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Do you collect Lincoln cents? Or maybe you found a 1909 penny.
Wondering what the 1909 penny value is?
1909 pennies are highly sought after by coin collectors — because they’re the first Lincoln cents the United States Mint ever made.
So what are the most valuable 1909 pennies? How many were made? Which ones are rare?
If you think you might have some of the valuable, rare 1909 pennies and you’re eager to see what are 1909 wheat pennies worth, I’ve compiled the info you’re looking for below — along with some other fun facts about 1909 pennies.
1909 Penny Facts
The Lincoln cent was designed by Lithuanian immigrant sculptor Victor David Brenner, who had engraved an Abraham Lincoln plaque and in 1908 designed a Panama Canal commemorative medal at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Through this relationship, a discussion on redesigning the aging Indian Head penny came about.
Brenner soon provided designs for the Lincoln cent, which was first minted in mid 1909 and released to the public amid much fanfare on August 2, 1909.
The first 1909 Lincoln pennies included Brenner’s VDB initials on the bottom center of the reverse (tails) under the wheat stalks. Much of the public felt this was an overly prominent display of the designer’s initials and the U.S. Mint responded by removing the offending letters after only a few weeks.
This accounts for why the controversial 1909 VDB penny is relatively scarce.
The variations of the Lincoln penny, plus the 1909 Indian Head pennies (which were made in both Philadelphia and San Francisco), plus the proof examples of the Indian Head and Lincoln pennies created a situation where there were 8 different regular-issue 1909 pennies.
This doesn’t even count errors and error die varieties!
Below is a list of the different 1909 Lincoln pennies, their values, and mintage figures (how many were made).
What Are 1909 Pennies Worth?
1909 Lincoln pennies — the first of America’s longest-running coin series — are prized by coin collectors, and some 1909 pennies are rare.
Here’s a look at the various 1909 Lincoln penny values, how many were made, and other important notes about these valuable old pennies:
- 1909 VDB penny – 27,995,000 minted; $12 to $20+
- 1909-S VDB penny – 484,000 minted; $650 to $1,200+
- 1909 penny – 72,702,618 minted; $3 to $10+
- 1909-S (San Francisco) penny – 1,825,000 minted; $85 to $250+
- 1909-S S Over Horizontal S penny – mintage unknown; $100 to $250+
- 1909 VDB proof penny – 1,194 minted; $4,000+
- 1909 proof penny – 2,618 minted; $500+
*Values are for problem-free coins (no cleanings, holes, porosity, etc.) in circulated condition. Well-worn coins are worth closer to the lower values, and coins with less wear have a value closer to the higher end of the price range. Uncirculated coins are worth more than values listed here and should be inspected in-hand for a more accurate appraisal.
IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your Penny?
To determine the true value of your 1909 penny, you first need to know what condition (or grade) your coin is in.
Grab a coin magnifier and a copy of the U.S. Coin Grading Standards book. Then, watch this video to see how to grade coins yourself at home:
What Else Happened When Your 1909 Penny Was Made?
There were many interesting things happening when 1909 pennies were being made… and guess how much it cost for a new car!
Here are some fun tidbits about the year 1909:
- On March 4th, William H. Taft became the 27th United States president and served until 1913.
- The North Pole was reached by American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson.
- America’s population was 90,490,000 in 1909.
- A 4-cylinder Ford Model-T Touring car with 20 horsepower cost $850 — that’s a lot of money for 1909, when…
- …The average American wage was just 22 cents an hour.
- Sugar cost 4 cents per pound, eggs were 14 cents per dozen, and coffee was 15 cents per pound.
- Only 8% of homes had a telephone.
See why the penny was so important in 1909?
Pennies certainly had a lot more buying power back then than they do today!
1909 Fun Fact: There were only 8,000 cars on the road that year and just 144 miles of paved roads.
More Info About 1909 Pennies
- What’s The Value Of Wheat Pennies?
- A Brief History Of The Penny
- Which Old Pennies Are The Most Valuable?
- Old Copper Pennies: Which Ones To Save & What They’re Worth
- A List Of 43 U.S. Pennies Worth Holding On To
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!