1981 Lincoln Cent Value: Price and Grade Guide


The 1981 penny is a highly sought-after collectible, with rarity and uniqueness making it difficult to acquire. These coins are often sold at auction for a high price, and this article will provide an overview of their characteristics and condition.

1. 1981 d penny

  • Value: $0.33
  • Grade: MS67+RD
  • Sold: $5,170.00

The 1981 penny is available in two varieties: the 1981-D and the 1981-S. Both were produced in high mintage by the US Mint, with the D version featuring a mintmark beneath the denomination on the reverse. The 1981 d penny is a particularly popular coin due to its high mintage, and is only considered remarkable in MS67 or higher.

The Denver Factory produced a total of 5,373,235,677 1981 pennies. In their circulating state, these coins are worth only their metal value, which is equivalent to roughly $0.33 in silver melt valuation. However, these coins may be sold for investment purposes as collectible coins.


The portrait of Abraham Lincoln is prominently featured on the front side, bordered by the phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST.” To the right is the date of production, and to the left is the word LIBERTY. The reverse of the penny features the Lincoln Memorial in the center, surrounded by the words “ONE CENT” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.

2. 1981 s penny

  • Value: $3
  • Grade: PR70
  • Sold: $8,050.00

The 1981 S penny features both a complete and distinct S mintmark on its face. This coin is distinguished by the letter “S”, with the clear S mintmark being scarcer than the full S. Neither of these mintmarks is considered particularly rare.

The 1981 example cents of the Type 1 variety, featuring the same closed S mintmark as Type 2, account for the majority of the mintage. To create a more distinct S symbol with more prominent letter forms, US Capitol authorities redesigned the S mintmark in 1981; however, only 10 percent of the total was produced with the Type 2 symbol, making them significantly more difficult to locate.


Frank Gasparro, then a junior printmaker at the Philadelphia Royal Mint, designed the reverse of the 1981 penny. From a selection of 23 versions submitted by the Mint’s engraving team, he chose the Lincoln Memorial and the initials “FG” as his primary choice.

The architecture of the Memorial is such that visitors can view the sculpture of Lincoln, a first for a human to be depicted on both the obverse and reverse of a U.S. coin.

3. 1981 Canadian penny

  • Value: $0.10
  • Grade: MS64
  • Sold: $2,000 to $5,000

The 5 euro coin, commonly referred to as a dime in Canada, is equivalent to one-twentieth of a $1. This coin was modeled after the coinage of the United States, its neighbor. The 1981 Canadian penny, with its melt price of $0.03 CAD, is affected by a variety of factors, including condition, wear, market forces, and surface. Following the phasing out of the dime, it became the lowest-valued coin in circulation.


4. 1981 Australian penny coin

  • Value: 0.05 AUD
  • Grade: PR69D
  • Sold: $249.99

The Australian one-cent piece was established with the Monetary Act and represented the lowest value of the Australian currency. Unlike other currencies, it was not a substitute for a pre-decimal piece, with the 1981 penny coin being the first of its kind.

In February 1992, coins minted in 1981 were removed from public circulation after having been in use for over 11 years. Despite this, they remain accepted as payment and will never be stigmatized.


In 1981, the Royal Australian Mint experienced a national strike, prompting the Australian Government to turn to the Perth and Royal Factory to produce the 250 million coins necessary to maintain output levels.

5. 1981 British penny

  • Value: $0.15 – $3.5
  • Grade: VF
  • Sold: $149.99

The United Kingdom’s switch to a numeric central bank on February 15 saw the one penny become the smallest circulating currency of the British Pound Sterling, alongside two other coins. This followed the demonetization of the quarter-cent in 1984.

The 1981 British penny has been in circulation for 41 years and remains a viable option for collectors and numismatists alike. When purchasing this coin, it is essential to inspect the surface and grade carefully in order to ensure the best possible item is acquired.


6. 1981 German penny

  • Value: $0.14
  • Grade: MS-67+
  • Sold: $12,500

In 1999, the Euro replaced the Deutsche Mark, which remained in circulation until the physical euro cash was released on January 1, 2002. This marked the end of the Deutsche Mark as legal tender, with the 1981 German penny having been in use for 21 years prior.


The 1963 penny collection is highly sought after due to its unique background and higher grade. These coins were all produced in well-known factories under varying conditions, making them highly collectible. For more information on this topic, please visit our website.

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  Assessing the Value of a 1943 Penny: A Price Chart
  Determining the Value of a 1966 Penny

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