Lincoln Wheat Pennies (1909-1958)

Lincoln Wheat Pennies (1909-1958)

The perennially popular Lincoln wheat penny, launched by the U.S. Mint in 1909, is beloved by casual collectors and serious numismatists alike. While some original edition pennies from 1909 boast significant collectible value, there are other editions of the Lincoln coveted by coin collectors as well. For instance, a 1933-D may have a value at or above $2.30. A 1931-S could command $40 or more in the collectibles market.

Of course, some mint years may be valued much higher than others, and other factors such as minting location, condition, and scarcity also play a role in the value of any given coin. Well-preserved coins are generally valued significantly higher than similar coins that been worn through circulation or poor preservation.

Wheat Penny Value – What Dealers Pay

Coin dealers and collectors are willing to pay a significant premium for the superior condition or highly graded Lincoln Pennies. The values of collectible wheat pennies in good condition range from a couple of dollars to over $1000. If you own a Lincoln Penny, in great condition, from a desirable year, you may benefit from having your penny graded by an NGC or PCGS grading service.

In having your wheat cent graded, you will gain a better idea as to the value of your penny. The grading process is exacting, and takes into account very subtle grading points as well as factoring in collector and dealer demand.

Lincoln Wheat Pennies (1909-1958) obverse

Lincoln Penny Value is Conditional

To gauge the approximate grade of your Lincoln Penny, you must minutely examine the coin. One simple detail to inspect is the wheat stalks on the coin’s reverse. If the lines at the tops of the wheat stalks remain crisp, clear and robust, the coin may be in extremely fine condition. If the parallel lines at the top of the wheat stalk are easily observable, the coin is likely in fine or perhaps an even better condition.

If the penny bears significant circulation wear, the lines at the tops of the stalks will be worn down or possibly even worn away. In this case, the coin might be in good or a lesser condition. Of course, the coin’s other details must also be in excellent condition to be assigned a grade of extremely fine, with little to no signs of wear or erosion. Simply put, the better the overall condition of your Lincoln Wheat Penny, the more desirable it may be to dealers and collectors, and therefore more valuable.


Coin Grading Can Provide Peace of Mind

If you have a Lincoln Wheat Penny that you believe to be in excellent condition, submitting your coin to NGC or PCGS for professional grading may be a good idea. Coin grading services are in tune with the market and will give you the best information as to how your Lincoln Wheat Penny may be valued. The small fee charged for having your penny graded can be a savvy investment if you wish to sell your coin to your advantage. Coins that have been graded typically sell for higher premiums than non-graded coins, so a grading fee may pay for itself.

Lincoln Wheat Penny Key Dates

The oldest key dates to look for in the Lincoln Wheat Cents series are the 1909-S and the 1909-S VDB. These two strikings represent the first year the coin was produced, with imagery created by Victor David Brenner. The 1914-D edition, made at the Denver location on the U.S. Mint, is also valuable to collectors. In 1922, some Lincoln Wheat Cents were created in Denver featured no “D” mint mark, with a strong reverse design. This variety is another key date for Wheat Pennies. Numismatic collectors also consider the 1931-S date to be of high importance. One of the most sought-after Lincoln Wheat Cents is the 1955 Double Die, which was struck with a minting error that gave some letters and numbers on the coin a doubled, almost shadow effect. This key date can be authenticated by looking for die polishing lines within the word “Cent” on the reverse. Other Wheat Penny key dates are: 

  • 1909-S Lincoln Pennies
  • 1909-S VDB Lincoln Pennies
  • 1914-D Lincoln Pennies
  • 1922 Plain (no D Strong Reverse) Lincoln Pennies
  • 1931-S Lincoln Pennies
  • 1936 Lincoln Pennies
  • 1955 Double Die Lincoln Pennies

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