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Top 14 Rarest Wheat Penny Errors and Their Value

The rarest wheat penny errors can significantly increase the price of regular wheat pennies up to a whopping $1 million price tags. This is the case for the DDO error in the 1958 pennies and the ‘wrong planchet’ errors that plagued the 1943 and 1944 pennies.

The top wheat penny error list starts with these three errors:

Rarest Wheat Penny Errors

  • 1958 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Pennies
  • 1943 Bronze Cent
  • 1944 Steel Penny

Read on to dive into wheat penny errors that have sold for over $10,000 at auctions. Get to know what makes these coins unique and why the 1909-1958 Lincoln Wheat Penny series is still a coveted series up to date.

Rare Wheat Penny Errors/Varieties and Their Value

Wheat Penny Error Coin Grade Highest Auction Price Current Valuation
1958 DDO Wheat Penny MS65 $1,136,250 1,140,000
1943 Bronze Cent MS64 $840,000 $1,050,000
1944 Steel Penny MS64 $408,000 $185,000
1909-S VDB Penny MS67RD $168,000
1917 Doubled Die Obverse MS67+RD $120,000 $135,000
1955 Doubled Die Obverse MS65 $114,000 $288,000
1922 No D Strong Reverse MS65 $82,250 $115,000
1959-D Wheat Penny “Mule” Lincoln Cent MS60+ $60,000 $50,000
1944-D/S Over mintmark (OMM) Penny MS67+ RD $49,937.50 $57,500
1909 VDB Doubled Die Obverse Penny MS67+RD $31,200 $58,000
1936 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny MS66 RD $21,850 $45,000
1943-D/D Re-punched Mintmark Penny MS67 $21,275 $19,500
1943 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny MS67 $10,000 $8,500
1941 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Penny MS66RD $9,200 $35,000

1. 1958 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny Error – $1,136,250

1958 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny Error

1958 was the last year of the Wheat Pennies, marking an end to this beloved series. Pennies made in this year are highly sought after for their historical significance, but none are more valuable than the 1958 DDO variety.

Known as the King of Double Dies, this 1958 DDO Penny is the rarest DDO coin of all time, featuring a low mintage and exceptional quality for a coin of its caliber. It has fetched over $1 million at auctions and maintained collector’s interest for over half a century.

The coin features a Doubled Die Obverse error on LIBERTY inscriptions at the obverse. Only three known examples make this coin a mega-rare error coin since other 1958 Pennies without DDO were minted in plenty (over 200 million).

DDO error means the dies used to strike the coin were improperly manufactured. The malformed die, in this case, contains duplicate lettering on the word LIBERTY, causing the image struck on the coin to feature a doubled lettering of the word.

A 1958 DDO in MS64-RD is worth $340,000 in today’s market. MS65 is the highest known grade, worth more than $1,100,000.

Highest auction prices:

2. 1943 Bronze Cent Error – $840,000

1943 Bronze Cent Error

Also known as the 1 million dollar penny, the 1943 Bronze penny adorns a “Struck on Bronze Planchet” error grounded in World War II history.

During preparations for the Second World War, the U.S. Mint had to make a tough decision to save vital materials that would be needed for ammunition during the war efforts.

Copper was a vital metal in making weaponry; therefore, copper-nickel’s then-penny composition was changed to a zinc-coated steel combo. Steel planchets were then used for the 1943 pennies, and all the previous years’ copper-nickel (bronze) planchets were used during the war.

However, during this transition, a few bronze planchets from 1942 found their way into the production process, giving rise to a limited number of 1943 pennies minted on bronze planchets.

1943 Pennies were made in the three main mints: Denver (With a D mintmark), Philadelphia (Without a P mintmark), and San Francisco (With an S Mintmark). It is estimated that less than 20 exist today.

In today’s market, the 1943-S, 1943-D, and 1943-P Bronze Pennies are worth $1,000,000 in MS63 and $1,050,000 in MS64.

About 5 coins are known to bear the 1943-S mint mark, but the 1943-D is the most unique and expensive.

The highest known documented sale went for more than $800,000, but other reports have mentioned sales of over $1 million to private collectors, hence the name “a million-dollar penny.”

Highest auction prices:

To differentiate the two varieties, 1943 bronze pennies weighed 3.11 grams, were silver-gray in color, and comprised 95% copper, 5% tin, and zinc. The 1943 Steel Pennies, on the other hand, weigh 2.70 grams, are reddish-brown, and are made up of low-grade steel base coated with zinc.

3. 1944 Steel Wheat Penny Error – $408,000

1944 Steel Wheat Penny Error

In 1944, the U.S. Mint went back to striking wheat pennies using 95% copper and 5% zinc planchets. This is because, after a year of making steel coins, the U.S. Mint realized that steel was less durable than copper-clad coins since they were prone to rust and degraded faster when exposed to moisture.

However, due to the transition, some of the zinc-coated steel planchets used in 1943 pennies were left in production, leading to some of these steel planchets striking a limited number of 1944 Wheat Pennies.

This mistake happened in the Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco mints – producing the 1944-P, 1944-D, and 1944-S Steel pennies.

It is important to note that 1944 Steel Pennies are less valuable and less rare than the 1943 Bronze Pennies. It is estimated that more than 20 exist today.

Highest auction prices:

4. 1909-S VDB Variety – $168,000

1909-S VDB Variety

Minted in 1909, the 1909-S VDB marks the first year of production for the Lincoln Wheat Cent Design in San Francisco (S).

The VDB initials stand for Victor David Brenner, the coin’s designer. He subtly placed his initials on the bottom of the reverse, near the wheat stalks. This was against Mint policy and was quickly removed, making coins with the initials incredibly rare.

The VDB initials were placed on the Philadelphia and San Francisco coins: the 1909 VDB and 1909-S VDB Wheat Pennies.

Of the two, the 1909-S VDB is the rarest and most expensive, worth more than $2,500 in MS63. MS67-RD is the highest known grade, valued at $175,000 in today’s market.

Other grades, such as MS65, are priced between $4,500 and $9,250, MS66 between $7,500 and $30,000, and MS64 grades between $3,150 and $5,750.

Highest auction prices:

5. 1917 Doubled Die Obverse – $120,000

1917 Doubled Die Obverse Error

Some 1917 pennies featured a Doubled Die Obverse error where the Date (1917) and Motto (WE TRUST) had visible doubling at the obverse side of the coin.

It is a very rare DDO error in uncirculated conditions, with less than 4 examples known to exist at MS67 or higher.

These coins are worth more than $3,000 in Mint State. The price is between $92,500 and $135,000 in MS67 and more than $8,000 in MS63 or higher.

Highest auction prices:

6. 1955 Doubled Die Obverse – $114,000

1955 Doubled Die Obverse Error

This is another DDO error coin with visible doubling at the ‘LIBERTY’ and ‘1955’ inscriptions on the obverse side.

1955 DDO coins in Mint State are worth more than $2,800. The highest known grade is the MS65-RD, valued at $52,500 – $288,000 according to PCGS Price Guides.

What makes these coins valuable is the fact that the DDO error was discovered in the same year of issuance. This led many people to stock the coins, leading to a high number of high-quality Mint State 1958 DDO coins that can be bought for thousands at auctions today.

Highest auction prices:

7. 1922 No D Strong Reverse – $82,250

1922 No D Strong Reverse Error

Officially known as the 1922 NO D Penny, Strong Reverse, FS 401, this coin was minted in the Denver Mint but did not have the usual ‘D’ mint mark you would expect from pennies made in that era.

This was caused by accidental polishing of the obverse die, removing the mintmark but also softening other details.

The reverse die, however, remained sharp and crisp, resulting in well-defined lettering and wheat stalks. This contrast between a worn obverse and a strong reverse is the defining characteristic of this variety.

1922 No D Strong Obverse coins are worth more than $14,000 in Mint State. The price is between $90,000 and $150,000 in MS65 and more than $20,000 in MS63 or higher.

MS65 is the highest known grade today; none higher has ever been found, but if you happen to find one, then you can be assured of more than $150,000.

The price increases if the coin has a striking Red (RD) color condition. These coins in MS64 are worth more than $275,000.

Highest auction prices:

8. 1959-D Wheat Penny “Mule” Lincoln Cent – $60,000

1959-D Wheat Penny “Mule” Lincoln Cent Error

The 1959-D “Mule” penny is among the most mysterious cents in U.S. minting history. Only one coin (MS60+) with this error is known to exist, and no one truly knows if it is fake or genuine.

Wheat Pennies were produced between 1909 and 1958. Lincoln Pennies with a Lincoln Memorial Building reverse were produced in 1959. However, due to a die error, this 1959-D coin was struck with a wheat reverse design.

It is important to note that PCGS and NGC have yet to be able to fully classify this coin as an authentic error coin. Instead, they have it listed as “No Decision,” a grading that the American Numismatic Association Certification Service concurred.

It is generally understood among experts that the coin is a fake. This is because the minting press works so fast that the possibility of only one coin with this error existing is completely impossible.

Despite this, its mystery and controversy have made it a highly sought-after piece amongst enthusiasts, selling for more than $20,000 at several auctions, with the most recent one in 2019 going for $60,000.

Highest auction prices:

9. 1944-D/S Over mintmark (OMM) Error – $49,937.50

1944-DS Over Mintmark (OMM) Error

The error in this coin is called an OMM error, where an ‘S’ mint mark is seen above the primary ‘D’ mint mark. You may need to use a magnifying lens to properly authenticate this error since, in some cases, it might be too faint to see.

The S visibility is much higher than the D in the most expensive varieties, and you can see the top of the S mint mark snuggling against the top of the D mint mark.

The highest known grade is the MS67-RD, which is priced between $40,000 and $57,500. MS60 is worth $300 – $400, and only MS65 or above are priced higher than $1,000.

Highest auction prices:

10. 1909 VDB Doubled Die Obverse – $31,200

1909 VDB Doubled Die Obverse Error

The 1909 VDB from Philadelphia is less valuable than the 1909-S VDB from San Francisco. However, there is a valuable and rare variant of the 1909 VDB penny with a DDO error.

The DDO error is pronounced on the ’19’ on the Date inscription as well as the ‘LIBERTY’, particularly on ‘R’ and ‘Y’.

The highest known grade is MS68-RD, which is worth more than $58,000. Those worth more than $1,000 are in MS67 or higher.

Highest auction prices:

11. 1936 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny – $21,850

1936 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny Error

There are three types of this DDO error. All have noticeable doubling on the obverse elements from LIBERTY to the Date and Lincoln’s Image.

All the varieties are worth more than $300 in MS60 and more than $1,000 in MS65 or higher.

The highest known grade is MS67-RD, valued at $45,000 in today’s market.

Highest auction prices:

12. 1943-D/D Re-punched Mintmark – $21,275

1943-DD Re-punched Mintmark Error

This is a 1943 Steel Penny from Denver (D) with a re-punched D mint mark. It features a D mark that was struck on top of another D mint mark that was already present on the planchets used.

The result of this came from the Denver Mint’s attempt to conserve material by reusing steel planchets from earlier pennies. These planchets already bore the mintmark, but for clarity and consistency, a new “D” was punched over the old one. The result? A visible double mintmark.

MS65 and higher are worth more than $1,000 in the open market, with the highest known grade (MS67) selling for up to $19,500. Only 12 specimens in MS67 are known to exist, making this another rare 1943 wheat penny.

Highest auction prices:

13. 1943 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny- $10,000

1943 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny Error

In this case, the DDO error is more visible on Lincoln’s lower lip and the ’19’ on the Date inscriptions.

The coin is worth more than $900 in MS66 or higher. The highest known grade is MS68, which is worth more than $2,100 in today’s market.

Highest auction prices:

14. 1941 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny – $9,200

1941 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Wheat Penny Error

The Philadelphia-made 1941 DDO error coins feature a more noticeable doubling on the north of the word ‘LIBERTY’ and at the east of ‘TRUST.’ Doubling can also be seen on the date, particularly the ‘4’ digit.

MS67-RD is the highest known grade, worth more than $35,000. MS63 grades are also valuable, priced between $350 and $625. Only MS65 and higher can be sold for more than $1,000.

Highest auction prices:

Also Read: Most Valuable Wheat Pennies

Conclusion

If you are looking for the rarest and most valuable wheat penny errors, then your number one pick should be the 1943 Bronze Cent or the 1958 DDO Penny- valued at more than $1,000,000 in their best conditions. They are the hardest-to-find wheat penny errors in the series’ entire history.

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