greatly on the mint state as well as the mint location.
Some of the most common errors for the 1976 Penny were pennies struck on nickel planchets, pennies struck on dime planchets, and repunched Mint marks (RPM).
1976 Penny Struck on Nickel Planchet Error
There were a small number of 1976 D Penny errors where rather than the penny being struck on the 95% copper, 5% tin/zinc combination, they were stuck on the five-cent nickel planchet. The nickel planchet is made up of 75% copper with a 25% nickel coating. As the nickel has a bigger diameter than the penny, one-cent coins struck on nickel planchets show a considerable amount of edge damage.
A 1976 Penny struck on nickel planchet is truly a rare collectible, and if in good condition, it can sell for upwards of $1200.
1976 Penny Struck on a 10-cent Planchet Error
Similar to pennies being struck on Nickel Planchets, the 1976 Penny was also struck on a dime planchet. As nickels are 17.91mm in diameter to the penny’s 19.05mm in diameter, this error gives the appearance of the penny being slightly cut off. In 2018, a 1976-D Penny struck on a dime planchet in MS 65 and was sold for an impressive $1,350.
These rare 1976 pennies are easy to spot and identify thanks to their silvery tone and the reeded edges, the same edges found on a dime.
1976 Penny RPM Error
Many people may be surprised to know that until the year 1989, mint marks on all coins were punched by hand. During the 1976 penny minting, some coins were stamped multiple times, leaving up to 2-3 mint marks on a single coin. Although an interesting penny to keep in your collection, these errors are not very well valued, but in MS 65, they may be worth up to $12.
1976 Penny Value FAQ
How rare is a 1976 D Penny?
The Denver Mint struck over 4.2 billion pennies in 1976, making the 1976 D Penny quite common. However, depending on the Mint state of a 1976 D Penny, it may be worth anywhere between $7 and $1000.
Is the 1976 Penny worth anything?
A 1976 Penny can be worth up to $4000 depending on its mint state and mint location. However, as these coins were made using 95% copper and 5% zinc, they are worth more than face value and are estimated to be worth 2.5 cents.
What is the most common error for a 1976 Penny?
It’s hard to know the exact count of errors that made it out of a Mint into circulation. However, some of the most commonly reported 1976 Penny error finds are RPMs (Repunched Mint Mark). Other commonly reported errors of the 1976 Penny include being struck on nickel and dime planchets.
What makes a 1976 Penny so special?
The 1976 Penny is often considered to be a special coin mint as it coincided with the Bicentennial of the United States of America. In addition to following this celebrated year in the U.S., the 1976 Penny is also one of the last releases of Mints that used 95% copper and 5% zinc/tin. The U.S. Treasury Department changed the penny planchet to be zinc-based and coated in copper in 1982.