The 1966 penny may not be as ‘popular’ as the other pennies, but it can bring a lot of money to lucky collectors. That’s because an MS 67 coin with an RD designation is valued at over $6,000.
The good news is you can be as lucky as the seller mentioned above. It’s just a matter of knowing your 1966 penny value – and you could do that easily simply by reading this comprehensive guide.
1966 Penny Value Chart
Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated 1966 No Mint Mark Penny $0.05 $0.05 $0.05 $0.23-$1.16
1966 No Mint Mark Penny Value
More than 2 billion (2,188,147,783 to be exact) no-mint-mark Lincoln cents were produced in the year 1966. Although most were manufactured in Philadelphia, some were produced in San Francisco. However, due to the lack of mint marks, no one knows for sure where each penny originated.
Despite this ‘anomaly,’ the 1966 penny is similar to the Lincoln memorial cents of the era. It has a diameter of 19 mm and a weight of 3.11 grams.
The obverse or front side features the profile of Abraham Lincoln, which has been on the penny since 1909 – his birth centennial.
In fact, Lincoln’s appearance on the memorial cent made him the first actual person to appear on American coinage – not counting the ‘figurative’ Liberty. That’s because George Washington previously deemed it “monarchical” to feature a person on the coin.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was originally commissioned to design the coin. However, he became sick with cancer, so he could not continue the work.
Because of this, Victor David Brenner, a famed sculptor, was tapped to create Lincoln’s profile instead. He was doing the Panama Canal medal then, a feat that impressed then-President Theodore Roosevelt.
Many believe Brenner based Lincoln’s design on the picture taken at Matthew Brady’s studio. However, the sculptor insisted that he made it as if the president was reading, as this would show him at his ‘brightest.’
Placed above Lincoln’s image is the official US motto, “In God We Trust.” Behind him is the word “Liberty,” while the year “1966” is etched in front of him. There is no mint mark underneath the year. As mentioned, it is hard to determine whether the coin came from Philadelphia or San Francisco.
Like other coin designers, Brenner included his initials on the coin’s reverse side. However, it was deemed too big by the US Mint officials, so they manufactured the coins sans his initials. Eventually, his initials were ‘reinstated’ in 1918. You can find this near Lincoln’s shoulder on the obverse side of your 1966 penny.
The 1966 Lincoln penny’s reverse was designed by US Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro. It features the Lincoln Memorial Building in Washington, DC.
It replaced the wheat cent design on the reverse, which Brenner also created.
The wheat stalk design, which ran from 1909 to 1958, wasn’t Brenner’s original plan. He initially drew a tree branch on the reverse. It was reminiscent of French coins at that time, so US Mint Director Frank Leach deemed this ‘unsuitable.’
Back to Gasparro.
An interesting factoid about Gasparro is that he drew the reverse without visiting the memorial. While most praise his image, some look at it as an abomination. In fact, historian Walter Breen deemed it an “artistic disaster.”
Despite the controversies, Gasparro’s design was eventually placed on the back of the Lincoln memorial cent. His initials were included, too, right next to the memorial building.
Apart from the building, Gasparro’s reverse features the text “United States of America” and the text “E Pluribus Unum.” The latter is Latin for “Out of Many, One.” As the US de facto motto since 1782, it represents how 13 colonies became a new single nation.
Meanwhile, the denomination “One Cent” may be found on the lower part of the coin.
Gasparro’s reverse design ran from the year 1959 to 2008. It was eventually replaced by the Lincoln bicentennial cent, which featured the following depictions:
- A log cabin, which depicts Lincoln’s birth and childhood life in Kentucky
- A reading Lincoln, which reflects his formative years in Indiana
- A young lawyer Lincoln, shows him on the Springfield Illinois State Capitol
- A half-completed dome, which represents Lincoln’s presidency
Another interesting fact: Since the ‘tails’ side of the coin also features the likeness of the late President, Lincoln has gained the recognition of being the only person to appear on both the obverse and reverse sides of a US coin.
The 1966 no mint mark penny is composed of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. Because of this, the shade of such coins may vary.
The red or RD coins are the most sought-after ones, which retain at least 95% of their red shade. Coins with red and brown shades are categorized as RB, while pennies with a 95% brown shade are tagged as BN.
Today, Lincoln memorial cents retain the same shade, though they are made from a different metal combination. From 1982, pennies were made with 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.
As mentioned, red-toned pennies are highly in demand. As such, their value is higher than that of RB or BN Lincoln cents.
For starters, a mint state MS 63 RD coin is valued at $7. An MS 65 RD penny, meanwhile, costs about $18.
Rare MS 66 RD pennies are valued at $46, while MS 67 RD Lincoln cents are worth $900. That’s because only 16 1966 pennies are in this premium condition.
Because of its rarity, MS 67 RD coins have been auctioned off for an impressive $6,463.
Special Mint Set Coins
Although the San Francisco facility did not mint 1966 pennies for circulation, they did manufacture about 2 million special mint sets. These pennies differ from the Philadelphia-minted coins, given their high grade and satin finish.
And while most would think that they are priced higher, they are not because most of these special coins remain in mint state condition. An MS 65 RD coin only costs $10, while MS 67 RD coins are only worth about $28. This is a far cry from a no-mint mark MS 67 RD coin, which has been valued at $900.
That said, deep cameo or cameo coins can sell for higher. An MS 67 coin with a cameo grade has been valued at a stunning $1,500. That’s because these types of currencies come with a frosted finish and a mirror-like field, details many collectors adore.
1966 Penny Value Grading
As mentioned above, no mint mark 1966 pennies are graded according to their color and condition. RD coins are deemed valuable, with an MS 67 penny being sold for over $6,000. While RB coins are not as pricey, they have been sold for $200.
BN coins are at the bottom of the list, with MS 65-grade pennies of this color being valued at just $2.
Rare 1966 Penny Error List
1966 pennies can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on their color/condition or error.
Let’s explore the latter below.
1966 Penny Double Die Obverse Error
A double die error occurs when a die’s design is mistakenly hubbed. The result is a design that appears twice.
In this video, you’ll see a double die error affecting the obverse side. Here, you’ll notice some doubling or elongation on the year 1966 and the word “Trust.”
This error can sell for $50 to $100 on eBay.
1966 Penny Struck on a 10-Cent Planchet Error
As the name suggests, this penny was struck on a 10-cent (Roosevelt dime) planchet – instead of the copper planchet made for Lincoln memorial cents.
Apart from its notable silver color, this coin bears the size of a dime. As such, it only weighs 2.2 grams. Because of this, some of the letters from “In God We Trust” have been cut in half.
According to the video above, this error could sell for as much as $305.
1966 Penny Die Break Error
Also known as a cut error, this occurs when a die cracks during the minting process. This results in gaps that are then transferred to the planchet.
Unfortunately, a penny die break error doesn’t yield a lot of money.
1966 Penny Ragged End Clip Error
Most people would think of this as a damaged coin when it’s not.
A ragged end clip error occurs when the press punches the metal coil end shear. It’s a rare occurrence that can happen when an employee cannot stop the press on time.
1966 Penny Struck on a Split Planchet Error
A 1966 penny struck on a split planchet will weigh lighter – 1.9 grams, in this case. It will also bear striations, which can range from fine to coarse.
This coin sold for $30.
1966 Penny Double Struck Error
As the name suggests, this error occurs when the coin is struck twice. More often than not, the first strike is correct, while the second one is erroneous (struck either on- or off-center.)
A double struck error coin can be sold for about $65.
1966 Penny Retained Strikethrough Error
A 1966 penny with a retained strikethrough error looks like a damaged coin. In a way, it is. Here, the fragment – a stapler wire – is embedded onto the planchet.
In some cases, the piece may be a wood chip, string, or a wire bristle.
This error is quite lucrative, as it has sold at auction for a good $1,150.
1966 Penny Half of Two Coins Struck Together Error
Also known as the mated pair error, this happens when the obverse side is struck on one planchet, while the reverse side is struck on another.
In this video, you’ll see the obverse half. Lincoln’s image is minted on the front, while the back side remains empty.
This rare error has sold for a little over $100.
1966 Penny Obverse Struck Through Capped Die Error
The name says it all. The penny was struck through a capped die, so it only bears a ‘ghostly’ image of Lincoln on the obverse. This happens when the coin is hit with a die cap affixed to the hammered die.
The reverse has no problem, though, for it looks pretty much the same as other 1966 pennies.
This unique error, which is documented in the video above, sold for a measly $40.
1966 Penny Value FAQs
Is the 1966 penny worth anything?
Yes. Although most coins are valued at only $0.05 to $1.16, some 1966 Lincoln pennies are worth more.
The best example is an MS 67 RD coin, which has been auctioned off for a whopping $6,463.
Is there a rare 1966 penny?
Technically, 1966 pennies are not rare, for over 2.2 billion Lincoln memorial cents were minted in the said year. However, some coins may be considered rare depending on their color/condition and error.
For example, an MS 67 RD coin, of which only 16 are known to exist, can sell for as much as $6,463.
How much is a 1966 rare penny worth?
A rare 1966 penny, such as the MS 67 RD coin, is valued at $900 – though it has sold for as much as $6,463.
Are all 1966 pennies valuable?
Unfortunately, not all 1966 pennies are valuable because of the immense quantity of Lincoln memorial cents that were minted that year. However, some pennies are worth a lot of money. The best example is an MS 67 RD coin, which has sold at auction for $6,463.