The Lincoln Memorial penny appeared in 1959, fifty years after the first penny featuring the Abraham Lincoln bust on the obverse became a part of US coinage. They were replaced in 2008 with four new coins commemorating the 200th birthday anniversary of the beloved American President.
Although most pieces are inexpensive and abundant in circulation, you can still earn some money in some cases. Even if that is not the case, this lovely coin is collectible because of its silver luster. Plus, the 1978 penny value can be higher for errors and pieces in high grades.
1978 Lincoln Memorial penny value Chart
|Condition||1978 No Mint mark penny||1978 D penny||1978 S penny|
|BU MS 65||$0.33||$0.33||/|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1978 Lincoln Penny
The Lincoln penny was the first American coin with the famous American on the obverse. It was the first case to add a real person to the coinage because the 1st American President found that custom too monarchical.
The first Lincoln cent was created after Victor D. Brenner’s design appeared in 1909 to mark the Lincoln birth centenary. After 50 years, the US Mint replaced wheat stalks from the reverse with the Lincoln Memorial.
It commemorated the President’s 150th birthday and half a century of existence of the coin minted in his honor.
After another 50 years, the US Mint redesigned the reverse design again, but this time it decided to mint this coin in four different variations. That was a way to better meet this great man by showing his life’s crucial stages.
1978 Lincoln Memorial penny
|Philadelphia||1978 No Mint mark penny||5,558,605,000|
|Denver||1978 D penny||4,221,592,455|
|San Francisco||1978 S proof penny||4,149,730|
The 1978 Lincoln penny was the last in the series containing 95% copper. The US Mint reduced this metal percentage because of its increased prices on the market.
That makes pennies struck this year rare and collectible. Unlike later coins, they are worth something despite the condition because of copper content. Since copper is more pricey every year, this coin is considered collectible and an excellent investment opportunity.
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Features of the 1978 Lincoln Penny
The Lincoln Memorial penny obverse was made based on Victor David Brenner‘s design created for the initial Wheat penny in 1909. Unlike the reverse, which was changed depending on the occasion, this coin’s side has remained unchanged until today.
The 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny obverse
The 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny obverse has remained unchanged from 1909 to nowadays, showing the bust of the 16th American President Abraham Lincoln. This portrait shows him as the nation’s commander-in-chief during the Civil War.
The elegant design also includes an inscription IN GOD WE TRUST above the Lincoln head and the DATE in front of his image. Finally, you can see the proud word LIBERTY on the portrait’s left side, representing the centuries-old aspirations of the great American people.
The tiny designer’s initials are on the shoulder truncation, while coins produced in San Francisco or Denver also have the mint mark below the date.
The 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny reverse
The Lincoln penny reverse design was changed after 50 years of production and replaced with Frank Gasparro‘s vision. This new appearance was dedicated to the 150th birth anniversary of a great man and 16th American President Abraham Lincoln assassinated in 1865.
The new reverse included the centrally placed Lincoln Memorial building with the Latin saying E · PLURIBUS · UNUM above. The beautiful design also had the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA on the top coin edge and the denomination on the bottom.
Interestingly, you can notice a tiny Lincoln figure replicating the 19 feet (5.8 m) high statue placed between the building’s pillars inside the original monument.
That detail makes this penny unique as the only American coin with the same person struck on both sides. Finally, there is the designer’s initials right of the Memorial steps.
1978 Lincoln Memorial penny
|Face value||One cent ($0.01)|
|Coin diameter||0.75 inches (19.05 mm)|
|Compound||Copper (95%), remainder zinc or tin|
|Coin weight||0.10970 ounces (3.11 g)|
|Coin thickness||0.05984 inches (1.52 mm)|
Other 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny features
Like other Lincoln one-cent coins made of an alloy containing 95% copper with some zinc or tin, this round penny produced in 1978 weighs 0.10970 ounces (3.11 g). Its diameter is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm), while its thickness is a standard 0.05984 inches (1.52 mm).
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1978 Lincoln Penny Value Guides
The total mintage in 1978 was 9,784,347,185 Lincoln Memorial pennies produced in three mints. Most coins were struck in Philadelphia and Denver, while the mint in San Francisco minted only proofs that year.
It can be tricky to determine the exact 1978 Lincoln penny value, so you should consider a few crucial things before buying one, including:
- Strike – The most valuable coins have clear strike writings and visible design details.
- Preservation level – Since billions of Lincoln pennies were struck this year, each piece condition could be a crucial factor when determining the price.
- Clarity and errors – The design clarity and possible errors always increase the coin price. As expected, clear and rare error pennies are always attractive to collectors and often costly.
- Luster and attractiveness – The 1978 Lincoln penny’s luster and attractive appearance make its value higher or lower. Remember that collectors appreciate the high reflection appearing on the coin’s surface, increasing its value.
1978 No Mint mark Lincoln Memorial penny
Most of the 5,558,605,000 Lincoln pennies struck in Philadelphia in 1978 spent years in circulation, so finding pieces in perfect condition is often a challenging task. While used specimens are practically worthless, you can get some money for those in the mint state.
Their price is reasonable and consistently higher than their nominal value. Coins rating from MS 60 to MS 65 typically cost $0.40 to $3, and only those in higher grades can be more valuable. For instance, you can get $25 for specimens rated MS 66 and approximately $140 for the best-rated ones.
1978 Lincoln Memorial penny value
|Condition||1978 RD penny||1978 D RD penny|
Despite the modest average price most of these coins can reach, some Lincoln Memorial pennies minted this year can be expensive. The most pricey is the one with breathtaking red toning and MS 67+ grade, sold at Heritage Auctions in 2014 for $4,259.
1978 D Lincoln Memorial penny
The Denver mint produced an impressive number of 4,221,592,455 Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1978, but it was still a lower mintage than in Philadelphia.
Despite that, these coins are always less expensive. Believe it or not, even those with desirable red toning typically cost $0.20 to $1.25 on the market. Collectors are only prepared to pay more for coins in the highest grades, and they can reach $17 to $165.
Even the auction record that one excellent specimen produced in Denver reached was significantly lower than the one which the most expensive piece without the mint mark won. One collector paid $546 for the 1978 D MS 67 RD Lincoln Memorial penny at an auction in 2008.
1978 S Lincoln Memorial penny
The San Francisco mint produced only proofs in 1978. The low mintage included 4,149,730 Lincoln Memorial pennies with the S mint mark. However, even such a low number doesn’t affect their price significantly.
1978 S Lincoln Memorial penny (proof) value
|Condition||1975 S RD DCAM penny|
Most of these coins are not even collectible, while beautiful specimens with deep cameo contrast are worth $0.20 to $12. Only those with a perfect PR 70 ratings can be pricey, and you can get one for $1,600.
The most expensive 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny is one of these DCAM coins, paid $4,313 at Heritage Auctions in 2008.
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1978 Lincoln Memorial Penny Errors
Like other Lincoln Memorial pennies, those struck in 1978 come with a few typical errors, particularly doubling on the President’s face. Unfortunately, the year 1978 is exceptionally packed with various errors, making such coins inexpensive.
Only rare pieces with characteristic imperfections can cost significantly more than this coin’s face value. Let’s take a look.
You can effortlessly find some doubled die errors among 1978 Lincoln Memorial pennies, but most are minor and won’t bring you extra premium.
In most cases, you can notice the error in the IN GOD WE TRUST motto on the obverse or between pillars in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the coin reverse. If you have one such coin, you can expect that it is worth approximately $25 to $50.
Pennies with a die crack occur when an old, worn-out die strikes the coin during production. In such a case, it makes a line or ridge in the word LIBERTY between letters B and E.
Since most of these imperfections are minor, they are not particularly valuable, but you can still expect to get $5 to $20 for one.
Penny struck on a dime planchet
One of the pretty common errors in 1978 was pennies struck on a dime planchet. As a result, you can see a penny that was punched on the one made of a copper-nickel alloy instead of the pure copper planchet.
Since the US Mint still punched the mint mark onto the working die by hand, this error type was pretty ordinary. Therefore, you can find pennies with struck letters D or S upside down or in the wrong place.
In such cases, they were re-punched to look as required, but traces of the first struck mint mark always stayed visible. These coins could be worth $3 to $10, depending on the specific re-punched letter.
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FAQ about the 1978 Lincoln Memorial Penny
What makes a 1978 Lincoln penny rare?
Like many other Lincoln pennies, those minted in 1978 are common, and you can still find them in circulation. Therefore, finding a unique and valuable piece is pretty tricky and often impossible.
Which 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny is particularly expensive?
- At Heritage Auctions in 2008, the 1978 S PR 70 DCAM Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $4,313
- At Heritage Auctions in 2014, the 1978 MS 67+, RD Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $4,259
- At Heritage Auctions in 2004, the 1978 MS 62 BN Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $661
- At Heritage Auctions in 2008, the 1978 D MS 67 RD Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $546
- On eBay in 2020, the 1978 D MS 67 RB Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $205
- On eBay in 2018, the 1978 MS 66 RB Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $135
- On eBay in 2021, the 1978 D MS 66 BN Lincoln Memorial penny reached an auction record of $100
How much money can you get for the 1978 No Mint mark Lincoln Memorial penny?
The 1978 Lincoln pennies without the mint mark are typically inexpensive coins, but their average price is higher than the nominal value. Therefore, you can count on paying $0.40 to $25 for one in decent condition, depending on the preservation level. Only the highest-rated specimens are worth up to $140.
What is the most costly Lincoln Memorial penny?
Interestingly, two of the most costly Lincoln Memorial pennies are modern coins. The auction record winner is the 1999 cent minted in Philadelphia in MS 66 grade, paid $138,000 in 2006. The second most expensive is an error. One collector set aside $126,500 for the 1969 S DDO MS 64 Lincoln penny in 2008.