1978 Penny Value: How Much Is It Worth Today?
The 1978 penny is quite a popular penny among coin collectors. There’s nothing particularly peculiar about this coin because it’s the lowest-valued currency in the U.S.
People who appreciate the 1978 penny, know its value when in pristine condition. While it’s true that the 1978 penny is rarely worth more than its face value, in certain cases it’s worth hundreds of dollars.
1978 Penny Details
- Category: Lincoln Penny
- Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
- Total Mintage: Over 9 billion
- Face Value: $0.01
- Observe Designer: Victor David Brenner
- Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro
- Edge: Plain
- Thickness: 1.52mm
- Diameter: 19.05mm
- Weight: 3.11grams
- Composition: 95% copper, 5% zinc
1978 Penny Value Chart
|1978 No Mint Mark Lincoln Penny Value||$0.01||$0.02||$0.03||$1.16|
|1978 – D Lincoln Penny Value||$0.01||$0.02||$0.02||$1.16|
|1978 – S Proof Lincoln Penny Value||$0.01||$0.02||$0.03||$2.50|
1978 No Mint Mark Lincoln Penny
The Philadelphia mint produced 5,558,605,000 instances in 1978, making it a very common penny. It’s quite difficult to find a 1978 – P in mint condition because they have spent years in circulation.
The melt value of this coin is $0.02, and in circulated condition, they are worth just their face value, because of their copper composition.
In mint state, you might get hundreds of dollars for your 1978 penny. For instance, 1978 – P graded MS67 is worth about $170, while in an uncirculated state with an MS65 grade, it’ll be worth just $1.
In 2014, at Heritage Auctions, a 1978 – P rated M67+ was sold for $4,259, due to the rarity of the coin.
The easiest way to figure out a 1978 – P is by checking for a mint mark underneath the date inscription. Pennies minted in Philadelphia have no mint mark, and that is its unique identification. The price value of this coin is between $0.01 to $10.00.
1978 – D Lincoln Penny
The Denver mint produced 4,280,233,000 pennies, and they are all identified using the “D” mint mark under the date inscription. Since the number of coins minted in Denver is over 4 billion, it’s not considered a unique coin, therefore you’d be lucky to sell a piece above its face value. To sell the 1978 – D penny at a significant premium over face value, it has to be in the highest grade, and MS66 examples are extremely hard to find. Even the most experienced graders will need to dedicate enough time to go through dozens of rolls to find a 1978 – D penny that’s worth a sizeable amount.
In 2008, a 1978 – D penny-graded MS67RD was sold for $546.
1978 – S Proof Lincoln Penny
The coins produced in the San Francisco mint were proof coins, and of course, they had a beautiful and attractive finish. Proof coins are minted with utmost care and precision; hence they are highly detailed and glossy.
They have a shinier look than other variants (regular coins), and the San Francisco mint minted only 3,127,000 proof coins because they are quite difficult to produce.
Depending on their condition, the 1978 – S proof coins can be worth anywhere from $0.01 to $3 or even more. They are worth more than the other pennies minted in Philadelphia and Denver, because of their low mintage. Over three million instances might seem like a lot, but it’s not because they were in circulation and used as a regular penny. Currently, it’ll be a hassle to find any 1978-proof coin in good condition, because it has been in use for more than 4 decades.
At Heritage auctions in 2008, one of the 1978 – S penny with DCAM was sold for $4,313. So, to get a premium price for your proof coin, it has to be with a perfect rating of PR70, and that’s difficult to find.
History of the 1978 Lincoln Penny
From the onset, the penny coin didn’t fall under the category of “Lincoln penny” and that’s because it depicted the image of the Indian bust. Wheat ears were drawn on the reverse, and this was replaced by the Lincoln Memorial design in 1959.
In 1909, the U.S mint began the production of the Lincoln penny, because that was when Abraham would have turned 100 years if he was alive.
The 1978 penny was part of the regular currency of the Lincoln Memorial cent series that was introduced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The interesting fact about the inclusion of Abraham Lincoln’s image in the penny was that it was the first time a President’s picture was being used.
The sentimental value attached to this coin is what makes it have a higher worth than its face value, and yes, its copper content. It’s important to note that the U.S. mint has never minted any penny with 100% silver content.
The 1978 penny is the lowest denomination of the U.S. currency, and it’s a heavier version of the current mass of the Lincoln penny today, which is 2.5 grams.
It was minted by the U.S. mint in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The 1978 pennies were made of 95% copper and 5% zinc, with a total weight of 3.11 grams. Just right below the date, you can see the mint mark that indicates where a penny was minted.
On the observe side of the coin is the very familiar image of President Lincoln, and this was designed by Victor Brenner. Victor Brenner has his initials “VBD” in a very tiny fine print right underneath the shoulder of Lincoln’s bust. The image President Abraham Lincoln used portrays when he was the nation’s commander-in-chief at the time of the Civil War.
While the reverse side of the coin is the depiction of the Lincoln Memorial dedicated to the iconic president, it was designed by Frank Gasparro.
As with other Lincoln pennies, the 1978 coin comes with a smooth edge without any reeding.
1978 Lincoln Penny Grading
Knowing the exact grade of your 1978 penny is important, especially if you have any plans of selling it soon.
When it comes to coin grading, even the tiniest of detail is put into consideration. For your coin to be declared “mint” it needs to be in a perfect state, and this is impossible for coins as old as the 1978 penny.
You need to look out for strikes, luster, and attractiveness when determining the value of your 1978 penny. If your coin has a high glossy reflection, coin collectors will pay more to purchase it.
Error coins are often graded differently because they are valued based on the degree of their errors. So, if you have an error coin in mint state, you could be sitting on thousands of dollars.
Here’s a quick video if you are curious about how to grade a 1978 Lincoln penny.
Rare 1978 Lincoln Penny Error Lists
Rare 1978 Lincoln penny are unique and rare to find. There’s always a high demand for error coins, and when such error coin is only available in limited quantities, their worth increases further.
Errors usually happen during the minting process, and the 1978 penny seems to have quite a number of interesting errors that many coin collectors find attractive.
Some examples of the 1978 penny errors include:
1. 1978 Penny Double Die Error
The double die error is one of the most common errors in coin mintage, but still highly sought after by coin collectors.
In the 1978 mintage, this error occurred when there was a misalignment in the die used to strike the coin. This resulted in a double image that appears on top of the original image. The error can occur anywhere, it could be in front of the Lincoln Memorial design or on the words inscribed on the observe side of the coin.
The majority of double die errors in the 1978 pennies are minor, and it’ll be hard to sell those at a premium price. ideally, the worth of a 1978 penny with the double die error is $30 to $50. But, if the error is a very visible one, you should be able to sell it for a higher price.
2. 1978 Penny Minted On A Dime Planchet
Another common error with the 1978 penny is the dime planchet error. The 1978 penny was struck on a planchet specially used for dime mintage, and this resulted in a copper-nickel blend penny.
The resulting coin is smaller in size and thickness than a regular 1978 penny, so it’s pretty easy to spot one when you hold it.
In 2014, a 1978 penny with the dime planchet error was sold for $176.25.
3. 1978 Penny Re-punched Error
The 1978 penny with the re-punched error is an interesting error coin in the history of U.S. coinage. This error happened when a mint worker mistakenly put the design and letter of a coin into the die more than once. As a result, the coin has a double image that appears a little bit offset.
Sometimes, the coins usually have double letters because it was initially struck on the wrong side, and they had to be corrected. In cases like these, it’ll be easy to tell that a previous letter was struck, but it had to be corrected. Depending on how visible the re-punched letter is, the 1978 penny can sell for $3 to $10.
4. 1978 Penny BIE Error
The BIE error occurs when the lettering on the observe side of the coin “LIBERTY” shows a small die break between the “B” and “E”, thereby creating the illusion of the letters “BIE”. This error is usually noticeable, but they don’t always worth so much.
Depending on the depth of the BIE error, this coin can be valued between $6 to $20.
Watch this video to learn more about other error coins in the 1978 penny mintage.
1. What Is The Value Of The 1978 Lincoln Penny?
In circulated condition, the 1978 Lincoln penny is worth only one cent. However, the value will be much higher if in uncirculated condition, although it’s almost impossible to see a 1978 penny in mint state, as it’s an old coin.
2. What’s The Composition Of The 1978 Lincoln Penny?
The 1978 Lincoln penny is made of 95% copper and 5% zinc.
3. Are There Any Valuable 1978 Pennies?
The 1978 penny itself is not a rare or valuable coin, but the ones with errors will sell for a premium price. for instance, the 1978 penny with a double die error was sold on eBay for $79.95.
4. Can I Sell My 1978 Lincoln Penny For More Than Its Face Value?
Selling your 1978 penny for more than face value is possible, but that’ll depend on different factors. Error 1978 pennies are worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars, based on the severity of the error. Also, if your coin is in mint state, it’ll definitely sell for more than its face value.
5. What’s The Condition Of A Typical 1978 Lincoln Penny?
A typical 1978 Lincoln penny is likely to be worn out and damaged, due to the frequency with which it’s been used.
6. Where Can I Buy A 1978 Lincoln Penny?
Check out platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon if you are looking for a reputable source to get 1978 Lincoln pennies. When it comes to buying pennies, be certain it’s from a credible and trusted collector, because a lot of individuals sell counterfeit coins as the real deal.
7. Where Can I Find the Mint Mark on a 1978 Lincoln Penny?
The mint mark is inscribed under the date on the observe side of the coin. However, if the 1978 penny was minted in Philadelphia, it’ll have no mint mark.
Over 9 billion 1978 Lincoln pennies were minted in the U.S. mint making it a very common coin that can still be found in circulation today.
Due to the conditional nature of the 1978 penny, it’s only worth a significant amount in the highest grades. Finding a 1978 Lincoln penny in mint state is rare, as they are only found in unopened mint rolls.