» 1988 Penny Error List & Value

1988 Penny Error List & Value

1988 Penny Value

1988 pennies are made from a copper-coated zinc composition, and they are worth more than one cent. Coin collectors find pennies interesting, and it’s easy to understand that. Error pennies are quite common, and if you eventually get one, it could be worth a lot more than its face value.

As a newbie or pro coin enthusiast, it’s important to know all the details and features of a penny before adding it to your collection.

Let’s find out more about the famous 1988 Lincoln penny.

1988 Penny Details

The 1988 penny is made from copper and zinc and has a weight of 2.5 grams. This penny is among the lightest set of pennies to be produced, and it features smooth edges with no reeds.

The face value of this coin is one cent, but if you find one in a pristine state, the price can go up to $15 or more.

It’s not an expensive coin to add to your collection unless you are looking for variations with errors. The 1988 penny was minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. In total, over 11 billion of the 1988 pennies were minted, so it’s a very common coin, hence why you need to find it in mint condition to get a reasonable price out of it.

The observe side of the 1988 penny was designed by Victor Brenner, and the reverse was designed by Frank Gasparro.

1988 Penny Value Chart

Mint Good Fine Extra Fine Uncirculated
1988 No Mint Mark Penny Value $0.01 $0.01 $0.02 $0.03
1988 – D Penny Value $0.01 $0.01 $0.02 $0.03
1988 – S Proof Penny Value $0.10 $0.50 $1.00 $3.00

1988 No Mint Mark Penny Value

1988 No Mint Mark Penny Value
Image Credit: pcgs

6,092,810,00 pennies were minted in Philadelphia, and none of them had any mint marks – which is not a surprise anyway. Many of these coins are still in circulation today, so it’ll be really difficult for them to be worth more than $0.01. In uncirculated condition, the 1988 – P is worth 10 to 30 cents, and usually, when they are worth more than this, there’s a chance it’s an error coin. For grades like MS65, you might be able to sell this coin for about $10, and this is quite high considering the actual value of the coin.

The rarity of a coin determines its value, and that’s why coin collectors are not keen on adding this penny to their collection, because there’s nothing special about it.

A 1988 – P penny that was graded MS68RD, was sold for $881 in 2014 at an auction, and this was the highest recorded sale of the 1988 – P penny.

1988 – D Penny Value

1988 – D Penny Value

The Denver mint also produced the 1988 penny in large quantities, although not as much as the Philadelphia mint. But 5,253,740,443 instances is a whole lot of pennies to be minted, and you’ll have an easy time finding one in circulation today.

Same with the Philadelphia variants, the 1988 – D pennies are worth 10 – 30 cents in uncirculated condition. The coins minted in Denver, have a “D” mint mark under the date, so that’s its identification mark.

In 2007, a 1988 – D penny graded MS68RD was sold for $1,495, which was the record price for 1988 – D pennies.

Exploring the History and Modern Evolution of US Coins
Appraisal Today

According to PCGS, a 1988 – D that was graded MS69RD was appraised and valued at $4,500, however, this sample was never sold. So, if you have a 1988 – D penny in your possession, you might want to get it looked at by a reputable coin dealer, you’ll never know what the value might be.

1988 – S Proof Penny Value

1988 – S Proof Penny Value

Every year, the U.S. mint produces a special set of coins for collectors, and these coins are called proof coins. unlike regular coins, they have a high-quality, reflective surface, and are minted using special dies.

The 1988 proof coins were the first to be minted after the re-opening of the San Francisco mint which was closed since 1955.

During production, the first set of proof coins has the best quality, as the dies are still fresh and the imprints are clearer. These first sets are designated as Cameo and Deep Cameo, and the value of proof coins is determined by their designation as well as their condition.

The San Francisco mint produced 3,262,948 pennies and they all had the “S” mint mark. In uncirculated condition, the 1988 – S penny is worth about $1 – $3, and you might sell it for more if it’s in premium grade.

In 2004, a 1988 – S penny graded PR70DCAM was sold for $1,438 – the most valuable sample ever sold.

History of the 1988 Lincoln Penny

The introduction of the Lincoln penny into America’s currency system was to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Abraham Lincoln – the 16th president of the United States. This was a symbolic move, as it was a way to honor him.

Prior to this, the U.S. penny featured a woman on the observe side of this coin, and it was later replaced by the image of a flying eagle, and this was still changed again to the popular Indian head design.

It wasn’t until 1909, that the observe side of the coin was designed with the portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and the reverse side featured an image of wheat branches.

The reverse side of the Lincoln penny has been changed a lot of times. In 2009, it was a drawing that depicted the milestones of Lincoln’s life. The 1988 penny features an image of the Washington D.C. monument, a design that was done by Frank Gasparro in 1959.

The portrait on the observe side has remained constant, and it was designed by Victor David Brenner.

Ideally, all 1988 Lincoln pennies should weigh 2.5 grams, and they are all made from a copper-zinc composition.

If the 1988 penny comes with a mint mark, you’ll find it inscribed under the year.

Sell Your Coins

1988 Lincoln Penny Grading

When grading your 1988 pennies, you need to understand that they are not equal. So many of them were made with errors, and you just need to figure out if yours is one of them.

In the 1988 mintage, a handful of error coins were produced – although not many. These coins have a different and higher value than regular coins, and that’s why you need to evaluate your pennies well before putting a price tag on them.

However, you need to know that not every penny with a default is an error coin, as some are just defaults from after-minting.

To grade your 1988 penny correctly, you need to look out for any form of discoloration and scratches. The highest grades of 1988 pennies still have their red color, which is an indication that they haven’t gone out into circulation. Coin dealers pay more to acquire coins of the best quality, so make sure you know the value of your coin and get your money’s worth if you decide to sell.

To learn more about grading your 1988 penny, watch this short video.

Rare 1988 Lincoln Penny Error Lists

It’s impossible to produce pennies in large numbers and not experience a series of mistakes. The people in charge of the U.S. mint facilities are humans and errors are bound to happen. The 1988 penny was minted in over 11 billion instances, and of course, there’s a significant number of error coins.

These error coins are obviously valuable, and even more, sought after if they have rare and unique errors.

Different errors occurred during the mintage of the 1988 penny, so here’s a rundown of these error coins and what they are worth.

1. 1988 Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Error

1988 Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Error
Image Credit: ebay

This error is quite common, and most coin dealers are already familiar with it, but that doesn’t make it less valuable. While it’s true that common errors don’t have much value, they’ll still fetch you more than your coin’s face value.

During minting, this error is created when the die strikes the coin twice at different positions causing it to have a double image effect. Coins with drastic doubled die error are very valuable, as the error is usually very visible to the naked eye. The majority of 1988 pennies with this error are not valuable, because you’ll need a magnifying glass to even notice the mistake. Error coins like this are worth about $20 to $50.

However, in 2021, a sample graded MS66RD had the doubled die error where you could clearly see the doubling effect on the earlobe of President Abraham. This error coin was sold for $3,120 at an auction.

2. 1988 Lincoln Penny Die Break Error

1988 Lincoln Penny Die Break Error
Image Credit: ebay

Dies are not always reliable, especially when they’ve been used for a long time. Imagine a die that has been used for the minting of over a billion pennies, it’s prone to crack at some point.

When these cracks happen, it causes anomalies on the penny, and unfortunately, these errors are not worth so much – $3 to $10.

However, there’s the “die cud” break, where the die crack causes a rounded mound to be attached to the rim of the coin. This is a more unique version of the die break error, and coin collectors can pay about $300, depending on the overall condition of the coin. If the coin is averagely circulated and with this error, it might sell for $100 or slightly more.

Exploring the History and Modern Evolution of US Coins
Appraisal Today

3. 1988 Lincoln Penny Off-Center Error

1988 Lincoln Penny Off-Center Error

This is another very popular error that’s peculiar to coins. If the planchet is not properly aligned with the dies, it can create an off-center error. Sometimes this error is not always noticeable, and if it’s not, you might not be able to sell it at a premium price.

The first thing to look out for in your 1988 penny is flat and blank spaces, if you find any space that’s not engraved, then you have an off-center error penny.

If your coin is missing up to 50% or more of its design, then you have a valuable error coin, however, the date and mint mark still have to be visible. A 1988 penny with this degree of error is worth $100 or more. One 1988 penny with 35% off center error graded MS64RD was bought for $24, at an auction.

4. 1988 Lincoln Penny Transitional Error

1988 Lincoln Penny Transitional Error

The transitional error only happens when a new design is introduced. Sometimes it could be a change in the composition, portrait design, or even thickness.

With the 1988 penny, the reverse design of the incoming coin – 1989 was slightly different, and hence it rubbed off on some 1988 pennies.

This error is very easy to spot, especially when it’s a drastic change. A 1988 penny with a 1989 reverse was graded MS64RD, and it was valued at $150.

Watch this video to see more about the different 1988 error pennies.

Sell Your Coins

1988 Lincoln Penny FAQs

1. How Can I Tell If My 1988 Penny Is A Proof Coin?

Proof coins have a mirror-like finish that’s totally different from a regular coin. Only San Francisco minted proof coins in 1989, so when you see the mint mark “S” below the date inscription, you’ll know it’s a proof coin.

2. Can I Sell My 1988 Penny Even If It Looks Old?

Yes, you can. However, there’s no guarantee that you’ll sell it for more than its face value.

3. How Do I Know The Exact Value Of My 1988 Penny?

Knowing the exact value of your 1988 penny can be tricky if you don’t know what to look out for. to be on the safe side, take it to a reputable coin dealer to have it graded.

4. What’s The Actual Composition Of A 1988 Lincoln Penny?

The 1988 Lincoln penny is made of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.


Finding a 1988 penny in a mint state can be hard because it has been in circulation for more than three decades. So, even if you eventually find one, it’ll be tagged a rare coin, and its worth will definitely be above face value.

Not all 1988 pennies are equal, and some are minted with expensive errors. If you as much as suspect that your 1988 penny is unique, have it evaluated by a trusted coin dealer ASAP!

Similar Posts