Do Not Spend This Wheat Penny: How to Spot Them

Back of U.S. Wheat Penny - Closeup stock photo
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Collecting coins is not just a nostalgic hobby; it can also prove to be a valuable endeavor. Among the sought-after coins in the U.S., Wheat Pennies hold a special place, with some editions being quite rare and fetching a high price.

If you have a penny collection or stumble upon old coins, it’s essential to know which ones are valuable. Here’s a guide to identifying some of the most coveted Wheat Pennies, inspired by insights from the YouTube channel couchcollectibles.

1914-D Wheat Penny

  • Significance: The 1914-D Wheat Penny is especially scarce. With just over a million minted, its rarity makes it a prized possession.
  • How to Spot: Look at the date and the mint mark. If it reads 1914 with a ‘D’ mint mark, you might have a winner.
  • Value: Even if the coin is in poor condition, it could still fetch over $100. If it’s in good shape, the price jumps into the thousands.

1917 Double Die Obverse Wheat Penny

  • Significance: The highlight of this coin is the double lettering due to a minting error.
  • How to Spot: Examine the coin’s front (obverse) for double lettering, which is a clear indication of this rare piece.
  • Value: Even a poorly graded coin of this type can garner over $180. With a good grading, its worth can skyrocket into the thousands.

1922 D Mintmark Error Wheat Penny

  • Significance: The coin has a missing ‘D’ mint mark, making it a rare find. Note that this error is also prevalent in the 1924 and 1931 editions.
  • How to Spot: Carefully check for the absence of the ‘D’ mint mark.
  • Value: Such a coin was known to have sold for $380.
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1936 Double Die Obverse Wheat Penny

  • Significance: This coin is characterized by its double lettering on the obverse due to a minting error.
  • How to Spot: As with the 1917 edition, look for double lettering on the front of the coin.
  • Value: A coin with good grading is bound to fetch a handsome sum.

1955 Double Die Obverse Wheat Penny

  • Significance: This particular coin showcases an evident doubling on its entire obverse side, making it a rare find.
  • How to Spot: Look for clear and pronounced doubling on each letter and number on the coin’s front.
  • Value: Owing to its rarity, this penny can be worth thousands regardless of its grade.

Before you spend that old penny, give it a closer look. You might be holding onto a piece of history that could be worth more than you think. Always remember to handle such coins with care to preserve their condition, and consider seeking expert appraisal to determine their true value.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.

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