Who hasn’t fantasized about hitting a jackpot? Well, you don’t need a trip to the casino to win big — a certain 1955 penny could be in your change jar just waiting to rake in thousands.
Although many of us hardly ever look twice at the one cent pieces jangling around in our pockets, the 1955 Double-Die Lincoln Penny is one of the most well-known goldmines for avid coin collectors. As the name suggests, these pennies feature a bolder appearance in parts of the lettering due to an error in the metal die casting process.
The experts at Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) explain that back in 1955, the US Mint “struck a working hub and a working die together while they were both slightly rotated differently from one another.” Basically, the outlines used to create one side of the coin weren’t lined up properly. This gave the doubled-up impression to about 20,000 pennies released into circulation that year. PCGS notes that the mistake caused the date, the word “LIBERTY,” and in the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” to look more prominent.
Like anything else, the value of a bona fide 1955 Double-Die Lincoln Penny will vary based on its quality. However, they’ve only gotten more lucrative as the years have gone by. “If someone had placed a 1955 Doubled Die cent in [extremely fine condition] under their mattress in the year 1970, it would be worth approximately $172,” PCGS explained. “In 2009, the same coin would be worth approximately $1,800 in the same condition.”
According to US Coin Book, the current values range between $746 for “good” quality and up to $2,168 for those in the most pristine condition. Of course, counterfeiting is rampant in the coin collecting world, so you’ll have to get it verified by an organization like PCGS before cashing in.
Despite being one of the most popular finds for collectors, there are still about 10,000 to 15,000 of these pennies in circulation. The chances might be slim compared to the millions of other totally normal pennies out there, but it’s definitely worth giving your one cent pieces a second look!