Did you find a 1985 penny and wonder whether it is worth anything? Lincoln pennies from 1985 are still in circulation, and it is common to see these coins in pocket change.
As the name suggests, the Lincoln memorial penny commemorates Abraham Lincoln, the first president of the United States of America. The coin has a long history; some can be worth thousands of dollars today.
Curious about your 1985 penny value? Read on for everything you need to know to determine what your Lincoln memorial penny from 1985 is worth. You will learn about the coin’s history, unique features, varieties, and rare errors that numismatics value at thousands of dollars.
So, let’s jump in!
1985 Penny Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1985 No Mintmark Penny Value||$0.01||$0.01||$0.01||$55|
|1985 D Quarter Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$7.50|
|1985 S Quarter Value||–||–||–||$15|
History Of The 1985 Penny
The 1985 penny is part of the Lincoln Memorial penny series, one of the longest-running coin series. The United States Mint first minted the coin in 1909, and it was named the wheat cent with two wheat ears on the reverse and Abraham Lincoln’s portrait on the obverse.
The coin’s design changed in 1958 when a representation of the Lincoln memorial replaced the two wheat ears. This design remained this way until 2008, when the mints produced four reverse designs celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s 200th anniversary.
Chief designer Frank Gasparro designed a rendition of the Lincoln Memorial, which graced the coin’s reverse side since 1959. Designer Victor D. Brenner designed the coin’s obverse side.
Before 1982, all Lincoln memorial pennies had a 95% copper composition and a 5% mix of zinc and tin. In the years that followed, high copper prices prompted the U.S. Mint to reduce the amount of copper in the coins. The new coins produced after 1982 contained a 97.5% zinc core and a 2.5% copper layer, a composition that lowered the cost of producing the Lincoln Memorial penny.
A total of 5,648,489,000 1985 pennies were minted at the Philadelphia mint, making this coin extremely common. The lower minting costs due to the switch from copper made it possible to produce many such pennies.
In 2009, the U.S. Mint commemorated Lincoln’s 200th anniversary by producing four different designs of the reverse side of the Lincoln Memorial Penny. The reverse design changed again in 2010 to feature a rendition of the Union Shield.
Features of the 1985 Penny
Next, let’s look at the unique features of the 1985 penny.
The Obverse of the 1985 Penny
The top side of the coin is the obverse, also known as the heads. On a 1985 Lincoln penny, the obverse features the right-facing portrait of President Abraham Lincoln in a seemingly serious, sombre mood. The president is portrayed wearing a tuxedo accessorized with a necktie.
Around the top of the coin is the motto: IN GOD WE TRUST. The word LIBERTY is inscribed on the left side, behind Lincoln’s back, while the coin’s year of production, 1985, is on the right, in front of the president’s chest.
Coins produced at the Denver mint have the ”D” mint mark on the obverse, just underneath the year of production.
The Reverse of the 1985 Penny
The reverse is the coin’s back side, also known as the tails. The 1985 penny depicts the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side.
Around the top of the coin’s reverse are the words: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Around the bottom is the coin’s denomination written as ONE CENT in a larger font size.
The motto: E PLURIBUS UNUM, sits right at the top of the depiction of the Lincoln Memorial.
Other Features of the 1985 Penny
The 1985 Lincoln penny has a plain edge.
The coin weighs 2.50 grams and has a diameter of 19mm. Its metal composition is 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.
The coin was struck in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The ones minted in Philadelphia do not have a mint mark and so do the proofs printed in San Francisco.
The 1985 Lincoln pennies minted in Denver will have a mint ‘’D’’ on the obverse side just underneath the ‘’1985’’ inscription.
Familiarizing yourself with these features can help determine if your 1985 penny is worth good money.
1985 Penny Value Guide
If you are eager to discover the 1985 penny value, this section is for you. We’ll explore the value of the different varieties of the 1985 Lincoln penny.
Three varieties of the Lincoln penny were struck in 1985. These are:
- The 1985 No-Mintmark Penny
- The 1985 D Penny
- The 1985 S Penny
The value of the 1985 penny depends on the mintage (number of coins), mintmark, and of course, the coin’s condition.
Let’s look at each coin variety:
1985 No-Mintmark Penny
A total of 5,648,489,887 1985 pennies were minted at the Philadelphia facility. This large number of coins means the 1985 no-mintmark penny is common and is generally not worth a lot.
The mint made the 1985-P Lincoln penny from a zinc-copper alloy instead of bronze or silver. Because it does not contain enough valuable metal, the 1985 penny in circulated condition is only worth its face value.
It is easy to find the no-mintmark 1985 Lincoln cent in circulation; as mentioned, these are typically worth face value, i.e. 1 cent.
The 1985 pennies in mint, uncirculated condition are scarce but are still worth little except for those found in higher grades. In mint state (MS) 66, the 1985 penny value is about $15 and $55 in MS67.
Finding a 1985 penny in MS67 is very difficult; in this grade, the coin would be worth about $215, according to the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC).
According to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the most valuable 1985-P Lincoln penny was graded MS68 and was auctioned at $5,875 in 2014.
1985 D Penny Value
Like the Philadelphia mint, the Denver mint produced billions of 1985 Lincoln cents. These coins feature the D mintmark under the 1985 date on the coin’s obverse side.
Approximately 5,287,399,926 of the 1985 pennies came from the U.S. mint in Denver, so this coin is not rare, and you can obtain it inexpensively. In addition, the 1985 pennies from Denver were also struck from a cheap copper-zinc alloy, making them not worth much beyond their face value in circulated condition.
In general, circulated condition, the 1985-D penny is worth about $0.05. Obtaining these coins in grade MS67 and above can be difficult as uncirculated 1985-D pennies are rare.
At MS66, the 1985-D penny value is about $5; at MS67, the coin is worth $7.50. Coins in MS68 and above are extremely rare. The most valuable 1985 penny from the Denver mint graded MS69 was auctioned for $5635 in 2010, according to PCGS records.
1985 S Penny Value
The U.S. Mint commissioned the production of 1985 proof pennies minted at the San Francisco mint.
Proof coins are struck using highly polished planchets and special presses, resulting in a brilliant, intense strike compared to regular coins.
The U.S. Mint produces proof sets for collectors and limits the number of these coins, making them slightly more worth than their face value.
About 3,362,821 1985 proof coins were minted, identifiable by the S mintmark on the coin’s obverse. The proof set contains a 1985 nickel, quarter, dime, a half dollar, and the penny, and collectors would buy the set for $11.
At grade PR65, a 1985-S penny is worth between $1.50 and $1.75; at PR69, it is worth about $15. The most valuable 1985-S proof penny was graded $PR70 and sold at $1610 in 2006.
As you can see, unless found in higher uncirculated grades, 1985 pennies are generally worth more or less their face value.
That said, some 1985 Lincoln pennies have distinct errors that may be worth thousands of dollars.
1985 Penny Errors
There are many 1985 penny errors, but not all are worth more than face value. Let’s look at the errors that are worth collecting and may be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
1985 Doubled Die Penny Error
There are only a few examples of 1985 pennies with the doubled die error.
These coins show some doubling in the date and lettering on the obverse side. The more prominent the doubling, the more valuable the coin. Coins with less damage and a shinier appearance will attract a higher price.
The value of 1985 doubled die pennies is between $20 and $50.
1985 Re-punched Mintmark Penny Error
Coins with a re-punched mintmark are interesting and highly collectible. In the 1980s, the mints manually punched mintmarks onto the die. The hand-punching method inevitably resulted in some coins having mintmarks punched in the wrong direction or position before being punched again correctly.
The more visible the re-punched mintmark is, the more valuable your 1985 penny might be. Re-punched mintmark 1985 pennies are valued at between $5 and $20.
1985 Broadstruck Penny Error
The broadstruck error is another highly-sought after variety seen in 1985 Lincoln pennies. The broastruck happens when the coin’s collar is flattened out and comes out wider than normal.
During minting, coins are placed inside a holding collar, helping to form the raised rim. The retaining collar also ensures the coin retains its correct thickness and diameter.
Sometimes, coins are struck outside the collar, resulting in a thinner, deformed coin with a wider diameter.
The 1985 broadstruck pennies are rare and are worth between $10 and $20.
1985 Off-Center Strike Penny Error
The off-center strike is a slightly more common error. The error happens when part of the design is left out during the minting process because the dies on the press were misaligned or the planchet was not centred.
You should pay attention to the off-strike range; too little or too much range can lower the coin’s value. Ideally, the off-center error should be about 50% off so that you can still see the mintmark, if there is any and the coin’s year of production. Such a 1985 penny off-center strike error would be worth between $50 and $100.
1985 Die Break Penny Error
Die break errors happen when mints use old or damaged dies to strike designs on the blank planchet. This error results in coins with distinct cracks, lines, or bumps.
The location and size of the crack determine the coin’s numismatic value. The BIE error is a die break error common in 1985 Lincoln pennies. The error occurs when a small vertical crack (I) shows up between the letters B and E in the word LIBERTY on the coin’s obverse.
A 1985 penny die break error is worth between $5 and $10.
Here are some common questions collectors ask about the 1985 penny value.
What makes a 1985-D penny rare?
The 1985-D penny is not rare, given that the Denver mint produced billions and distributed them through circulation. That said, some 1985 pennies from Denver have a sharper-than-usual strike because of an error in the zinc coating bath. Contamination in the bath resulted in the mint platting 1985 pennies with 90% copper and a small amount of zinc instead of the other way around. Such coins, though rare, may therefore seem brighter due to their higher copper content.
What makes the 1985 penny valuable
The U.S. Mint produced billions of 1985 Lincoln pennies, and these coins are still in circulation. Due to their availability, the 1985 pennies in circulated condition are worth their face value. A sought-after error can make the 1985 penny valuable. Look for errors such as the doubled die, broad strike and off-center.
Can you melt a 1985 penny for money?
A 1985 Lincoln penny is made largely of zinc (97.5%) and traces of copper (2.5%). These low-value metals will not fetch you much in the open market. In other words, the melt value of the 1985 penny is too low to be worthwhile.