1966 Penny Value Guide (Regular Strike, SMS & Rare Error Coins)

Jenson Cambell

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The 1966 penny provides a unique production circumstance that affects the price of this coin. Let’s get to know if this cent can have more than the face value with this 1966 Penny Value Guide!

1966 Penny Value Summary

The penny coin production was unique for 1966. As you can see in the table, there is no separate section for the three mint locations. This is due to efforts to cut costs in coin production.

Mint Location Mintage Coin Series Estimated Value


San Francisco

2,188,147,783 1966 1C MS BN $0.05 to $15.00
1966 1C MS RB $5.00 to $50.00
1966 1C MS RD $7.50 to $375.00
Philadelphia 2,261,583 1966 SMS 1C MS BN $0.05 to $20.00
1966 SMS 1C MS RB $5.00 to $25.00
1966 SMS 1C MS RD $11.00 to $1,500.00
1966 SMS 1C MS RDC $210.00 to $2,500.00
1966 SMS 1C MS DCAM $160.00 to $1,000.00

As there was a significant shortage of coins in circulation, the US Mint took some steps to ensure that the produced penny will not be pulled from the market. This change includes removing the mintmark. So, collectors can’t distinguish a coin produced by one mint location from others.

1966 Penny Details

  • Category: Lincoln Cents, Memorial Reverse
  • Weight: 3.11g
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Composition: Brass (Copper and Zinc)
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D. Brenner
  • Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro
  • Edge: Plain

1966 Penny obverse feature

The centerpiece for the obverse side of the 1966 Penny features Abraham Lincoln’s bust. Above that is the phrase ‘IN GOD WE TRUST.’ Meanwhile, the left side has the word ‘LIBERTY’ with the year of mintage on the right.

1966 Penny reverse feature

The 1966 Penny was part of the reverse re-design made in 1959. This new design titled ‘Memorial Reverse’ features the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC as the centerpiece

On the top is the country name and motto, with the coin’s value on the bottom. The design of Memorial Reverse was used from 1959 until 2008, making it quite a common penny.

How Much is a 1966 Penny?

When it comes to designating coins, most can be easily distinguished via their mint location or being a proof coin. However, NGC can give a unique designation for a coin’s particular characteristic called a ‘strike character.’

How Much is a 1966 Penny

The 1966 Penny uses brass as the metal for its blank. This mix of copper and zinc provides an alloy with a very distinct reddish luster. This striking color can fade over time.

So, most penny series have the following strike characters:

  • RD: Also known as Red, RD refers to the coins with at least 85% of their luster still intact. It’s a standard feature for most uncirculated or mint condition Lincoln pennies. This strike character is also the most sought-after one due to its higher pigmented luster.
  • RB: Red-brown or RB is the given strike character for a coin that has at least 15% of its original red luster. Due to being in the midpoint, most coins belong to this designation.
  • BN: Brown is the least valuable of the three. This refers to the coins that have less than 15% of the red luster remaining.

As a strike character, this description can be mixed with other strike characters such as ‘Cameo’ or ‘Deep Proof-like.’ For example, a Cameo Proof coin with a red character strike will have a description of RDC. This helps collectors and the NGC to grade the copper coin better.

If you want to learn more about these different copper strikes, you can refer to this guide.

1966 Regular Strike Penny Value

1966 Regular Strike Penny Value
1966 1C, RD (Regular Strike) Lincoln Cent (Modern)

As stated before, to prevent collectors from hoarding coins, the US Mint did not produce any penny with a mint mark for the year 1966. The result is most of the penny from 1966 is in circulation and has a lower overall price.

1966 Regular Strike Penny Value List
Grading BN RB RD
Good $0.05 / /
Fine $0.05 / /
Extremely Fine $0.05 / /
AU 50 $0.05 / /
AU 58 $0.05 / /
MS 60 $0.10 / /
MS 61 $0.25 / /
MS 62 $0.50 / /
MS 63 $0.75 $5.00 $7.50
MS 64 $1.00 $7.50 $10.00
MS 65 $2.50 $10.00 $15.00
MS 66 $15.00 $20.00 $30.00
MS 67 / $50.00 $375.00

Most of these coins ended in circulation, having a price of $0.05 from the G-4 to AU-58 grade. Circulated coins do not produce much value than that. Even the estimated price for the uncirculated is just $15 at the highest.

As you can see from the table, the value for the regular strike 1966 penny is pretty low. Despite being an old coin, the large quantity and lack of mint mark make this coin low in value, which is the target of the US Mint.

1966 Regular Strike Penny Auction Records

However, some coins stand out as more valuable as they are priced higher in the auction than the current estimated price. These 1966 pennies are:

  • 1966 MS65 1C Lincoln Cent: This MS-65 BN penny is sold for $600, which is $597.5 higher than the estimated price. It’s been sold by Heritage Auctions in September 2019.
  • 1966 MS64 1C Lincoln Cent: Sold by Heritage Auctions in November 2020, this MS-64 BN 1966 Penny is sold for $360.

1966 SMS Penny Value

1966 SMS Penny Value
1966 1C SMS, RD (Special Strike) Lincoln Cent (Modern)

Due to the shortage during the coin production since 1964, the US Mint did not release any proof coin from 1965 to 1967. So, for the 1966 penny, there is a special designation known as SMS or Special Mint Set.

1966 SMS Penny Value List
Grading BN RB RD
Good $0.05 / /
Fine $0.05 / /
Extremely Fine $0.05 / /
AU 50 $0.07 / /
AU 58 $0.08 / /
MS 60 $0.17 / /
MS 61 $1.05 / /
MS 62 $1.15 / /
MS 63 $1.45 $5.00 /
MS 64 $1.75 $5.00 $11.00
MS 65 $9.50 $12.00 $19.00
MS 66 $15.00 $19.00 $28.00
MS 67 $20.00 $25.00 $40.00
MS 68 / / $200.00
MS 69 / / $1,500.00

The SMS is a stand-in for the Proof coins for this year, mainly intended for collectors. Although, it’s not that far-fetched to see them in circulation as the Philadelphia Mint produced more than two million SMS pennies that year.

1966 SMS Penny Auction Records

Here are some of the 1966 SMS Penny coins with high value in the market.

  • 1966 1C SMS MS68 RD: According to PCGS records, this MS-68 RD 1966 coin has a value of $288. It was sold by the Heritage Auctions in August 2020.
  • 1966 1C SMS MS66 RD: Great Collection Auctions sold this particular MS-66 1966 Penny in October 2013 for $37.

1966 SMS Cameo and Deep-Cameo Penny Value

1966 SMS Cameo and Deep-Cameo Penny Value
1966 1C SMS, CAM (Special Strike)

Higher in quality than the regular strike SMS coins, the Cameo and Deep-Cameo penny provide higher value.

1966 SMS Cameo and Deep Cameo Penny Value List
Grading CAM DCAM
MS 63 / $160.00
MS 64 $210.00 $385.00
MS 65 $285.00 $1,000.00
MS 66 $475.00 /
MS 67 $2,500.00 /

The CAM or Red Cameo SMS 1966 penny has a price of $210 to $2,500, the highest for any 1966 Penny. Meanwhile, the PCGS estimates the Deep-Cameo(DCAM) coin at $160 to $1,000.

1966 Penny Error Coins

With its high mintage, it’s not a surprise that the 1966 Penny has many error coins. Here are some of them currently in the market, along with their price.

1966 Penny Doubling on Obverse Error

1966 Penny Doubling on Obverse Error

DDO, or double die obverse, refers to the striking mistake that happens during the die rubbing process. It’s the quick succession of strikes between two dies, resulting in a more prominent mirror-like engraving.

This coin from eBay features a DDO error and is up for $150.00. The mistake is more noticeable in the mint year and the ‘Liberty’ letters.

1966 Penny Error Spear Forehead Broad Stike and Rim Multi Error

1966 Penny Error Spear Forehead Broad Stike and Rim Multi Error

This coin does not feature a lone error but a slew of them. Let’s get into the most prominent first, the spear forehead. Due to striking errors, some Lincoln Cents feature a misplaced dent, especially in the forehead part of Lincoln’s bust. This specialized error is dubbed as ‘Spear Forehead.

Another noticeable error in this coin is its off-ridge rim error. As the blank is misstruck, the die does not transfer on the suitable surface, resulting in a blank part at the bottom right rim being blank.  You can get this coin for $500.00 on eBay.

1966 Lincoln Off-Center Mint Error

1966 Lincoln Off-Center Mint Error

Same with the prior coin, this 1966 Penny also features an off-center error, albeit to a greater degree. Almost half of the coin is blank, making it a very major mistake. For $69.74, you can buy this significant error coin.

In Conclusion

If you have an uncirculated or error coin, the 1966 Penny can provide a greater price than the face value. However, many uncirculated coins do not offer much more than face value, with some priced as low as $0.05.

1966 Penny Value chart

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