The 1987 Memorial penny looks the same as other Lincoln cents from the 1980s made of copper-plated zinc planchets. Unlike the obverse design that stayed unchanged, pieces minted this year came with a different reverse look compared to the original coins.
Since it is about modern coinage, the 1987 penny value is pretty low, except for a few rarities and collectible errors. Finding these coins in serious collections is almost impossible, but new numismatists with a limited budget typically start with this appealing series.
1987 Memorial penny Value Chart
|Condition||1987 P No Mint Mark penny||1987 D penny||1987 S penny|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1987 Memorial Penny
The first United States pennies were large cents struck in 1793. In 1857, these coins became the lowest-value physical American currency after the half-cent abolition. You can find various designs before the US Mint started Wheat penny production in 1909.
This initial design occurred to mark 100 years of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and came into history as the first American coin without abstract symbols, like Lady Liberty, on the obverse. Victor David Brenner created the new-styled cent with Abraham Lincoln’s portrait and two wheat stalks.
In 1959, the reverse was changed in honor of Lincoln’s 150 birthday, and the Memorial building replaced wheat ears. Frank Gasparro did an excellent job with the new reverse and made this coin famous, thanks to the same President visible on both coin sides.
Fifty years later, the US Mint decided to celebrate the 200th Lincoln’s birthday by changing the cent’s design once more. In 2009, pennies with four reverse types appeared in circulation, showing crucial stages of the President’s life. The Lincoln penny became an exception once again!
1987 Memorial penny
|Philadelphia||1987 No Mint mark penny||4,682,466,931|
|Denver||1987 D penny||4,879,389,514|
|San Francisco||1987 S penny (proof)||4,227,728|
Coins with Memorial reverse minted from 1959 to 2008 came without significant rarities and interesting variations. So, practically everyone can afford the entire set.
The 1987 Lincoln penny is a standard coin with nominal value, making it an excellent choice for new collectors. Most experienced numismatists with an unlimited budget are rarely interested in this series, but it still has admirers among those who appreciate the historical value of this coinage.
This penny is similar to others minted after 1982 when the US Mint started using a copper-plated zinc planchet. Since the entire mintage went into circulation, almost all coins struck in 1987 are worn out, except those that dedicated collectors kept safe.
Related Post: 16 Most Valuable Wheat Penny Errors In Circulation
Features of the 1987 Memorial Penny
After the first coins with the 16th President appeared in circulation in 1909, those with a genuine person’ image struck on the obverse became regular among American coinage. The new Memorial cent took a step forward and became the first and, so far, the only coin with the same man on both sides.
The obverse of the 1987 Memorial penny
You can see the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST along the plain coin edge, placed above the head of the 16th President of the United States.
The minting date and the mint mark (when existing) are on the right, in front of Lincoln’s bust. The uncomplicated design also includes the word LIBERTY. Engraver Victor David Brenner added it on the left.
The reverse of the 1987 Memorial penny
Designer Frank Gasparro created the second reverse variation of pennies minted from 1959 to 2008. The Lincoln Memorial erected in Washington, DC occupies the center, while the E·PLURIBUS·UNUM, a required Latin saying, is above it.
The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is struck along the top rim, while the denomination is placed below. Curiosity is a small statue of Abraham Lincoln visible between pillars.
It makes this coin stand out from all the others as a unique piece in American coinage with the same President visible on both sides. Besides, there are designer initials on the right of the steps.
1987 Memorial penny
|Face value||One cent ($0.01)|
|Coin diameter||19 mm (0.75000 inches)|
|Compound||The core of zinc and outer layer of copper (97.5%: 2.5%)|
|Coin thickness||1.52 mm (0.0598 inches)|
|Coin weight||2.5 g (0.08818 ounces)|
Other features of the 1987 Memorial penny
The 1987 Lincoln pennies are round one-cent coins with a plain edge. Their diameter is 19 mm (0.75000 inches), and their thickness is 1.52 mm (0.0598 inches). Like all pieces struck after 1982, they are made of copper-plated zinc (97.5% zinc: 2.5% copper) and weigh 2.5 g (0.08818 ounces).
1987 Memorial Penny Value Guides
The mintage of 9,566,084,173 pennies with the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse is pretty high for this coin type. The highest number of struck cents came from Denver, while the San Francisco mint produced only proofs this year.
Two of three coin types came with the mint mark, while those minted in Philadelphia had no letter struck under the date.
1987 No Mint mark penny Value
Since the Philadelphia mint produced 4,682,466,931 Lincoln cents in 1987, you can expect them to be cheap. Moreover, most pieces are worn-out during circulation and are worth their face value.
The only exceptions are collectible red-toning specimens that come in the price range from $0.10 to $12, depending on the preservation level. The most costly are coins with an MS 68 rating, and you can get about $60 for such pieces.
1987 Memorial penny value
|Condition||Red 1987 No Mint mark penny||Red 1987 D penny|
The most expensive 1987 Memorial penny produced in Philadelphia is a red coin in an MS 69 grade. One collector purchased it in 2022 for $870.
1987 D penny Value
The Denver mint had the highest Lincoln penny mintage in 1987. An impressive number of 4,879,389,514 coins came with the D mint mark on the obverse. They are typically inexpensive, and you can get a beautiful red piece for $0.10 to $15. Only coins in an MS 68 grade are a bit more valuable and can be worth up to $120.
Interestingly, one of these pieces is the most expensive in the series. One collector paid $3,475 to get the 1987 D MS 69 Memorial penny with attractive red toning on eBay in 2021.
1987 S proof penny Value
The San Francisco mint didn’t produce pennies from the regular strikes in 1987, meaning all coins with this date and the S mint mark were proofs. Their mintage was relatively low compared to the other two mints since only 4,227,728 pieces came from this mint.
1987 proof Memorial penny value
|Condition||1987 S RD DCAM penny|
Even though these cents are almost perfect and look fabulous, their prices are insignificant compared to similar coins from earlier decades. You can buy most pieces in the mint state for $0.18 to $12, and only those with a PR 70 rating are more valuable. Their prices can go up to $120, depending on demand.
As always, a few impeccable coins reached higher prices at auctions. One of the best examples is the 1987 Memorial penny with deep cameo contrast in a PR 70 grade. The price of $2,070 reached at Heritage Auctions in 2004 is pretty impressive for one of the modern coins from this decade.
Related Post: 19 Valuable Lincoln Memorial Penny Worth Money
1987 Memorial Penny Errors
Many collectors avoid Lincoln pennies as available and affordable coins unworthy of collecting. However, they often appreciate errors from this series, making them collectible and valuable.
Be aware that collecting Lincoln cent errors can be complex since the US Mint has produced the series since 1909. It can be tricky to find numerous errors struck for over 110 years. Another problem is determining their value since it depends on the coin’s condition and imperfection’s type, size, and rarity.
As for Lincoln cents produced in 1987, you can find a few interesting and collectible error types. You can enjoy looking for these pieces if you prefer this coin type.
1987 Penny Off-center
Pennies with this error came with an incomplete design after the dies failed to strike them evenly. When the deviation is about 1% to 5%, coins are considered regular, and their price is low.
On the other hand, pennies with an off-center of over 60% are not collectible since it is impossible to determine their minting year. Most collectors appreciate coins with the error off-center ranging from 40% to 50%, provided the date and mint mark are preserved and clearly visible. Their average price is approximately $100.
1987 Penny Silver penny
Even though many owners have reported silver-looking coins, it is impossible to find the 1987 Lincoln penny made of silver.
If you have one of these pieces, you can be sure they result from the chemical reaction between the zinc core and the outer copper layer. It is also possible to find specimens without a copper coat worth at least $50.
1987 Penny Doubled Die
This error is common among Lincoln pennies, and you can often find pieces with the image or inscription doubling. They result from the die striking twice the coin surface at slightly shifted angles. Typical doublings for pennies minted in 1987 appear on:
- The date
- The inscriptions
- The Lincoln’s eye
- The pillars of the Lincoln Memorial
Since these errors are usually insignificant, you can buy such coins for $25 to $50 on average.
1987 Penny BIE error
Sometimes, you can find a tiny vertical line that resembles the capital letter I placed between the B and E letters in the word LIBERTY on the coin obverse.
This error appears as a result of the damaged die leaving a trace on the coin surface. Since it is not particularly rare, you should set aside about $3 to $10 for such a penny.
Related Post: 19 Most Valuable Wheat Pennies Worth Money
FAQ about the 1987 Memorial Penny
What makes any of the 1987 Memorial pennies rare?
Probably the rarest 1987 pennies are those without the copper outer layer and pieces with 50% off-center error. For these imperfect cents, you can get about $50 to $100, while regular ones are abundant and inexpensive.
Which are particularly expensive 1987 Memorial pennies?
- The red 1987 D MS 69 Memorial penny sold on eBay in 2021 is worth $3,475
- The 1987 S PR 70 (with deep cameo contrast) Memorial penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2004 is worth $2,070
- The red 1987 D/D RPM MS 67 Memorial penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2021 is worth $1,800
- Brown 1987 D MS 64 Memorial penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2007 is worth $1,093
- The red 1987 MS 69 Memorial penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2022 is worth $870
- The brown 1987 PO1 Memorial penny sold on eBay in 2018 is worth $750
- The red-brown 1987 MS 63 Memorial penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2004 is worth $128
- The red-brown 1987 D MS 65 Memorial penny sold on eBay in 2020 is worth $16
How much money for 1987 No Mint mark Memorial pennies?
Most 1987 pennies are cheap and come in the price range from $0.10 to $12, depending on condition. Only pieces in an MS 68 grade can reach $60 on the open market.
What are the priciest Lincoln pennies ever?
With an auction record of $840,000, the most expensive Lincoln cent is the bronze Wheat penny struck in the Denver mint. The list of impressive coins from the series includes:
- The 1943 S bronze Wheat penny with a price of $504,000
- The 1944 S steel Wheat penny with a price of $408,000
- The 1958 S DDO Bronze Wheat penny with a price of $336,000
As for Memorial pennies, the priciest coin from the regular strike is the one minted in Philadelphia in 1999. Its price is $138,000, while the costliest error is the 1969 S DDO penny paid $126,500.