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Lincoln Wheat Penny Values

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

By , About.com Guide

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

This guide is intended to give you an idea of how much your Lincoln penny is worth.  The table listed below provides average coin values 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.

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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 Cents, he cannot just call the mint and order more of them because the 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."

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Market Analysis

With the anticipation of the new series of reverses on the Lincoln cent in 2009, and the new Shield reverse starting in 2010, interest in Lincoln cents has increased.  Many collectors who have not looked at their collections in years have dusted off their coin albums and decided to complete their collections.  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 3 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 coins, you need to sort them and organize them so the 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
  • 1914-D
  • 1922 No "D" (there is no 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)
  • 1955/55 (doubled die variety)
Location of V.D.B. on 1909 Lincolon Cent
Location of V.D.B. on 1909 Cent
On some of the 1909 coins, Victor David Brenner's (V.D.B.) initials were included on the reverse of the coin located at the bottom between the stalks of the wheat ears as show in the picture above.
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com
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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
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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 chart lists the value (what you can expect a dealer to pay you) for your Lincoln Wheat penny. The first column lists the date and mint mark (small letter below the date, if there is one) followed by the value of an average circulated Lincoln cent and the average value for an uncirculated one. These are approximate values and the actual offer that you will receive from a particular dealer will vary depending on a number of factors.

Date Avg Circ Avg Unc Date Avg Circ Avg Unc
1909 $1.90 $15.00 1936 $0.06 $2.90
1909 VDB $6.20 $23.00 1936 D $0.06 $5.90
1909 S * $75.00 $300.00 1936 S $0.06 $6.80
1909 S VDB * $600.00 $1,400.00 1937 $0.06 $2.30
1910 $0.06 $22.00 1937 D $0.06 $3.00
1910 S $8.80 $100.00 1937 S $0.06 $3.90
1911 $0.70 $31.00 1938 $0.06 $2.90
1911 D $6.10 $120.00 1938 D $0.06 $4.70
1911 S $25.00 $190.00 1938 S $0.06 $4.70
1912 $2.00 $42.00 1939 $0.06 $2.10
1912 D $7.40 $170.00 1939 D $0.06 $3.60
1912 S $17.00 $200.00 1939 S $0.06 $2.90
1913 $1.30 $35.00 1940 $0.06 $1.60
1913 D $3.30 $130.00 1940 D $0.06 $2.20
1913 S $9.00 $200.00 1940 S $0.06 $3.00
1914 $1.40 $49.00 1941 $0.06 $2.20
1914 D * $160.00 $3,000.00 1941 D $0.06 $2.20
1914 S $14.00 $350.00 1941 S $0.06 $2.20
1915 $4.00 $80.00 1942 $0.06 $1.50
1915 D $2.50 $90.00 1942 D $0.06 $3.10
1915 S $13.00 $220.00 1942 S $0.06 $4.70
Date Avg Circ Avg Unc Date Avg Circ Avg Unc
1916 $0.60 $23.00 1943 Zinc $0.06 $5.50
1916 D $1.40 $80.00 1943 D Zinc $0.06 $5.50
1916 S $2.50 $130.00 1943 S Zinc $0.06 $7.70
1917 $0.60 $18.00 1943 Bronze* $23,000.00 $90,000.00
1917 D $1.20 $90.00 1943 D Bronze* -- $1,250,000.00
1917 S $0.70 $130.00 1943 S Bronze* $78,000.00 --
1918 $0.04 $27.00 1944 $0.06 $2.20
1918 D $1.30 $110.00 1944 D $0.06 $2.30
1918 S $0.60 $150.00 1944 D/S* $60.00 $280.00
1919 $0.70 $18.00 1944 S $0.06 $1.50
1919 D $0.70 $80.00 1944 Steel * $4,000.00 $100,000.00
1919 S $0.60 $120.00 1945 $0.06 $1.40
1920 $0.06 $17.00 1945 D $0.06 $0.70
1920 D $0.70 $90.00 1945 S $0.06 $1.50
1920 S $0.60 $150.00 1946 $0.06 $0.80
1921 $0.70 $51.00 1946 D $0.06 $0.70
1921 S $2.70 $160.00 1946 S $0.06 $0.80
1922 (no D) * $500.00 $20,000.00 1947 $0.06 $1.60
1922 D $9.20 $120.00 1947 D $0.06 $0.80
1923 $0.60 $25.00 1947 S $0.06 $0.80
1923 S $2.70 $270.00 1948 $0.06 $0.80
1924 $0.06 $31.00 1948 D $0.06 $0.80
1924 D $20.00 $270.00 1948 S $0.06 $1.60
1924 S $2.00 $200.00 1949 $0.06 $1.50
1925 $0.06 $16.00 1949 D $0.06 $1.60
1925 D $1.20 $90.00 1949 S $0.06 $2.20
1925 S $0.70 $190.00 1950 $0.06 $0.80
Date Avg Circ Avg Unc Date Avg Circ Avg Unc
1926 $0.06 $11.00 1950 D $0.06 $0.70
1926 D $0.70 $90.00 1950 S $0.06 $0.70
1926 S $2.50 $380.00 1951 $0.06 $0.80
1927 $0.06 $13.00 1951 D $0.06 $0.80
1927 D $0.70 $80.00 1951 S $0.06 $0.80
1927 S $0.60 $110.00 1952 $0.06 $0.70
1928 $0.06 $15.00 1952 D $0.06 $1.60
1928 D $0.70 $44.00 1952 S $0.06 $2.30
1928 S $0.60 $70.00 1953 $0.06 $0.80
1929 $0.06 $13.00 1953 D $0.06 $0.70
1929 D $0.06 $26.00 1953 S $0.06 $0.80
1929 S $0.06 $25.00 1954 $0.06 $0.70
1930 $0.06 $7.80 1954 D $0.06 $0.80
1930 D $0.06 $20.00 1954 S $0.06 $0.70
1930 S $0.06 $14.00 1955 $0.06 $0.80
1931 $0.70 $23.00 1955 Dbl Die* $950.00 $3,000.00
1931 D $1.90 $63.00 1955 D $0.06 $0.80
1931 S * $52.00 $130.00 1955 S $0.06 $0.70
1932 $1.30 $19.00 1956 $0.06 $0.80
1932 D $0.70 $20.00 1956 D $0.06 $0.80
1933 $1.30 $20.00 1957 $0.06 $0.70
1933 D $1.90 $20.00 1957 D $0.06 $0.80
1934 $0.06 $6.20 1958 $0.06 $0.80
1934 D $0.06 $11.00 1958 D $0.06 $0.70
1935 $0.06 $4.60
1935 D $0.06 $5.80
1935 S $0.60 $14.00

*= See the section above "Key Dates and Rarities" for more information on these coins.

These 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 Coin Dealer Newsletter and consulting with various coin dealers.

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