On the surface, the 1976 Lincoln Memorial Penny certainly looks like the billions of other pennies that have been issued since 1909 featuring the profile of Abraham Lincoln on the front.
In 1959, the back of the penny featured the Lincoln Memorial. While special editions of the penny have been released over the years, the Lincoln Memorial version is still considered the standard to this day.
Yet, it has become harder to find over the years due a switch in materials that have all pennies made from before 1982 collector’s items. While interest in collecting pennies dropped after the switch was made, recent events have brought more interest in obtaining this version of the penny.
1976 Penny: History
During 1976, over 4.6 billion pennies were minted and they benefitted from newer machinery that allowed for deeper strikes, stronger dies, and overall better techniques that made the stamping sharper and clearer compared to many previous versions.
All Lincoln Memorial pennies that have been made before 1982 consist of 95% copper and the rest a mixture of zinc and tin.
Starting in 1982 with the price of copper soaring, the US Mint changed the mixture and since then it has been 97.5% zinc with the rest being a copper outer layer.
The result was that all pennies made from 1909 to 1981 became more valuable in the eyes of those who were seeking to collect and melt the pennies for their copper.
However, US law forbids anyone from selling copper made from melted pennies. The mixture of zinc and tin provides a giveaway to the origin of the melted copper, so hoarders have been stockpiling pennies in the hopes that the law will be lifted one day.
Plus, collectors have seen a drop in the availability of the pennies made from this time, so they have benefited from its increased value.
Also, while the value of copper dropped after the US mint switched to zinc as the primary metal used in pennies in 1982, it has recently returned to its high value which has resulted in an increase of collecting interest.
1976 Penny: Value
Today, it is estimated that the 1976 Lincoln penny is worth an average of $0.30. That range includes uncirculated pennies that are in excellent condition may fetch upwards of $1 on the market.
Those graded as MS-66 may reach $18 while pennies that have an MS-67 grade have a value that reaches $100. However, the majority of 1976 pennies are only worth their face value.
However, selling the penny for that amount may prove difficult depending on several factors which include buyers who may have been collecting the pennies and have sought out lower prices.
You can find the pennies at online and local shops that offer coins as collector’s items. Because over 4.6 billion were produced, you can find them still in circulation
The 1976 Lincoln Memorial penny is still highly sought after by both hoarders who are waiting for the US government to lift the sanction against melting and selling copper that came from pennies and collectors who see its scarcity and hope to cash in on its rising value.