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1964 Penny Value

The penny is the United States one-cent denomination. It was one of the first coins minted by the US Mint back when it was established in 1792.

Nowadays, the Lincoln Cent is usually the go-to option to get started with a collection. It is one of the oldest designs still minted to this day.

Among over a hundred strikes, the 1964 penny isn't particularly rare. With a mintage of over 5 billion specimens, it is even possible to find some of these coins still in circulation.

However, there are a few variations that a keen collector should keep an eye out for. In this article, we are going to cover the 1964 penny value, including some examples that might be quite a surprise.

Factors Affecting 1964 Penny Value

As with any other American coin, the 1964 penny has a face value. However, the actual price a coin collector will be willing to pay for this coin will be mainly affected by the coloration, the coin's rarity, condition if it is an error variety, and its historical background. That concept is called numismatic value.

Historical Background

In the early '60s, silver usage was insanely high in the industry and coinage. Silver hoarders then believed that the price of silver would rise, storing silver, including 90% circulating silver coins, which made the United States enter a coin scarcity.

So, all production of 90% silver coinage was discontinued. Only the Kennedy half dollars, dated 1965 to 1970, would have silver, but still with just 40% silver in their composition.

Sometimes, this habit of hoarding coins will extend to other types of metals, including 95% copper coins, such as the 1964 penny. Interestingly, it was believed that the shortage was caused by collectors and not people melting the coins to retain their silver content.

Mint Marks

Mint marks are a great deal for coin collectors and the numismatic community as a whole.

The 1964 penny coins that went into circulation were minted in two of the US Mint's branches: the Philadelphia Mint and the Denver Mint. The ones produced in Philadelphia do not have any mint marks, but the ones from Denver carry the characteristic "D" mint mark below the mint year on the obverse side, now referred to as the 1964-D Penny.

At the time, Eva Adams, the US Mint director, was also planning to release a special mint set of coins in 1965. It would include not only the Lincoln Memorial cent but other coins as well. The idea was to please collectors who were hoarding coins and avoid a coin shortage. These special sets were produced in the San Francisco Mint and officially released in 1965, as planned, until 1967.

However, a few of these sets with the 1964 mint year were found at Adams' estate after she passed away and her home was sold. Nobody knows for sure why the 1964 SMS Penny (San Francisco Set) exists. One theory is that Adams ordered them as prototypes for the upcoming special sets in the following year. Though produced in San Francisco, these coins had no mint marks.

The Lincoln Cent Design

1964 Penny Design

The famous design of the Lincoln Cent debuted in 1909 and replaced the Indian Cent as a celebration of former President Lincoln's 100th birthday. It was the first time a president debuted in an American coin.

Obverse: Shows the effigy of President Abraham Lincoln, designed by Victor David Brenner in 1909.

Reverse: From 1909 to 1958, the reverse showed two sheaves of wheat, hence the moniker Wheat Penny. From 1959 to 2008, the reverse depicted an image of the Lincoln Memorial designed by Frank Gasparro to commemorate the former president's 150th birthday. Surrounding the edges of the coin, there are the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, with E. PLURIBUS UNUM (the national motto of the country, which means "out of many, one") right below it.

After 2010, the reverse shows the Union Shield, representing Lincoln's desire to preserve the United States as a single, united country.

Lincoln Cent Colorations

The color of a copper penny will affect its value because it tells the numismatic professional the level of conservation of the coin.

When recently minted, the copper coin will present a bright reddish-orange hue. As the coin suffers exposure to the air, it reacts to the natural gasses of our atmosphere, which causes it to tarnish.

Therefore, the brighter and more reddish-orange the coin appears, the higher the premium will be over similar ones with a tone closer to brown.

Red

1964 Penny Obverse - Red

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Red coins like this have most of their original luster. Usually abbreviated as "RD", this attractive color is immensely appreciated among the coin collection community, as it indicates the coin is well conserved. High-quality coins such as this are expected to be worth a few more dollars than their counterparts.

Red-Brown

1964 Penny Obverse - Red-Brown

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Usually abbreviated as "RB", it means that the coin has started a tarnishing process. It includes when some parts of the coin are already brown but still retain an orange-red-like tone.

Brown

1964 Penny Obverse - Brown

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Represented as "BN," it is usually completely covered in a deep brown tone on its whole surface and has lost most of its shine. It also indicates that the coin was exposed to air and might not be as "new" as its Red counterpart.

Uncirculated Condition

Uncirculated is a term used to refer to a condition of a coin that has its mint state condition preserved. They usually are graded between MS60 and MS70 on the Sheldon Grading scale. The coin grading is a way of communicating in a globally recognizable language, which is the condition of a coin.

Note that it doesn't obligatory mean that the coin has never been in circulation, but rather means that the coin has an uncirculated condition. In addition, even coins with a brown coloration can be in uncirculated condition if the design elements are still intact and the coin does not show scratches on its surface.

1964 Penny Value - Varieties and Error Coins

1964 Lincoln Penny Regular Strike

Regular strikes of the 1964 penny aren't particularly rare. The Philadelphia branch alone produced just over 2.5 billion units of this coin that year. However, finding one specimen presenting its original reddish luster and in uncirculated condition won't be something you do when looking through your pocket change.

An MS67 specimen was sold at an auction in 2016 for the record bid of $7,931. However, PCGS has graded three specimens in MS67+ condition and evaluated them at $13,500.

1964-D Lincoln pennies (Denver Mint Mark)

1964-D Penny

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The 1964-D penny is relatively common in circulated grades until MS64. In MS65, they become harder to find. In MS66 condition, they become rare, with maybe less than 1,000 available. The ones minted at Denver Mint were the only ones that had a mint mark that year.

In MS67, it is one of the most difficult dates to be found from the 60s, especially from the Denver facility, and there is no individual graded higher than MS67, according to PCGS.

The auction record for this coin stands at $4,025, achieved for an MS67 specimen in 2012 at Stack's Bowers auction house.

1964 (P) Proof Coins

1964 Penny Proof Coin

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A proof coin is a specially produced coin distinguished by its polished, mirror-like finish and sharp details. This is an example of a proof Lincoln cent with most of its original luster preserved.

These coins are typically struck using specially prepared dies and planchets (blanks), which results in a flawless appearance.

Proofs are often created for collectors and numismatists and are not intended for circulation. They are typically produced in limited quantities and may come in special packaging or sets. Proof coins are prized for their beauty collecting appeal and numismatic value.

The auction record for this proof MS69 Red coin is $2,585, set for a PR70RD specimen on January 4, 2017, at Heritage Auctions.

1964 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Reverse

1964 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Reverse

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This variety has a visible doubling of the inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" on the reverse. A double die is usually a minting mistake caused by a misalignment of the die or hub during the hubbing process, resulting in a duplication of some (or all) of the design elements.

The auction record for this was in 2013 when an MS64 was sold for $550 at Great Collections.

1964 Penny Struck Over A 1963 Penny

1964 Penny Struck over 19631964 Penny Struck Over 1963 Reverse

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As the name suggests, this was a case of a 1964 -D Lincoln Cent struck over another 1963 -D issue. This is a rare error coin, and you can still see the obverse and obverse rotated on the coin surface.

(No precise price found)

1964 Penny Clipped Planchet Error

1964 Penny Clipped Planchet Error

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A coin with a portion of its surface missing could result from various scenarios. It might occur if the coin becomes entangled in machinery and is partially chopped off. Or, it could happen during the planchet stage if the disc is sliced before or during the minting process.

Prices for clipped coin errors vary. It is possible to find it for $35.

1964 Off-Center Penny Error

1964 Off-Center Penny Error

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Even though this uncommon error looks like worth thousands of dollars, it is actually not that valuable. As you can see, just part of the design appears on this coin that was probably not correctly positioned on the press.

This results in a coin that is not perfectly circular. The coin gains an odd look, and a lot of the planchet space is visible.

It is possible to find one of these for even $60.

1964 Triple Strike Penny

1964 Triple Strike Penny

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This cent went through three strikes with significant rotation between each one. During the second and third strikes, much of the initial strike was overlapped. However, the top of Lincoln's head is still visible.

The third strike obscured the right half of the second strike, although portions of Lincoln's head, LIBERTY, remain a bit visible.

(no precise price information was found)

1964 1C SMS, RD (Special Strike)

1964 1C SMS, RD (Special Strike)

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According to PCGS, back in 1964, the U.S. Mint struck circulation coins and proof coins, and apparently for no confirmed reason, in 1964, they also struck a limited number of Special Strike coins, known as Special Mint sets (SMS); but it is believed that only a few dozen sets of Special Strike coins were struck that year.

There are only 20 specimens graded and known by PCGS; most examples of SMS pennies are extremely scarce and might not be easy to find in your pocket change.

The last price record for one of those finest known examples of the SMS coins was in 2019 when an SP67 was sold for $15,600 at Heritage Auctions.

1964 1C Lincoln Cent Struck on a Silver Dime Planchet

1964 1C Lincoln Cent Struck on a Silver Dime Planchet Obverse1964 1C Lincoln Cent Struck on a Silver Dime Planchet Reverse

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This type of error is often classified as a transitional off-metal error. The image above shows an Uncirculated 1964 Lincoln Cent Struck on a Clad Dime Planchet. The dime's planchets are a little smaller, which makes the Lincoln cents design almost fade at the borders.

Dimes dated 1964 were still struck in silver, and the pennies were struck in copper and zinc at that time, so the press was probably fed with the wrong planchet.

A Mint State (MS62 Red) coin sold for $1,351.25 in 2017.

Price Chart

The price guide below shows the estimated current value of the 1964 penny issues according to PCGS parameters. It does not represent with one hundred percent accuracy what you might find in private transactions within the coin-collecting market.

Price value chart (USD)

Mint Mark

MS65

MS66

MS67

Auction Records

1964, Brown (Regular Strike) no mint mark penny value

$2

$1

-

$5,750 • MS64 • 05-05-2004 • Heritage Auctions

1964, Red & Brown (Regular Strike) no mint mark

$4

$40 (66+)

-

$2,588 • MS63 • 07-30-2003 • Bowers & Merena

1964, Red (Regular Strike) no mint mark

$22 (65+)

$65 (66+)

$15,500

$7,931 • MS67RD • 01-06-2016 • Heritage Auctions

1964-D, Brown (Regular Strike)

-

-

-

$1,093 • MS62 • 02-19-2007 • Heritage Auctions

1964-D, Red & Brown (Regular Strike)

$4

-

-

$2,040 • MS64RB • 07-05-2022 • Heritage Auctions

1964-D 1C, RD (Regular Strike)

$20

$26

$4,750 (67+)

$4,025 • MS67 • 03-22-2012 • Stack's Bowers

Data from PCGS 

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discussed the main factors affecting the 1964 penny value. You learned that the numismatic value when it comes to coin collecting plays an essential role in the prices of coins. It takes into consideration their condition, color, and historical background.

At that time in history, it survived the coin shortage and still stands as one of the most emblematic pieces of American coinage.

FAQs

Is the 1964 penny worth anything?

The value of a 1964 penny is mainly based on its color, condition, rarity, and mint mark. For example, a 1964 memorial penny, in uncirculated condition 65+, struck with the Philadelphia mint mark, can be worth around $1.16, according to the USA coin book.

What to look for on a 1964 SMS penny?

The 1964 Special Mint Sets usually present a smooth, satin finish. Their edges tend to be square and sharp. The inscriptions are also sharp compared to circulation strike coins, and their surface is not mirrored like proof coins, but they are not as simple as regular pennies.

Is there a 1964 steel penny?

No. The pennies made of steel are from 1943, when copper supplies were being used in war efforts. 1964 pennies, in turn, are copper coins made of 95% Copper content and 5% Zinc, which does not include metal errors.

What penny is worth 5000?

The 1943 Penny (Regular Penny Strike) is one of the various examples of valuable pennies. According to the PCGS price guide, it can range from 5,000 to 35,000 in Mint State condition. They are special because it was the only time the US Mint struck steel coins since the copper was being saved to be used in war efforts.

What is the error on the 1964 penny planchet?

The most outstanding error of 1964 is maybe the one 1964 Lincoln cent from Philadelphia that was struck on a planchet intended for a silver dime. And because it was struck on the wrong planchet, it is classified as a Transitional Off Metal Error. This error coin was sold for $1,351.25 at heritage auctions in 2017.

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Mo Menezes
Mo Menezes
Researcher and Contributor

Murilo (Mo) Menezes is an attorney and tenured English professor. His passion for economics and coinage led him to the gold and silver industry where he writes in-depth articles about collectible coins; as well as coin news and investing articles...

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