To many people, a “penny” is worth just 1 cent. It’s a coin that, with only one, you could buy absolutely nothing with, except maybe a paperclip from someone on the street. Little do some people know, some cents are so valuable that you could use just one to pay for a nice house or pay off your exceedingly expensive student loans from college. This list goes in order of date. They do not go in any particular value order.
1.) 1856 Flying Eagle Cent
1856 was the first year of the new small cent and is also the first year of one of the shortest-lived series ever, the Flying Eagle Cent. Because of the increase in copper prices, the US Mint decided to create smaller cents that would cost less to produce and would be more economically sound. The first official year of the Flying Eagle Cent was 1857 and its last year was 1858, but there are a few 1856 examples floating around the marketplace and in vaults. There were only about 800 of these minted. Its intention was to show Congress the new coins and convince them that it was a good idea.
2.) 1877 Indian Head Cent
The 1909-S is the number one key date in terms of mintage for the Indian Head Cent series, which came after the Flying Eagle Cent series. The 1909-S cent, however, is incredibly rare in mint state condition. The 1877 is rare, but there are several mint state examples that were saved. The reason this coin is rare is because of the massive economic downturn during this time, which led many people to barely even be able to afford food. The mintage is low and a lot of them were never used.
3.) 1909-S Indian Head Cent
With a mintage of just around 300,000, this coin is a rarity, but can still be easily found at coin shows throughout the country. Minted the same year as the first year of the Lincoln Head Cent, the mintage numbers were decreased significantly as the “crossover” year (by crossover, I mean where both series were minted, not crossover as used in coin grading). For most coins, coins minted in San Francisco are much scarcer than their Denver and Philadelphia counterparts, but especially with this coin.
4.) 1909-S VDB Lincoln Head Cent
While not particularly rare, this is one coin that most serious (and wealthy) collectors have in their collection. While many other coins are rarer technically, the 1909-S VDB is one of the most talked about and most sought-after rarities in the entire world of numismatics. 1909 is the only year in which the designer’s initial, Victor D. Brenner, was underneath the wheat in the middle on the reverse. Few of these coins were minted before the US Treasury asked to have the initials removed. The 1909 VDB is the perfect alternative for the “budget-minded” collector. While still more rare than its non-VDB counterpart, it is much more affordable, even in mint state grades. If your dream is to have the 1909-S VDB, the 1909 VDB is a good starter coin until you have $1,000 to be able to afford a small “S” underneath the date.
This series will be continued with several more great coins!