Pennies are the most collected coin because they’re easy to find. But they’re also expensive for the mint because it costs almost 3c to make a penny. That said, a penny with a mistake from the mint can be quite profitable for some lucky collector. So let’s go through this 2021 Penny Errors List. That way, we’ll verify which coins you should look out for in your change.

1. 2021 (P) Penny Die Crack Error

2021 (P) Penny Die Crack Error

Philadelphia was the first branch of the US Mint, so it didn’t initially have its own mint mark. The letters like S for San Francisco or O for New Orleans were only introduced once the mint started opening other branches. The P Mint Mark did appear in special circumstances e.g. the wartime coins (1942 to 1945), the Susan B. Anthony Dollar (1979), and most coins after 1982.

On the penny though, the P stayed absent except in 2019 for the mint’s 225th anniversary. In 2021, Philadelphia Pennies have no mint mark, but they do have a dramatic error. On some coins, there’s a rim-to-rim die crack across Lincoln’s chest. It almost looks like a lamination error but it doesn’t reveal the zinc below. Depending on condition, it’s worth $30 to $800.

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2. 2021 (P) Penny Cud Error

2021 (P) Penny Cud Error

When coins are being made, the designer makes an 8” model which gets reduced at the mint. The process takes several days to produce a galvano. This is used to make a hub which later makes dies. These dies go on to make tens of thousands of coins, sometimes hundreds of thousands if the die is especially strong. But eventually, the dies get old, and have to retire.

In their dying days, they sometimes get repolished to stretch their viability. Before they’re replaced, they may develop cracks, breaks, and gashes that they transfer to their late-stage coins. These are sometimes called cud errors. This one is similar to the die break above, but the damage is worse so the coin has a dent or scooped-out section defacing the mint date.

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3. 2021 Penny Defaced Obverse and Reverse

If you can get your penny evaluated and certified, you can make a lot more money reselling it. But the big coin companies i.e. NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Company), ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service), and PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) have charges starting around $30 before shipping so it’s not always worth forking that out.

It may be easier – and cheaper – to just take some good photos, describe the error in detail, and sell your coin on eBay. This unverified 2021 Penny sold for $822 because both its heads and tails sides have errors – traces of a 2019 Texas ATB Quarter facing the wrong way. It could be physical damage from something hot and heavy pressing the quarter into the penny.


4. 2021 (P) Penny Rim Die Break

2021 (P) Penny Rim Die Break

We’ve explained how die breaks occur – it’s an old age problem. On the earliest Lincoln Cents from 1909, the design had higher relief so the dies had to be replaced much more often. But over time, the relief was lowered to reduce costs, extend the lifespan of dies, and make the coins easier to stack. But after thousands of strikes, all dies eventually fall apart.

For this particular Philadelphia Penny, the die break is on the side rim above the UNI in United States. The error makes that part of the rim look like it’s about to peel off. It forms a sort of wedge shape from the edge that bleeds into the rim. It probably means that part of the die broke off so the excess metal lumped onto the rim. This mint mistake is worth about $16.

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5. 2021 (P) Penny Reverse Strike Thru Error

Just because a mint mistake is easy to spot doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth a lot. This next error is a visual delight. On the back of the coin, toward the upper left of the Union Shield, there’s an ugly splotch that almost looks like hot metal or maybe a bullet marred the coin. It’s not a verified error, but it seems to be a strike through from some unknown object.

This coin has sold on eBay for around $20 because it’s such an obvious flaw even though its source is unclear. If you find the same mint error in a superior grade, especially on a red or red-brown penny, you can fetch a good price for it. But you’d have to decide whether it’s worth getting the coin graded. The fees will likely surpass the selling price for this mistake.


6. 2021 (P) Penny Reverse Grease Error

2021 (P) Penny Reverse Grease Error

Older coins were struck at least twice to ensure the design was fully rendered on the blank aka planchet. But newer coins are designed and minted digitally so the dies only hit the coin once. However, other things can cause an error on the coin. For example, some grease may get onto the planchet, creating a layer of unwanted lubrication and/or obstruction on them.

In this case, the grease covered the upper rear rim of the coin, making it slippery. This made the die lose contact with the coin. As a result, part of the legend United States of America was not properly pressed onto the planchet. The words ‘States of’ and the ‘Am’ in America are missing and appear to have faded off the coin. This error coin sold on eBay for around $30.

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7. 2021 (P) Penny Obverse and Reverse Die Break

You probably know that the obverse is the front or heads side of a coin while the reverse is the back or tails side. And so far, we’ve looked at obverse cud errors and reverse grease one. But on some 2021 Pennies, these errors seem to overlap. The mix-up is likely because the coins aren’t verified, but they can still be worth about $200 if you sell the pennies on eBay.

This particular pair of errors – or possibly the same error – comes from a die break on the obverse that scrapes off part of the date (2021) as well as the surface of the coin below the date. You may assume it’s a Philadelphia coin since the mint mark isn’t as visible. But on the back of the coin, the phrase ‘States of America’ has partly faded off the coin thanks to the die chip.


8. 2021 (P) Penny Obverse Spike Error

2021 (P) Penny Obverse Spike Error

Do you know how the Lincoln Cent got the motto In God We Trust? There was a lot of disagreement between the Chief Mint Engraver – Charles Barber – and the artist who was outsourced to design the coin – Victor David Brenner. At some point, Barber shifted the portrait of Lincoln lower down the coin without waiting for the designer to make a comment.

This left extra space at the top of the coin. Barber and the Mint Director – Frank A. Leach – fixed the flaw by adding the motto which had previously been left off smaller coins. That’s just a bit of background. On this particular error coin, a die crack above the motto created a spike above Lincoln’s head. The die chip starts from the W in We and runs down into his hair.

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9. 2021 (P) Penny Struck Off-Centre

2021 (P) Penny Struck Off-Centre

When a coin is struck at the mint, feeder fingers push the blank or planchet into position. They place it directly between the dies where – on modern coins – it gets struck just once. But if the planchet sits slightly to the left or right, the strike won’t land on target. As a result, part of the planchet might remain unmarked and some of the details will get sliced off too.

The shift is usually measured by the percentage of blank space. This 2021 Penny was only a little off-centre so you can see empty space on the lower right obverse and upper right reverse while part of L in Liberty. In from the motto, and United at the back are truncated. The rim or collar of the coin is intact though. This mint error isn’t worth a lot – $20 to $30.

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10. 2021-D Penny DDR and DDO

2021-D Penny DDR and DDO

 Usually, if a penny has multiple errors, it will sell for more. But that’s not always the case, since this one was only worth $40 in the secondary market. The coin itself has two die errors on the front and back. A doubled-die error happens while the hub is striking the die. The die moves slightly between hub strikes, forming a kind of double-vision effect on the flawed die.

This mint mistake is then copied onto every coin struck by that die. And this case, both the obverse and reverse dies had doubling. This type of doubling is clearest on the numbers and letters though you can sometimes see DDOs on Lincoln’s eye (doubled eye) or ear (doubled ear). Check for DDRs on One in the denomination (i.e. One Dollar) using a coin microscope.

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11. 2021 (P) Penny Strike Thru Error

A strike through or struck thru error happens when a foreign object wiggles between the die and the blank. The pressure of the die will press the contaminant onto the coin. Sometimes, the object will fuse to the coin and become permanently attached. Other times, it will slide off and leave a stencil, scratch, or echo of its presence. The object could be anything around.

Examples include staples, tape, or fabric from a mint worker’s shirt sleeve. One unverified strike thru shows a piece of string cutting through the words In God over Lincoln’s head. The asking price on eBay is about $20. Another sample struck thru coin has a rough diagonal shard above the date. It looks like the coin was grazed by harsh hot metal. It sold for just $7.


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