In 1974, the United States Mint suspended the production of penny medals and coins. The last year they were struck was 1974, meaning they could be valuable today. But how much? Read on to find out.
Have you ever seen a 1974 penny and thought it might be worth something? The answer is it very well could be. While the value of a 1974 penny may not be as high as some other years, it will all depend on the coin's condition, variety, and mint mark.
Let’s explore the value of a 1974 penny and how to identify precisely what type of coin you have. So if you think you have a 1974 penny that may be worth something, keep reading to find out more.
The History of 1974 Pennies
The 1974 penny is one of the most sought-after Lincoln pennies because it is the last year they were made with a copper composition. With only 1.9 billion of these coins minted, they are relatively scarce compared to other Lincoln pennies.
In the early 1800s, the US Mint started experimenting with different materials for coins. The first coins were made of copper, but by the 1850s, the Mint had switched to using aluminum for pennies. This change was made because copper was becoming too expensive for small denominations like pennies. The new alloy was also more durable than pure copper, so it could be used for coins that circulate more frequently.
The vending machine industry protested against the addition of aluminum to pennies. The industry argued that the aluminum would cause problems with their machines. They also said it would be difficult to distinguish between a penny and a dime.
The Mint continued to experiment with different alloys and metals over the years, and in 1982, they finally settled on using a zinc core with a thin copper coating. This composition is still used for pennies today.
Because of these historical factors, 1974 pennies are valued at around $0.50 each in circulated conditions. In mint condition, they can be worth up to $5 each.
1974 Penny Value Guides
There are a few different ways to find out the value of your penny. The most common way is to look up the date and mint mark on the coin and then find a reputable pricing guide. Another way is to take your penny to a local coin dealer and ask for an appraisal.
Penny values can range from a few cents to over $100, depending on the abovementioned factors. However, most pennies are worth only a tiny fraction of their face value. If you think you might have a valuable penny, it's always best to get it appraised by a professional before selling it or attempting to cash it in.
The 1974 Penny without a Mint Mark
The 1974 Penny without a Mint Mark value is 50 cents in uncirculated condition, making it the lowest value of all penny variety coinage.
The 1974 Penny without a Mint Mark can be found in uncirculated condition, which means that it has not been cleaned or polished by any third-party company or individual. However, many collectors prefer to buy their coins in uncirculated condition, ensuring they are original and authentic.
It also ensures you are getting a great deal on your purchase because not many others out there had already cleaned or polished their coins when they purchased them at an auction house or online retailers like eBay or Amazon.
In 2019, the auction record for a no-mintmark 1974 Lincoln cent was an astounding $15,390!
The 1974 “S” Penny
The 1974 “S” Penny is worth more than just one cent! This particular penny is worth between $1.50 and $2.00, depending on its luster condition. This Lincoln penny was minted in San Francisco and had a small “S” mint mark on the coin's obverse side. The 1974 “S” penny is a valuable collector’s item, so if you have one, hold onto it.
The highest price ever paid for a 1974-S Lincoln cent was $2,702.50 back in 2008 at an auction.
The 1974 “D” Penny
The 1974 “D” Penny is worth more than one cent. It’s worth about $0.01. The 1974 “D” Penny comprises 95% copper and 5% zinc. The current price of copper is $2.75 per pound. That means the 1974 “D” Penny contains about 2.5 cents worth of copper.
In 2007, the highest price ever achieved for a 1974-D Lincoln Cent was $299 in an auction.
The 1974 Aluminum Penny
The 1974 Aluminum Penny is one of the most exciting and sought-after coins today. Though it was never intended to be released into circulation, a small number of these coins were accidentally minted on copper-plated zinc blanks. As a result, these coins are very rare and valuable.
If you come across a 1974 Aluminum Penny, you should know that it is worth significantly more than a regular penny. Depending on its condition, a 1974 Aluminum Penny can be worth anywhere from $100 to $200,000. So, if you find one of these coins, hold onto it tightly – it could be worth a fortune.
It is illegal to own a 1974 aluminum penny. First, because the coin's composition differs from other pennies, it could be used to defraud businesses. Secondly, the coins were only produced for a short time and never intended to circulate, so they are considered collector's items. Finally, only a handful of 1974 aluminum pennies are known to exist, so they are scarce and valuable.
How to Grade the 1974 Penny
If you are a collector of coins, you may wonder how to grade the 1974 penny. Here is a guide on how to grade this type of penny:
Proof: A proof coin is specially made for collectors and has a higher level of detail than a regular uncirculated coin. Proof coins are usually graded on a scale from 60 to 70, with 70 being the highest possible grade.
Uncirculated: An uncirculated coin was never put into circulation and, therefore, never shows any wear. Uncirculated coins are usually graded on a scale from 50 to 70, with 70 being the highest possible grade.
Extra Fine: An extra fine coin shows only minor signs of wear and appears nearly new. Extra fine coins are usually graded on a scale from 40 to 50, with 50 being the highest possible grade.
Fine: A fine coin shows moderate wear but is still in good condition overall. Fine coins are usually graded on a scale from 20 to 40, with 40 being the highest possible grade.
Good: A good coin has heavy wear but is still recognizable as a 1974 penny. Good coins are usually graded on a scale from 0 to 20, with 20 being the highest possible grade.
1974 Penny Value Chart
The Penny Value Chart is a great tool to help you determine the value of your penny. Looking at the chart, you can see how much your penny is worth in today's market. The chart is updated regularly, so you can be sure you're getting accurate information.
1974 no mint mark
1974 Aluminum Penny
1974 “S” Proof Penny
1974 Penny Errors
Penny errors can be caused by various factors, including a double die, breaking die, or double-head error.
A double die error occurs when the coin is struck twice with the same die, resulting in a doubled image. A breaking die error occurs when the die breaks during the minting process, resulting in an incomplete or missing image. A double-head error occurs when two coins are struck simultaneously with different dies, resulting in one coin with two obverses or two reverses.
Penny errors are relatively rare and can command high prices from collectors. A well-known example is the 1955 Lincoln cent with a doubled die obverse, which sold for $22,325 in 2012.
How Much Is A 1974 Penny Worth Today?
In 1974, a penny was worth about $0.01. Today, a penny is worth about $0.20. Inflation has caused the value of a penny to remain relatively stable over time.
The value of a 1974 penny can range from as little as 1 cent to upwards of a few hundred dollars, depending on its condition and rarity. Collectors will pay top dollar for coins in mint condition, while circulated coins are worth significantly less. Generally speaking, the rarer the coin is, its price tag carries higher. With that being said, your 1974 penny might be worth more than you think, so take some time to research your unique coin before selling or trading it away.