There used to be a saying — “pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars” — that stressed the importance of saving every cent (the phrase later showed up in a country song). Today, some Lincoln pennies can make you thousands of dollars all on their own, and the reason, ironically, is that they were mistakenly produced with dime reverses.
The penny in question is called the 2001-D Lincoln cent mule error coin. It is so rare that it could sell at auction for $100,000 or more, according to CoinWeek. The penny was struck at the Denver Mint in 2001 and features the usual portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the front, or obverse. What it doesn’t have is the normal Lincoln Memorial on the reverse. Instead, it mistakenly has a Roosevelt dime reverse.
As with many error coins, there are questions about whether the Lincoln cent mule error coin was an intentional mistake. As CoinWeek noted, several curious errors have escaped the U.S. Mint over the years. These include modern proof coins struck over obsolete coins, coins with missing edge inscriptions and coins struck on everyday objects, such as an undated dime struck on a nail, as reported by the Chicago Tribune in 2015.
“The 2001-D Lincoln cent mule falls in the category of Mint errors that conceivably could have been produced by mistake and released unnoticed into circulation,” CoinWeek reported. Either way, these error coins are highly prized by collectors and often command fabulously high prices.
One of the few 2001-D Lincoln cent mule coins was expected to go to auction through Heritage Auctions this week and sell for six figures. It’s the fourth such coin to sell at auction. Heritage Auctions also sold the other three at the following prices, according to CoinWeek:
- PCGS MS66RD: sold for $114,000 on June 17, 2021
- PCGS MS65RD: sold for $78,000 on Feb. 24, 2022
- PCGS MS65RD: sold for $66,000 on Aug. 24, 2022
Before you go shuffling through your jar of pennies, you should know that CoinWeek called Lincoln cent mules “spectacularly rare.” When you include the four mentioned above, the total might not even reach into double figures. Because they’re so hard to find, even those in poor condition can fetch up to $20,000.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Lincoln Pennies With Dime Reverse Sides Are So Rare They’ll Fetch Upwards of $100K
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