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Lincoln Wheat Penny Values

How Much Is My Lincoln Wheat Penny (1909-1958) Worth?

By , About.com Expert

Lincoln Wheat Cent Example
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

 

This price guide will give you an approximate value and price for your Lincoln Wheat penny.  The table listed below provides average coin values and prices for Lincoln wheat cents based upon the condition of the coin.  If the coin shows evidence of wear on it due to being used in commerce, it considered "circulated." If it was never used, then it is classified as "uncirculated." The pictures below illustrate examples of each condition. Some coins are very valuable even in well worn condition. You cannot increase a coin's value by cleaning it. In fact, cleaned coins are worth considerable less and coin dealers can spot a cleaned coin immediately. Therefore, do not clean your coins.

Introduction to Coin Values

There are many factors that go into determining the value of your coins. First of all you must understand how the coin market works. If the coin dealer runs out of 1909-S VDB Lincoln pennies, he cannot just call the U.S. Mint and order more of them. This is because the U.S. Mint does not make coins dated 1909 anymore. The coin dealer must replenish his supply by buying coins from other dealers or people off the street. What he pays you for that coin is known as the "wholesale price" or "value." If you want to buy that 1909-S VDB from the coin dealer, that is known as the "retail price" or "price."

Market Analysis

With the four different reverses on the Lincoln cent in 2009, and the new Shield reverse starting in 2010, interest in Lincoln cents peaked for a few years. Although market prices have eased over the last few years, this renewed interested has kept values and prices up.  Any wheat penny is worth at least 5 cents to any dealer. But don't expect to walk in to a coin shop with a big jar of them and have the coin dealer dig through them to pull out the nice ones.  If you want top dollar for your old coins, you need to sort them and organize them so the coin dealer can quickly see what you have.

Key Dates and Rarities

The following Lincoln wheat cents in any condition, are worth considerable more than common wheat pennies.  As such, these coins are frequently counterfeit or altered from common wheat pennies.  Therefore, before you start celebrating your early retirement with your new found fortune, have the coin authenticated by a reputable coin dealer or third party grading service.

  • 1909-S VDB (small "S" below the date and "V.D.B." on the back at the bottom between the stems of the wheat ears)
  • 1909-S
  • 1909-S Over Horizontal S (RPM)
  • 1914-D
  • 1917 Doubled Die Obverse
  • 1922 No "D" (missing mint mark below the date)
  • 1931-S
  • 1943 Bronze/copper (cents in 1943 were made out of zinc plated steel, not copper)
  • 1943-D Bronze/copper (cents in 1943 were made out of zinc plated steel, not copper)
  • 1943-S Bronze/copper (cents in 1943 were made out of zinc plated steel, not copper)
  • 1944 Steel (cents in 1944 were again made out of copper/bronze, some old steel blanks got minted in 1944 by mistake)
  • 1944-D D Over S  (RPM)
  • 1955/55 (doubled die variety)

For more information and high quality photos: Lincoln Wheat Penny Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties

Location of V.D.B. on 1909 Lincolon Cent
Location of V.D.B. on 1909 Cent
On some 1909 pennies, Victor David Brenner's (V.D.B.) initials were included on the reverse.
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

Condition or Grade Examples

Lincoln Cent Average Circulated Condition Circulated Lincoln Cent Average Uncirculated Condition Uncirculated
Click on the photos above for a larger image.
Photos courtesy of Teletrade Coin Auctions, www.teletrade.com
Quick Links:

Lincoln Cent Mint Marks

Lincoln wheat pennies were produced at three different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark), Denver (D) and San Francisco (S).  As illustrated in the picture below, the mint mark is located on the obverse of the coin, just below the date.

lincoln cent mint mark location
Mint Mark Location
Images Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

Lincoln Wheat Penny Value Chart

The following table lists the buy price (what you can expect to pay to a dealer to purchase the coin) and sell value (what you can expect a dealer to pay you if you sell the coin). The first column lists the date and mint mark (see the photo above) followed by the buy price and the sell value for an average circulated Lincoln Wheat penny.  The next two columns list the buy price and the sell value for an average uncirculated. These are approximate retail prices and wholesale values. The actual offer you receive from a particular coin dealer will vary depending on the actual grade of the coin and a number of other factors that determine its worth.

1909 - 1929

Date & Mint Circulated   Uncirculated
Buy Sell Buy Sell
1909 $2.40 $1.60 $14.80 $10.70
1909 VDB $8.50 $5.50 $22.00 $15.00
1909-S * $80.00 $60.00 $330.00 $230.00
1909-S Over Horiz. S * $140.00 $90.00 $390.00 $260.00
1909-S VDB * $680.00 $550.00 $1,700.00 $1,200.00
1910 $0.25 $0.17 $23.00 $15.00
1910-S $10.80 $7.10 $110.00 $70.00
1911 $0.60 $0.40 $29.00 $20.00
1911-D $5.80 $3.70 $130.00 $90.00
1911-S $30.00 $20.00 $230.00 $160.00
1912 $1.40 $0.90 $40.00 $27.00
1912-D $7.40 $4.70 $180.00 $120.00
1912-S $21.00 $14.00 $210.00 $150.00
1913 $0.90 $0.60 $41.00 $30.00
1913-D $3.40 $2.20 $130.00 $90.00
1913-S $11.50 $7.70 $200.00 $140.00
1914 $0.90 $0.60 $51.00 $35.00
1914-D * $170.00 $110.00 $2,700.00 $1,800.00
1914-S $18.00 $12.00 $390.00 $260.00
1915 $2.70 $1.80 $90.00 $60.00
1915-D $2.10 $1.40 $90.00 $60.00
1915-S $13.90 $8.70 $250.00 $170.00
1916 $0.30 $0.19 $26.00 $17.00
1916-D $1.30 $0.80 $80.00 $50.00
1916-S $2.50 $1.60 $110.00 $80.00
1917 $0.20 $0.13 $21.00 $14.00
1917 Dbl Die Obv * $225.00 $150.00 $3,900.00 $2,750.00
1917-D $0.80 $0.50 $100.00 $70.00
1917-S $0.70 $0.40 $120.00 $80.00
1918 $0.24 $0.15 $27.00 $19.00
1918-D $1.00 $0.60 $110.00 $80.00
1918-S $0.60 $0.40 $120.00 $80.00
1919 $0.22 $0.15 $17.00 $12.00
1919-D $0.80 $0.50 $80.00 $60.00
1919-S $0.60 $0.40 $80.00 $60.00
1920 $0.23 $0.15 $17.00 $12.00
1920-D $0.90 $0.60 $90.00 $60.00
1920-S $0.60 $0.40 $130.00 $90.00
1921 $0.41 $0.28 $49.00 $34.00
1921-S $2.60 $1.70 $160.00 $110.00
1922 No "D" * $640.00 $410.00 $4,800.00 $3,300.00
1922-D $13.40 $8.40 $120.00 $80.00
1923 $0.34 $0.23 $21.00 $15.00
1923-S $2.30 $1.50 $250.00 $170.00
1924 $0.21 $0.14 $31.00 $23.00
1924-D $23.00 $16.00 $330.00 $230.00
1924-S $1.40 $0.90 $160.00 $120.00
1925 $0.15 $0.09 $16.00 $11.00
1925-D $0.90 $0.50 $80.00 $60.00
1925-S $0.80 $0.50 $160.00 $110.00
1926 $0.17 $0.10 $12.50 $8.30
1926-D $0.40 $0.27 $90.00 $60.00
1926-S $2.40 $1.70 $270.00 $180.00
1927 $0.16 $0.11 $12.10 $8.80
1927-D $0.37 $0.24 $69.00 $48.00
1927-S $0.80 $0.50 $100.00 $70.00
1928 $0.15 $0.10 $12.50 $9.20
1928-D $0.30 $0.19 $39.00 $27.00
1928-S $0.50 $0.40 $80.00 $50.00
1929 $0.16 $0.10 $12.00 $8.10
1929-D $0.27 $0.18 $30.00 $20.00
1929-S $0.26 $0.18 $26.00 $19.00

1930 - 1958 and Complete Sets

Date & Mint Circulated   Uncirculated
Buy Sell Buy Sell
1930 $0.14 $0.09 $6.80 $4.70
1930-D $0.24 $0.15 $19.00 $14.00
1930-S $0.27 $0.18 $14.00 $9.90
1931 $0.50 $0.30 $24.00 $18.00
1931-D $2.80 $1.90 $67.00 $46.00
1931-S * $80.00 $50.00 $170.00 $110.00
1932 $1.40 $0.90 $22.00 $16.00
1932-D $1.10 $0.70 $27.00 $19.00
1933 $1.20 $0.80 $24.00 $17.00
1933-D $2.20 $1.40 $24.00 $17.00
1934 $0.18 $0.11 $5.10 $3.50
1934-D $0.23 $0.15 $12.90 $9.10
1935 $0.13 $0.08 $3.70 $2.50
1935-D $0.19 $0.12 $5.40 $3.70
1935-S $0.24 $0.15 $13.80 $9.70
1936 $0.13 $0.08 $2.70 $1.80
1936-D $0.18 $0.11 $6.20 $4.20
1936-S $0.20 $0.12 $6.30 $4.40
1937 $0.13 $0.09 $2.40 $1.60
1937-D $0.15 $0.10 $3.60 $2.40
1937-S $0.16 $0.11 $3.30 $2.30
1938 $0.12 $0.08 $3.70 $2.50
1938-D $0.26 $0.18 $5.60 $4.10
1938-S $0.29 $0.18 $4.30 $3.00
1939 $0.09 $0.06 $2.30 $1.70
1939-D $0.34 $0.22 $2.90 $2.10
1939-S $0.17 $0.11 $2.80 $1.90
1940 $0.09 $0.06 $1.80 $1.30
1940-D $0.13 $0.08 $2.10 $1.50
1940-S $0.13 $0.09 $2.60 $1.90
1941 $0.09 $0.06 $1.60 $1.10
1941-D $0.15 $0.09 $2.60 $1.90
1941-S $0.19 $0.12 $2.90 $2.00
1942 $0.09 $0.06 $1.50 $1.10
1942-D $0.10 $0.06 $1.80 $1.30
1942-S $0.17 $0.11 $5.00 $3.50
1943 Zinc $0.10 $0.06 $2.60 $1.90
1943-D Zinc $0.13 $0.09 $3.50 $2.40
1943-S Zinc $0.18 $0.12 $6.10 $4.50
1943 Bronze * $29,000.00 $18,000.00 $190,000.00 $140,000.00
1943-D Bronze * $57,000.00 $38,000.00 $360,000.00 $260,000.00
1943-S Bronze * $92,000.00 $62,000.00 $590,000.00 $400,000.00
1944 $0.09 $0.06 $1.60 $1.10
1944 Steel * $2,700.00 $1,700.00 $96,000.00 $70,000.00
1944-D $0.10 $0.07 $1.00 $0.70
1944 D/S * $54.00 $35.00 $360.00 $240.00
1944-S $0.09 $0.05 $1.40 $0.90
1945 $0.09 $0.05 $1.10 $0.80
1945-D $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1945-S $0.09 $0.05 $1.20 $0.80
1946 $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.60
1946-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.60
1946-S $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1947 $0.09 $0.05 $1.50 $1.00
1947-D $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1947-S $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.60
1948 $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.80
1948-D $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1948-S $0.09 $0.05 $1.10 $0.80
1949 $0.09 $0.05 $1.10 $0.80
1949-D $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1949-S $0.09 $0.05 $2.00 $1.40
1950 $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1950-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.60
1950-S $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.60
1951 $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1951-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.60
1951-S $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1952 $0.09 $0.05 $1.20 $0.90
1952-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.70
1952-S $0.09 $0.05 $2.20 $1.50
1953 $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.70
1953-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.60
1953-S $0.09 $0.05 $1.00 $0.70
1954 $0.09 $0.05 $0.90 $0.70
1954-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.60 $0.40
1954-S $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
1955 $0.09 $0.05 $0.60 $0.40
1955 Dbl Die Obv * $1,000.00 $700.00 $2,600.00 $1,800.00
1955-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
1955-S $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
1956 $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
1956-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.60 $0.40
1957 $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
1957-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
1958 $0.09 $0.05 $0.60 $0.40
1958-D $0.09 $0.05 $0.50 $0.40
Complete
Date-Mint Set
$1,300.00 $950.00 $10,000.00 $7,500.00
Complete
Date Set
$35.00 $20.00   $800.00 $550.00

* = See the article "Lincoln Wheat Penny Key Dates, Rarities and Varieties" for more information on these coins.

These prices and values have been compiled through my personal analysis of the coin market, referencing publications such as Numismatic News, Coin World, "The Official Blue Book; Handbook of U.S. Coins," "The Official Red Book; A Guide Book of United States Coins", The Coin Dealer Newsletter, published auction results and consulting with various coin dealers.

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