Have you stumbled upon an old 1964 penny in your grandparents’ house or at a yard sale and want to know if it’s worth adding to your collection? You may be lucky enough to get your hands on a rare variety that could be worth more than $5,000. On the other hand, you may be dealing with a regular 1964 penny that will sell for only 2 or 3 cents, like those with a copper-based content. But how do you know which is which? Don’t worry, we will explain everything you need to know about identifying and valuing a 1964 penny.
You can’t be sure about your coin’s value unless you research it carefully. We have brought together all the necessary information about 1964 pennies including their history, particularities, grading system, mint marks, and value.
Lincoln Memorial Penny History
The first thing you should know is that the 1964 penny is a Lincoln Memorial cent which was minted continuously for almost 60 years. Moreover, this is the most familiar cent in the history of the United States.
This coin type was first struck in 1959, paying tribute to the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln‘s birth. The Lincoln cent was the successor to the beloved wheat penny, which was first minted fifty years earlier.
1964 Penny Series
Before moving onto numbers, it is essential to understand how each series of 1964 Penny influences the final value.
1. 1964 Penny With No Mint Mark
This Lincoln penny with no mint mark is 95% copper and 5% zinc, weighs 3.11 grams, has a plain edge, and was minted in Philadelphia. Its diameter is 19 mm. The total mintage was over 2.5 billion coins.
2. 1964 D Penny
The 1964 D Lincoln Penny is 95% copper and 5% zinc composition, a total weight of 3.11 grams, and a diameter of 19 mm. These coins were minted at the Denver Mint, and the total mintage was almost 4 billion coins.
3. 1964 SMS Penny (Special Mint Set)
This 1964 SMS penny was minted only in 30 coins. Therefore, expect to find it very rarely and at higher prices. The edges are also plain, and the composition is similar to the previous penny types.
This is by far the most valuable type of 1964 Penny. Silver hoarders removed all of their 90% silver dimes (including half dollars, dimes, and quarters) from circulation in the early 1960s. Consequently, the coin market met a serious coin scarcity. The United States Mint had to find a solution.
They made efforts to temporarily suspend the production of the proof sets of the most popular coins. Instead, they focused on producing this single type of collectors’ product known as the “Special Mint Set” or SMS.
During the 1960s, these SMS had only one coin for each denomination and a satin-like finish. SMS 1964 pennies are rare and may fetch thousands of dollars at auction.
The online market is full of sellers that claim they have one of these coveted coins. How do you know they have a genuine collection? This is how you can tell the difference between standard and proof pennies:
- 1964 SMS pennies have a smoother finish and a mirror-like surface;
- The overall strike of 1964 SMS pennies is clearer;
- Look at the coin’s rim; this is where the details should be outstanding;
- In terms of shape, the 1964 SMS pennies have a straighter profile than the usual coins.
This video will help you determine the features of a 1964 SMS penny.
1964 Penny Value: Learn To Determine Their Price
Multiple factors influence the value of a 1964 penny. To determine the final price, it is essential to run through these key factors. Finally, do not forget to check the full price chart.
1964 Penny Patina
The patina of the 1964 Lincoln penny is an essential factor in influencing its value. This characteristic is graded using three abbreviations:
This patina is the most common, characterized by a brown surface. Visually, the coin looks very old, caused by the copper oxidising over time. The most common tints on this metal are green and bluish, appearing even on coins that were not so widely circulated.
RB is an abbreviation for Red and Brown. RB specimens are usually mostly brown with some reddish tones. This is possible due to careful conservation and little exposure to humidity and oxygen. As a result, expect the RB pennies tend to be more pricey due to their scarcity.
When it comes to this category, you will see a red patina specific to copper. The RD pennies are scarce due to the challenge of preserving this red tone for a long time. This is the most expensive patina of these three, so passionate collectors will most likely pay a lot of money to add this to their portfolio.
The mintmarks indicate the location where the 1964 pennies were minted.
|1964 Penny Series||Mint Location||Quantity Minted (Mintage)|
|1964 No Mintmark Penny||Philadelphia Mint||2.6 billion pieces|
|1964-D Penny||Denver Mint||3.8 billion|
|1964 Proof Penny||Philadelphia||3.9 million|
|1964 SMS Penny||Philadelphia Mint||Around 30 pieces|
The grading system is defined by the strike type, the overall appearance, any potential errors, and the coin’s manufacturing process. These are the main two-letter designations used for grading the coins:
- MS for Mint State coins (these were struck for circulation)
- PF stands for Proof Coins
- SP refers to coins that do not meet the requirements of the genuine Proof coins.
1964 Penny Value Chart
Here is an overview of the approximate prices of 1964 pennies according to mintmark and grade. Please note that these values were accurate at the time of writing according to the USA Coin Book.
|Good||Very Good||Fine||Very Fine||Extremely Fine||MS-60||MS-65||PR-65|
|1964 Penny With No Mint Mark||–||–||–||–||–||$0.17||$0.33||$1.71|
|1964 D Penny||$5.13||$5.13||$5.13||$5.13||$5.13||$0.17||$0.33||–|
Be Aware! These prices are only a proxy. They can differ based on each auction, coin collectors’ requirements, demand, and the source you are buying from.
The value of 1964 pennies can be, in practice, much higher than the average values quoted here. The auction record for a 1964 Lincoln cent with no mintmark was $5,750 USD in 2004! While the auction record for a 1964-D Lincoln cent was $1,093 USD in 2007.
1964 Penny Errors
There’s some debate regarding the 1964 penny errors. You need to know that some flaws can make the original coin more valuable. These are the most frequent and precious errors to look for:
Triple Saddle Strike
One of the most frequent errors regarding the 1964 penny is the triple saddle strike. This appears when the original copper was struck too many times. You can see three portraits of Lincoln struck on the same coin. This error can add much value to the Lincoln memorial penny; some auctions have sold it for thousands of dollars.
1964-D Lincoln Cent Struck On A 1963-D Lincoln Cent
You can easily identify this error by looking at the president’s portrait where one mintage has been struck over another. You will notice the 1964 Denver Penny is printed over the top of the 1963 Denver Penny.
Interesting information! A copy of a 1964 1C Error Lincoln Cent was sold for $5,750 in 2004. This error was the “Struck on Clad Dime Planchet” error, and the coin has a grading of MS64. This coin holds the all-time auction record for 1964 Lincoln cents!
Q: Where to buy and sell 1964 pennies safely?
A: Because Lincoln pennies are still plentiful on the market, it is very easy to find them in multiple places. Nevertheless, selling and buying individual Lincoln pennies can be a bit challenging due to the low value of most specimens.
Q: What is the value of a Canadian penny from 1964?
A: Canadian pennies are not worth more than a few cents (however, errors and rare varieties are more valuable). However, considering this coin is out of circulation, you might get a nice sum via auction. See Coins And Canada for more information.
Q: What details should I look for in the 1964 penny text?
A: Look at the edges first, as they should be square and sharp, especially for 1964 SMS coins. The bust of President Lincoln is highly detailed, as well as the inscriptions.