People often use the expression, “I don’t have a penny” to indicate they have no money. But did you know that having the right penny in your pocket or purse can fill your bank account with the big bucks?
If your penny was struck in 1969 and is still in the uncirculated mint state or is a 1969 double die penny, you could sell it for a whopping six-figure dollar.
So, is your 1969 penny worth plenty of money?
This article has all the answers for you. We tell you what makes a 1969 penny worth a lot of money and how much you could get from selling it. But first things first, the 1969 penny has an interesting history and design.
1969 Penny History and Design
They say history makes us wise, and knowing the historical events around the 1969 penny can make you a wiser coin collector or seller.
Several historical events define the penny design on both the reverse and the obverse sides.
The Centenary of Lincoln’s Birth
When America commemorated 100 years since the birth of the 16th president in 1909, the penny changed its obverse design from the ‘Indian head’ to Lincoln’s bust. The image, by Victor David Brenner, has stayed on the penny to date.
To the top of the right-facing image of Lincoln is the inscription, IN GOD WE TRUST. The word LIBERTY appears in a horizontal presentation to the left behind the image.
The mint year, 1969, appears on the right in front of the image. Beneath the year is the mint mark for pennies struck and the Denver (D) and San Francisco (S) mints. The Philadelphia Penny bears no mint mark.
The 150 Anniversary of Lincoln’s Birthday
When the US Mint struck the 1969 penny, America had changed the reverse design of the coin 10 years earlier to feature Lincoln’s Memorial in Washington.
Frank Gasparro created the memorial design that marked 150 years since the former US president’s birth. The artist’s name features in the ‘FG’ initials at the bottom-right of the memorial image.
Alongside Lincoln’s Memorial, the reverse of the 1969 coin also presents the country name, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, curved over the memorial.
Inside the concave formed by the country name over the memorial is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The slogan is closely associated with Lincoln’s effort to keep America united.
The coin’s denomination, ONE PENNY, appears in a curve below the memorial.
1969 Penny Details
Alongside the interesting historical facts of the 1969 penny design, other details on the penny are equally important for coin collectors and anyone with an eye for coin value.
1969 Penny Specs:
- Mintage: 5,687,051,831
- Designer: Victor David Brenner (obverse) & Frank Gasparro (reverse)
- Metal Composition: 95% Copper, 5% Zinc
- Diameter: 19 mm
- Weight: 3.11 grams
- Thickness: 1.52mm
- Edge: Plain (no reeds)
1969 Penny Varieties
The mint location defines the main 1969 penny varieties:
|1969 No Mint Mark penny
|1969 D penny
|1969 S penny
As you notice later in the article, penny variety can majorly determine the 1969 penny value.
1969 Penny Value
The 1969 penny has a minimal face value of $0.01. When considered for its melt value, the penny is worth $0.025.
However, you should look at a 1969 penny as a potentially more valuable coin if it fits any of these descriptions:
- It is valued for its variety, going by the mint mark.
- It is still in good condition (almost uncirculated), with most of the features still well-defined.
- It is uncirculated and has preserved its lustrous mint state.
- It has one of the rare errors that interest coin collectors.
If your 1969 penny fits one of these descriptions, you are in luck! Read the rest of the article to find out exactly what your penny is worth.
1969 Penny No Mint Mark Value
The 1969 no mint mark penny is the variety struck at the Philadelphia Mint. In an uncirculated MS65 grade condition, the 1969 no mint mark penny is worth approximately $1.16 in the coin market.
Also, you will find several 1969 pennies with a one-figure value ($1-$9) listed on online markets. Unfortunately, most of these have unspecified certification details. As such, you should consult a professional coin grader before you purchase these pennies.
But don’t stop there. If your 1969 penny no mint mark has a higher grade or presents rare errors, you can sell it for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
In fact, the highest-valued 1969 no mint mark penny has an MS62RD grade and presents 2 rare errors:
- It has a double struck error.
- It is struck on a Canadian dime.
This 1969 no mint mark penny sold for $3,818 at the Heritage Auctions in 2019.
Below is a summary of the high-priced 1969 no mint mark pennies, including the highest-selling one mentioned above.
|1969 Penny No Mint Mark Value (Highest Prices)
1969 D Penny Value
The 1969 D Penny was struck at the Denver Mint. Like the 1969 penny no mint mark, the 1969 D penny value is approximately $1.16 in an uncirculated MS65 grade. However, the 1969 penny has sold for much more in higher grades.
So far, the most valuable 1969 D penny sold for $7,475 at the Heritage Auctions in 2010. The penny has an MS67RD grading and presents in a mint-red glowing surface and dark-red margins.
Several other 1969 D pennies have sold for four-figure prices, with some recording higher prices than those recorded by the 1969 no mint mark penny.
Below is a record of other four-figure-price 1969 D pennies, including the highest-selling penny.
|1969 D Penny Value (Highest Prices)
1969 S Penny Value
The 1969 penny S mint mark was struck at the San Francisco Mint as a Proof penny. In its regular PR65 uncirculated state, the 1967 S penny value is $1.16, the same as the D and no mint mark varieties.
Nonetheless, regular 1969-S pennies with a higher grading condition have sold for higher prices. The highest sale for a regular 1969-S penny is $4,406 for an MS67RD penny sold at the Heritage Auctions in 2014.
Other four-figure sales for a regular 1969-S penny are in the table below:
|1969-S Penny Value (Highest Prices for Regular Penny)
If you noticed, we underlined that these are prices for a regular 1969-S penny. That’s because there’s a particularly interesting detail about the 1969 S penny: about 100 pennies have a double die obverse error.
You will find details about this 1969-S double die obverse error variety in the following section.
1969 Penny Errors
1969 S Penny Double Die Obverse Error
In 1969, the US Mint introduced a new master hub for the obverse side of the penny. This new hub ensured better design clarity and longer die life.
But, the same year, the S penny variety also presented an exceptionally rare error: the double die obverse error.
The 1969-S Lincoln penny-doubled die obverse is one of the most sought-after error coins in the Lincoln Memorial series. In fact, it is considered one of the top coin varieties in the entire US coin catalog.
The NGC records for the top 10 certified coin auction prices indicate that 8 of these coins are 1969-S pennies with a double die obverse error.
This error shows in double letters for the word LIBERTY and the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST. The numbers of the mint year are also double-struck.
1969-S penny double die obverse error coins have sold for record six-figure prices. The highest sale for a 1969-S penny double die obverse error currently stands at $126,500 for an MS64RD. The penny sold at the Heritage Auctions in 2008.
Numerous other five-figure 1969-S penny double die obverse error coins have sold over the years. You can explore the sale records for the highly-valued 1969-S penny double die obverse error coins in the NGC records.
So, what does a 1969-S doubled die penny look like?
If you think you have one of these rare pennies, this World Numismatic News video will show you how to ID a 1969-S penny double die obverse error coin:
1969 Penny Double Struck Error
The double struck error occurs when a coin does not eject fully from the dies and is struck a second round. The extent of the double struck error describes how far it sits from the center of the coin.
Some 1969 penny no mint mark and 1969 D penny double struck error have sold for three-figure prices.
For example, a 1969 penny no mint mark with a 55% off-center double stuck error and an MS64RB grading sold for $408 at the Heritage Auctions in 2021.
Similarly, a 1969 D penny with a 60% off-center double struck error and an MS65RD grading sold for $444 at the Heritage Auctions in 2021.
1969 Penny Struck on a Dime Blank
A 1969 penny struck on a dime blank does not necessarily present other errors except that it is struck on the wrong planchet. This error makes it a rare find for coin collectors, adding to its market value.
In fact, an MS65RD 1969 no mint mark penny struck on a dime planchet sold for $408 at the Heritage Auctions in 2021.
1969 Penny Die Break Error
A die break, or cuds error, forms when a part of the die surface breaks and falls off. This can result from a coin sticking onto an overused die, causing it to crack.
Because it is not a common occurrence, a die break can appreciate the value of a coin. An AU55BN 1969 penny with a die crack error sold for $204 at the Heritage Auctions in 2021.
1969 Penny Floating Roof Error
Some penny collectors and sellers have shown interest in 1969 pennies alleged to have one of the rare errors below:
- 1969 S penny floating roof
- 1969 D penny no FG floating roof
From discussions on the NGC forums, a floating roof (over Lincoln’s memorial) happens when a coin is over-polished, making the die fade off on shallow areas.
Apparently, this is a common feature on the 1969 D and S varieties. So, you need a 1969 floating roof penny in a perfect grade to sell it for good money.
No sale of a 1969 penny with a floating roof error appears on the official records of certified grading services like NGC. However, there are some sale listings for such coins on online markets.
For example, when we wrote this article, a 1969 D penny no FG floating roof was listed for $200 on Etsy. Another of the same variety had a higher listing of $499 on the same online market.
Similarly, two 1969 S penny floating roof coins are listed for $1,200 and $150 on eBay. And another 1969 D floating roof penny, no FG initials on reverse, listed for $1999. None of these 1969 penny floating roof varieties had grading details.
If you want to authenticate a 1969 D penny no FG value or other 1969 pennies that appear to have a floating roof, your best bet is to consult a certified coin grader.
Why is the 1969 S Penny Rare?
There are several reasons the 1969 S penny is rare.
First, only 544,375,000 pennies of this variety were minted compared to over five billion and over one billion pennies of the D and no mint varieties, respectively.
Second, the 1969 S pennies were not for circulation and are, therefore, hard to find in your pocket change or a roll of coins.
How Much Is a 1969 Double Die Penny Worth?
A 1969 penny double die is highly valued among coin collectors and can cost over $100,000.
So far, the 1969 S doubled die penny value peaked at the 2008 Heritage Auctions sale when an MS64RD 1969 penny double die coin sold for $126,500. Numerous other 1969 penny double die coins have sold for five-figure prices over the years.
How Can You Tell if a 1969 Penny is Rare?
A rare 1969 penny presents in an uncirculated MS65 grade condition or higher. Also, coin collectors consider a 1969 penny rare if it has valued errors on either the obverse or reverse sides.
So far, the most valued 1969 rare penny is the S variety with the double die obverse error.
If you are a coin collector, you know that a six-figure value for a rare penny is not an everyday occurrence.
The 1969 penny is considered one of the most valuable coins in the Lincoln series. If you found one, it could be the lucky charm penny that changes your life in an instant. However, you need to have the right one.
If ever you find a 1969-S penny double die obverse error coin, hold tightly to it. One of those sold for a whopping $126,500 at the Heritage Auctions in 2008. Yours could be the one that breaks that record.