What makes a 1957 D wheat penny valuable among collectors? Does it have any special value? While most wheat pennies are common, certain qualities can make a 1957 D penny rare and desirable to coin collectors, driving up its value substantially.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The key factors that give a 1957 D wheat penny value are mint marks indicating it was made in Denver, uncirculated condition, and rare errors like double die obverses or repunched mint marks.
Condition is paramount in determining a coin’s worth.
Mint Marks and Scarcity
The mint mark on a 1957 D wheat penny indicates where it was produced – at the Denver Mint. This is an important factor in determining the coin’s rarity and value to collectors. The lower the mintage (total number produced) from a particular mint, the more scarce and potentially valuable the coin.
Denver Mint Production
In 1957, the Denver Mint produced 1,051,342,000 wheat pennies. This was their highest output for any wheat cents that decade. It’s a substantial number compared to some other dates and mints, making the 1957 D wheat penny generally less rare and valuable than some of its peers.
However, there were still fewer 1957 D cents minted than earlier dates like the 1909-1958 wheat pennies. There are also far fewer than Lincoln cents produced after 1958. So they are still quite collectible and can be worth a premium over face value if in pristine, uncirculated condition.
Grading and Value
Well-struck 1957 D wheat pennies with no wear or damage can sell for a small premium. Here are some approximate values:
- About $0.25-$0.50 in average circulated condition
- $1-$2 if still in extremely fine condition
- $3-$5 or more if graded MS-63 RB (Red Brown) by PCGS or NGC
- $10-$15 or more if a very lustrous MS-65 RD (Full Red)
So while the 1957 D wheat penny is not particularly rare, specimens in pristine states of preservation still appeal to many collectors and can be worth decent premiums. Checking the coin’s grade and being able to authenticate it is key to determining any added numismatic value versus face value.
Condition and Grading
The condition and grading of a 1957 D wheat penny play a major role in determining its value to collectors. Here are some key things to consider:
Wear and Tear
Since these pennies are over 65 years old, most will show at least some wear and tear from circulation. Pennies are graded according to their condition. In extremely worn condition are referred to as “Good.” Slightly worn pennies are “Very Good.” Lightly circulated pennies are “Fine.” And pennies showing little wear are “Extremely Fine.”
The less wear and tear, the more valuable the coin.
The original mint luster on uncirculated wheat pennies can greatly increase their value. Luster refers to the brightness and shine on the surface of a coin when it is first minted. Pennies showing full original mint luster are graded “Brilliant Uncirculated” and can sell for a strong premium.
Marks and Damage
Any marks, scratches, or damage on the surface of a wheat penny will reduce its grade and value. Even small contact marks or fingerprints can downgrade an “Uncirculated” penny to an “Extremely Fine.” Major marks, scratches, or damage can reduce the value much more significantly.
Cleaning also damages the coin surface and is best avoided.
Eye appeal refers to how pleasing a coin looks to the naked eye based on its color, strike, surfaces, etc. A nicely toned wheat penny with smooth surfaces and a sharp strike will have great eye appeal.
Such coins often sell for more than other coins of the same technical grade but with inferior eye appeal.
Having rare wheat pennies certified and graded by professional services like PCGS or NGC can authenticate their condition and grade. This certification adds credibility and typically increases collector value for higher-grade wheat pennies.
For example, an NGC-graded MS-65 Red 1957 D penny sold for over $5,000 at auction.
Die Variations and Errors
There are a few die variations and errors that make certain 1957 D wheat pennies more valuable to collectors. Here are some of the main ones:
Doubled Die Obverse
The most famous die variation on 1957 D cents is the Doubled Die Obverse (DDO). This occurs when the die imprints the design onto the coin blank (planchet) more than once, resulting in a doubling of design elements like the words “In God We Trust” and the date.
Around 20-30 of these DDO wheat pennies were produced before the die was retired. They can sell for $1,000 – $15,000+ depending on the grade and prominence of the doubling.
The “Doubled Ear” variety exhibits extra thickness inside the wheat stalk near Lincoln’s ear. While less dramatic than DDO coins, Doubled Ear examples are considerably scarcer with just 4-5 known specimens.
In August 2018, one sold at auction for over $17,000. So they carry quite a premium despite their more subtle error.
On rare occasions in 1957, excess grease or dirt built up on the dies and caused the date to be punched into the coin slightly off-center. These “Misplaced Dates” are in demand.
Back in 2012, an MS-64 red example with the date moved into the wheat stalks brought $5,015 at Heritage Auctions. Lower-grade pieces still sell for $500+ generally.
There are also less dramatic die chips, clashes, and repunched mint marks to look for as well. While less scarce than DDOs and Doubled Ears, certain minor varieties can add $50-100+ to the right collector.
Authentication and Appraisal
Authenticating and determining the value of a 1957 D Wheat Penny can be a nuanced process that requires some expertise. Here are a few key things to consider:
Examine the Coin’s Condition
A coin’s condition plays a major role in its value. Some things to look for when assessing a 1957 D Wheat Penny:
- Wear and damage – Heavy wear or damage can negatively impact value
- Luster – Original mint luster is desirable. Cleaned coins lose this luster
- Toning – Natural toning can increase value. Artificial toning decreases it
- Grading score – Professional grading services like PCGS or NGC can assign a numeric score
There are a few ways to determine if a 1957 D Wheat Penny is genuine:
- Weight – Should be 3.11 grams if authentic
- Magnet test – A strong magnet should not stick to the coin if it’s copper
- Compare to images – Look for proper designs and text
- Examine under magnification – Should show proper die marks and textures
Counterfeits do exist so authentication is crucial before appraising value.
Appraisal of Value
Common factors that determine a 1957 D Wheat Penny’s value:
- Mintage – The 1957 D had a substantial mintage of 1.8 billion
- Condition – Heavily worn coins have a little premium over face value
- Errors/Varieties – Certain errors or varieties like double dies can greatly increase the value
- Grades – An MS 63 Red may sell for $8+, while an MS 65 Red brings $25+
Having the coin professionally graded by PCGS or NGC and placed in a protective holder will make it easier to authenticate and assign a market value.
What Makes A 1957 D Wheat Penny Valuable – Conclusion
In summary, while most 1957 D pennies have little monetary value, those in pristine condition, with minting quirks like doubled dies or repunched marks, can be highly prized by collectors and investors.
Understanding the nuances around condition, rarity, and authentication is key to assessing if your 1957 D coin is a hidden gem or just pocket change.