Historical Values of Lincoln Cents: See How The Lincoln Penny Value Has Changed Over The Years

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Lincoln cents, which have been in minted since 1909, are not only the United States’ longest-running coin series, but they are also one of the world’s most popular coins to collect.

Millions of coin collectors clamor to assemble complete date-and-mintmark sets of Lincoln cents, and many will pay thousands of dollars just to own an entire run of this beloved one cent series.

Lincoln pennies have been popular as collector coins since the 1930s, when the first coin boards, coin albums, and coin folders were published to display Lincoln cent collectors.

Because this coin is so widely collected, it goes without saying that demand for the scarcer dates is extremely high. This also translates to high values for many of the rare and semi-key Lincoln cents.

Today, many Lincoln cents are worth more than $25 each, and some are even worth hundreds of dollars!

That hasn’t always been the case, though.

Following are the values of rare pennies and scarce pennies (otherwise known as semi-key Lincoln cents) over the course of the last 50 years.

As you will see, many Lincoln cents have dramatically increased in value of the last several decades. Many values have outpaced inflation! However, some have actually decreased in value.

These values are from the 1965, 1985, and 2005 editions of A Guide Book of United States Coins, by R.S. Yeoman. Unless otherwise posted, all coin prices below are for coins grading “Good.”

1909 VDB $.75 (1965) $2.25 (1985) $4 (2005)

1909 S VDB $125 (1965) $250 (1985) $460 (2005)

1909 S $27.50 (1965) $45 (1985) $60 (2005)

1910 S $3.50 (1965) $8 (1985) $7.50 (2005)

1911 D $1.35 (1965) $3.50 (1985) $5 (2005)

1911 S $9.50 (1965) $11 (1985) $17 (2005)

1912 D $1.50 (1965) $4 (1985) $6 (2005)

1912 S $5.50 (1965) $10 (1985) $12 (2005)

1913 D $1.10 (1965) $2 (1985) $2 (2005)

1913 S $3.50 (1965) $8 (1985) $7 (2005)

1914 D $42.50 (1965) $80 (1985) $120 (2005)

1914 S $5 (1965) $9 (1985) $10 (2005)

1915 S $4.50 (1965) $9 (1985) $10 (2005)

1916 S $.60 (1965) $.75 (1985) $1 (2005)

1922 D $3.40 (1965) $4.75 (1985) $8 (2005)

1922 Plain $25 (1965) $200 (1985) $400 (2005)

1924 D $15 (1965) $10 (1985) $12 (2005)

1926 S $3 (1965) $3 (1985) $2.25 (2005)

1931 D $3.50 (1965) $2.25 (1985) $2.75 (2005)

1931 S $27.50 (1965) $31 (1985) $50 (2005)

1955 Doubled Die Obv (uncirculated) $250 (1965) $1,250 (1985) $2,400 (2005)

This guide is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered professional advice on what coins to invest in. The coin market is highly volatile, and gains or losses can come quickly and without warning.

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10 thoughts on “Historical Values of Lincoln Cents: See How The Lincoln Penny Value Has Changed Over The Years”

  1. I have a Lincoln Head Wheat penny with a 1918 stamped on it as the date. Why do you not show any 1918 date values in your chart above? Is it worth anything? It must be all copper, it has the greenish tarnish type stains normally seen on copper items. It has been in circulation for sure because it isn’t in the best condition.

    Reply
    • Kent,

      We don’t list the 1918 value because it is a relatively common date, though at around 10 to 20 cents, still worth more than face value.

      Reply
  2. I have a 1909 VDB wheat penny in wonderful condition. I do not collect coins and I am trying to find someone to buy it.

    Reply
    • Hi, Catherine –

      While there weren’t any 1889 Lincoln cents, there were Indian Head cents. 1889 Indian Head pennies are worth around $3 in typical, worn condition.

      Reply
    • Guntry,

      Only if the 1990 penny is a proof strike (has no wear, very well struck details, frosty image and perfectly mirror-like surfaces) AND has no mintmark (should be an “S” for San Francisco) would it be worth the approximately $3,000 price you’re referring to.

      Reply
    • Hi, Daniel –

      A gold-plated penny is usually worth around $1; there is really very little gold on such coins, which is why the value is so low.

      Reply
  3. Hi there. I have thousands of pennies collected back in the eighties and very early nineties, but mostly eighties. Still very bright. Does sitting in a jar for 30+ years make each penny worth more than face value?

    Reply

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