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How can you tell which pennies are valuable?

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Quick Answer

Valuable pennies are those that are considered rare compared to other pennies, either due to old age or a misprint. Most classic rare pennies are those printed before 1954, while modern rare pennies are the ones that are considered rare due to minting mistakes.

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How can you tell which pennies are valuable?
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Full Answer

Classic pennies began production in 1754. The older the penny, the more likely it is to be considered rare and have a higher value. This is because older pennies have been largely removed from circulation on account of wearing out from use, being lost or destroyed or being melted down for their value in metals. Many rare pennies have also been placed into private collections.

The value of a penny rises the rarer it gets. Most of the earliest half-cent and 1-cent pennies are rare not just because of the passage of time, but because they had a large copper content and were melted when the buying power of the pennies dropped below the value of the melted copper. This remained largely true as the price of copper continued to rise through the years until the mint changed the content of pennies beginning with 1954, marking the era of modern pennies. Minting errors in modern pennies generally consist of a penny that has a missing print portion or those with a print that is inverse between sides or off-centered.

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