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1965 Penny Coin Value Checker: How Much is It Worth?

by Lily Morgen
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1965 Penny Coin Value Checker

Are you interested in the value of the 1965 penny? If so, do not worry; we have got you covered! You probably heard about the rare 1965 pennies with errors that sell for big bucks! That is true; however, to detect one of these, you need to know exactly what to look for and have your coin graded! 

The 1965 penny is also known as the Lincoln Memorial penny because it features the image of Abraham Lincoln and his Memorial, the national monument in Washington, D.C. So, let’s explore and learn more about the 1965 penny value!

                                      1965 Penny Value

Mint Mark Good MS 65 MS 66 MS 67
1965 No Mint Clad Penny $0.01 $6-$12 $30 $150-$7,300
  SP 65 SP 66 SP 67 SP 68
1965 SMS Penny Value $10-$25 $10 -$20 $10 -$40 $400-$1,800

1965 Penny Coin Varieties History

Lincoln penny is special for a number of reasons. Yes, it depicts one of the most influential and important presidents of the US, but did you know that the Lincoln Wheat penny is the first coin to feature a real person?

The first Lincoln penny featured two stalks of wheat on the reverse and was produced from 1908 until 1959 when the new Lincoln Memorial penny took over the spot!

The Lincoln Wheat penny had been in place for over 30 years at that point, and the 150th anniversary since Lincoln’s birth was approaching, which meant that a new design and new penny should be created.

However, unlike the first Lincoln penny, this one would also depict the president’s impressive memorial site.

Interestingly the Frank Gasparro the tenth US Mint Chief, designed the reverse although he had never seen the Lincoln Memorial in person.  

Another interesting thing is that most of the 1965 pennies with this particular date were struck in 1966. Two years before, an issue was caused by the rise of prices of silver bullion, which resulted in people hoarding silver coins.

The Mint Chief at the time, Eva Adams, ordered the removal of the mint marks as she thought that was one of the reasons for people hoarding coins. The Mint also changed the composition of some coins and switched to nickel, clad, and copper dimes and quarters. 

Therefore, there are no mint marks on the 1965 pennies, but there are special strikes. Ultimately, these Lincoln Memorial pennies were produced until 2008, when they were replaced with the bicentennial Lincoln pennies, which feature vital moments and periods of the president’s life.

Although Lincoln Memorial pennies were last produced 15 years ago, you can still find many of these in circulation.

Obverse

Victor D. Brenner, a Lithuanian sculptor, designer, and engraver designed the obverse. As noted, the design was first seen on the Lincoln Wheat penny and was kept for the Lincoln Memorial penny with the change in reverse design.

The obverse features the portrait of Abraham Lincoln facing right, while the capitalized motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is struck alongside the upper rim. Behind the president’s truncated neck, we can see the capitalized inscription “LIBERTY.” We can see the mintage year “1965” on the right side of the coin.  

Reverse

Compared to the obverse, the reverse is pretty detailed. As noted, Frank Gasparro created the reverse design. In the center of the coin, we can see the Lincoln Memorial, beautifully struck and in great detail, especially the steps and the pillars.

However, if the coin is in bad condition, it will not be visible or detailed. The denomination “ONE CENT” is struck in the center of the lower rim.

The capitalized inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is placed alongside the upper rim, while the second American motto, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” is struck underneath or above the memorial.

The motto translates to “Out of many, one” and represents the unique American spirit, freedom, unity, and determination.

Other Features

The coin’s metal composition is 95% copper with 5% zinc and tin, while its face value is 1 cent or $0.01. Its weight is 0.10970 ounces or 3.11 g, while its diameter is 0.74803 or 19 mm. The thickness of the Lincoln Memorial penny is 0.05984 inches or 1.52 mm. The edge is plains, and the shape is round.

As noted, the Philadelphia Mint produced the 1965 Lincoln Memorial pennies; therefore, there are no varieties with mint marks. The total mintage is 1,499,584,900.

1965 No Mint Mark Penny Coin

So, the Philadelphia Mint produced around 1,497,224,900 Lincoln pennies in 1965. This is a pretty high mintage number, which means that most of these coins are common and have low value. These coins are mainly worth their face value in lower grades such as good, extra good, or even about-circulated.

The 1965 No Mint Mark penny in MS 65 is worth between $6 and $12 because these are not special and can be easily obtained. The same coin but in MS 66 is worth around $30.  

In 2022, the 1965 Lincoln Memorial penny in MS 66 was sold for only $41. However, in MS 66+ the coin is worth from $30 to $50. The highest grade for this variety is MS 67, the sought-after coin and grade.

The 1965 No Mint Mark penny in MS 67 can be worth between $150 and $500. What makes these coins rare and valuable is their availability or lack thereof.

In April 2023, the 1965 No Mint Mark penny in MS 67 bagged only $149. Interestingly, the highest amount paid for the same coin in MS 67 was $7,638 at Heritage Auctions in 2014. If you are interested in learning more, here is a link Coin Value Checker.

1965 SMS Penny Coin

Considering that Philadelphia only struck these coins in 1965, you cannot find proof coins. However, Philadelphia Mint struck around 2,360,000 Lincoln pennies for Special Mint Set (SMS), which are a form of substitution for proofs.

Ironically, these SMS pennies are meant only for collectors and as collectibles. To create these coins, a special treatment was used, which included utilization of special dies, carefully prepared blanks, resulting in high shine and excellent, clear, and pronounced details.  

These coins were not struck twice and due to their high gloss (like proof coins), they are often mistaken for proofs.

Interestingly, today you can buy these in auctions and online, but they were previously sold only in sets, which are relatively rare.

So, what is the value of this coin? Although a special mint set might lead you to think that these are highly valuable coins, it is the other way around.  

Mind you, these coins are graded SP, short for specimen strike, a term used to describe coins that do not fall in the proof coins (PF) category but display better details than regular coins (MS).

The 1965 SMS Lincoln Memorial penny in SP 64 is worth around $10; in SP 65, expect to pay around $10 to $25. Interestingly, the price for the same coin in a higher grade, SP 66, does not differ greatly- from $20 to $50.

The rarest and most valuable is the 1965 SMS penny in MS 68, for which you can get for $400 and $1,800. 

The highest amount paid for the 1965 SMS penny in MS 68 is $2,990 and the auction happened at Heritage Auctions in 2009. A recent sale- in April 2023, the 1965 SMS penny was sold for $900.

Also, the 1965 Lincoln pennies, like all Lincoln pennies, have certain designations, such as RD, RB, and BN, which tell about the surface or the color of the copper coin, which can be red-brown (RB), brown (BN), and red (RD).

1965 Penny Grading

The grading process is directly related to the coin’s value, so it is important to learn or at least be familiar with the process so you can determine the worth on your own.

It is a subjective process, but it depends on the coin’s condition, whether it displays damaged wear, errors or special designations, and many others.

Rare 1965 Penny Errors

Despite the high mintage number, not many errors are found on the 1965 pennies! However, that does not mean that there are no errors!

1965 Penny- Double Die

The double die is an error that occurs when the coin is struck twice with the die, but the second strike is under a different angle, resulting in a doubled image, hence the name.

Even though, in most cases, the double die is a valuable error, when it comes to the 1965 pennies, they usually reel between 10 and $50.

However, if you have coins in a higher mint state, such as MS 67 and it has this error the coins can be worth several hundreds. On the other hand, if you have coins in a higher MS state with his error, it can be worth a couple of thousands. 

1965 Penny- Die Breaks

The die breaks happen when various speckles, dirt, and dust get pressed on the die and then transferred to coins. The dies then harbor dust, dirt, and other tiny speckles, which will be visible on a coin’s design.

This error is easily detected because the coins surface will display bumps and damaged design in certain places.

Although it is not very valuable, the die breaks errors can boost the coin’s price by $5 or $10, maybe even more, if the coin is in very good condition. 


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