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What Is A Penny Worth?

Updated on August 9, 2012

Is The Penny Worth It?

Tell me what child does not smile big when he has found a penny on the ground! All shiny and gleaming from the copper, a penny will literally trip you or at least stop your pace when found laying in wait. As adults, even that small child which still resides in us wants to pick up that penny. In this country, we are on the verge of disposing of this coin. Though they fill up space in our pockets and piggy banks, it seems no one uses the penny much anymore except for history and lore. Can we really live without the penny? What is a penny worth?

“Penny for your thoughts?” Penny comes from the British word pence. They represent 1/100th of a unit. The penny coin was first used in Egypt. To the Greeks it is called Drachma. To the Romans, Denarius. In the United States, the “pence” coin takes on a new image.


The penny was first minted in the US in 1787 with a design by Benjamin Franklin. The front of the coin was a sundial with sun spraying rays from above. This is called the Fugio penny. Fugio is Latin for “I Fly!”. Also on front face of this beautiful piece are the words, “Mind Your Business”. The back face is the US Motto, “We Are One”, surrounded by an etched circle of 13 rings. This was not the official design but the first cast of one and used until an agreement came to past of the Liberty.

“Wish I had two pennies to rub together” Soon the Roman face of Liberty was the penny until 1859. From this point, Liberty received competition from the Indian Head penny. Up to 1864, this one cent coin was 100% copper, however during this period up to 1909 the pennies were 5% zinc and 95% copper. With this much copper, what is a penny worth to the war? During WWII, the pennies were steel covered, sparing copper for the war.

In 1909, on the 100th birthday of President Lincoln, the Lincoln penny was fashioned. With a magnifying glass, look at the Lincoln Memorial on the backside. The craftsmanship is outstanding when you see President Lincoln sitting in the chair! Again on Lincoln’s 150th birthday, 1959, we updated the Lincoln Mint and again in 2009!

“Pinch your pennies” and “Pennywise”. Today the US Penny is pressed more than any other coin. There are many schools and organizations who are taking advantage of this sleepy little copper token, by gathering these one cent coins and discovering how quickly it grows and they reap! Coin collectors know pennies are worth examining. There are only four known 1793 pennies existing today. What is a penny worth with these dates? Amazingly, around $275,000.00, while a 1943, 100% copper, is worth $80,000.00. So be sure to take a good look at those coins before you through them in a dusty corner bowl. It could pay off pinching those pennies!

“Find a penny, pick it up and all day you will have good luck”. Because of the US coin’s copper content, the spirit of the penny became associated with luck. Copper was a widely known used metal from recent ancient times. It was revered as precious and used in ceremonies and rituals. Copper is also associated with the Greek God “Venus”, allowing protection against evil and bringing energy of luck. Many people have been known to carry a penny in their pocket for a talisman.

“Pennies from Heaven”. It is said that when an Angel is thinking of you, he/she tosses down a penny for you to find. Again the sacredness of copper gives way to communing with the spirit world. It is time we think about the Angels and use those pennies at the bottom of our purses, pant pockets, car cubby holes and jars. Pay that clerk the exact change and employ a few more coin counters. With every passing of a penny from hand to hand, an Angel’s heart will feel some warmth again.

What is a penny worth? After examining the history and lore of the penny, you be the judge!


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    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 5 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      This remind me of the saying "A little bit of something good is better than a whole lot of nothing"

      You said it well.