How Much Is 1985 Penny Worth?

Every year, new coins and dollars are printed, but some aren’t as perfect as others.

But in the case of the 1985 penny, some tokens of currency are worth more than their assigned value!

This is often because of errors in their printing.

Let’s take a look into what makes this particular penny worth more than its assigned value.


History Behind the 1985 Penny

The 1985 Lincoln Memorial penny was minted in Philadelphia. Over 5,000,000,000 were printed in that year, which makes this penny quite common.

There were also pennies during this year to be printed in Denver and in San Francisco. In Denver, Colorado, over 5,000,000,000 were printed.

In San Francisco, a little more than 3,000,000 pennies in 1985, as they were marked as limited collector coins. Collectors would purchase these coins at $11 at the time in proof sets.

The reason so many 1985 pennies were printed was because of the zinc to copper ratio. Less copper is used to print pennies, so it was cheaper to print 1985 pennies.

However, this new material ratio is responsible for the distortions 1980s pennies have!

What Makes the 1985 Penny Worth Money?

The errors made in 1980s pennies add significant value to them. One common error in 1985 pennies is the peeling of the copper layer.

If your pennies are showing small bubbles, this can signify the separating of the copper and zinc. Sometimes, this layer is missing completely, and your penny is exposed and showcasing the silvery zinc layer.

The exposed zinc layer is more valuable than the bubbles, however.

Another error that 1985 pennies often have is known as a broadstrike. This is where the penny has a larger diameter than intended.

This printing error makes pennies look as if they have been squished. There are also pennies that are missing their mintmarks! However, this printing error isn’t uncommon.

It is important to note where your penny was minted as well.  For example, some Denver mint pennies have a yellow-ish color because of the brass used in printing.

Determining the value of a 1985 Penny

The value of the 1985 penny depends on the severity of the errors in its printing. Another factor that determines value is the wear and tear of the penny.

If the coin has an uncirculated, or near uncirculated, appearance, then its value also appreciates. This factor alone can lead your penny to be worth between $1 and $2.

With significant peeling and broadstrikes, your penny can be worth anywhere between $10 and $100.

However, one of the most valuable 1985 Lincoln Memorial pennies to date is worth over $5,000! It was purchased at auction in 2014 and sold at $5,875. 

This means that today, this particular penny could be valued over $7,300, if it’s still in the same condition.

1985-D pennies, or pennies that were printed in Denver, are worth less than those printed in Philadelphia. However, the most valuable Denver 1985 penny was sold at auction for $5,635!

Denver 1985 pennies that have a yellow tint in color have been valued between $25 and $50.

However, these pennies aren’t the ones you should be saving if they’re heavily worn. In general, the les uncirculated the penny, the higher the potential value.

The 1985-S pennies are surprisingly less valued than the Denver or Philadelphia pennies. On average, these pennies are worth between $1 and $2.

The highest valued 1985-S penny was sold for $180 in 2020, at auction.

Other Errors to Keep an Eye Out For

Aside from the broadstrike and squished appearances, there are even more errors to watch out for!

Double Die

The first error you want to look for is the presence of double-dying. This means that the lettering punched onto the penny looks slightly doubled.

Double die pennies are more rare than other errors. These pennies are often valued at $20 to $50 per penny.

Repunched Mintmark

The second error to look for is a re-punched mintmark. Some pennies have two mintmarks because the first punch was often in the wrong position on the coin.

However, not all repunches are as visible, so keep your eye peeled. This error can value pennies at $5 and up to $20.

Off-Center Strike

The off-center strike error is when the region is missing from the coin. This happened sometimes due to misalignments in machine.  

The lesser valued off-center pennies are priced between $10 and $20. These are the pennies that are either less than 10% off-center or more than 60% off-center.

The more severe off-centered pennies are valued between $50 and $100. These pennies are approximately 50% off-center and clearly show the date and mint mark.

Jackie Palmer is a Houston-based coin journalist and fashion enthusiast. She joined Jewels Advisor’s content team after years of experience as a content strategist, managing blogs and social channels for local stores. Jackie mostly collects and studies US coins produced during the 20th century and over the years, published hundreds of articles for multiple coin publications.