Lincoln Wheat Cents: See The Values Of Wheat Penny Key Dates



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If there is one coin I have loved since I was kid, it is the Lincoln penny.

This versatile little coin has been struck by the United States Mint since 1909, and over the years has become one of the most popular coins in the whole world.

The values of many Lincoln cents far exceed their face value, making them highly demanded by both collectors and investors.

Like many coin collectors, I especially pursue Lincoln wheat cents, which have two stalks of wheat on the reverse side of the coin symbolizing national prosperity.

Lincoln wheat pennies were struck from 1909 to 1958 and are becoming highly scarce in circulation. When I was much younger and didn’t know the values of Lincoln wheat cents, I thought all old pennies were highly valuable. I have since learned that while all Lincoln wheat pennies carry a premium in value, only a few dozen dates are worth significantly more than a few cents in well-worn condition.

 

Which Lincoln Pennies Have The Highest Values?

1909 S VDB Lincoln Cent

You’ve probably heard about the 1909 penny made in San Francisco bearing the letters VDB, the initials of Lincoln cent designer Victor David Brenner.

The 1909 S VDB Lincoln cent is, in fact, one of the most well-known pennies — if not the most popular rare coin, period.

The 1909 S VDB penny has probably been on almost every coin collector’s wish list at some point in time, including my own.

And with a price tag of at least $900 to $1,000 even for a specimen in highly worn condition and a mintage of only 484,000, this key date Lincoln cent can seem out of reach for many of the millions of coin collectors who want one.

 

1922 Plain Lincoln Cent

Another Lincoln cent with a high value is the 1922 plain cent.

While no Lincoln pennies were made at the Philadelphia mint in 1922, many collectors had originally thought the case to be otherwise when people started finding 1922 pennies without an apparent mintmark back in the day.

As it turned out, repairs to a die at the Denver mint (the only location to strike Lincoln cents in 1922) caused the D mintmark to be virtually obliterated.

The 1922 no mintmark Lincoln cent variety remains a popular collectible today and has a value of around $650 and up.

 

1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent

Another highly valuable Lincoln cent variety is the 1955 doubled die.

This penny is sought after by many coin collectors and has a value of around $1,200 and up.

While most were scooped up from pocket change by coin collectors many years ago, a few may still exist in circulation channels. I’m still trying to find one of these elusive coins!

 

1943 Copper Lincoln Cent

The most valuable Lincoln cent, however, is an error coin that was minted in 1943 — the year the U.S. Mint struck over a billion steel pennies to save copper for ammunition efforts during World War II.

Around 30 copper penny planchets left over from 1942 penny production reserves were struck with a 1943-dated Lincoln cent die.

Today, the highly rare 1943 copper Lincoln cent commands an auction price of more than $100,000.

 

Values Of Other Key Date & Semi-Key Date Lincoln Cents

While the 1909 S VDB penny, 1922 plain cent, 1955 doubled die penny, and 1943 copper Lincoln all rank as among the most valuable old pennies, they are by no means the only ones worth holding on to!

In fact, there are many rare wheat pennies that are worth hundreds of times their face value, and a plethora of others that are worth $1 to $5 or more — even in well worn condition.

These key date and semi-key date Lincoln cents include the following:

  • 1909 VDB $10 and up
  • 1909 S $100
  • 1910 S $15
  • 1911 D $5
  • 1911 S $40
  • 1912 D $5
  • 1912 S $20
  • 1913 D $2
  • 1913 S $11
  • 1914 D $165
  • 1914 S $20
  • 1915 $1
  • 1915 D $2
  • 1915 S $17
  • 1924 D $35
  • 1931 D $3
  • 1931 S $100
  • 1932 $1
  • 1933 $1
  • 1933 S $2

The values listed above are for undamaged Lincoln cents in well worn condition. Examples in higher grades are worth considerably more.

Most other Lincoln wheat penny dates that are not listed above are worth less than a dollar in worn condition.

However, even if you have any of the more common Lincoln wheat pennies — such as those from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s — you will still want to hang onto them. These vintage Lincoln pennies are getting scarcer every day, and may eventually be worth more!

Joshua

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!

70 thoughts on “Lincoln Wheat Cents: See The Values Of Wheat Penny Key Dates

    1. Hi, Diane –

      Ooh, how do they look different? It might be a weak strike and therefore they look faded. But, can’t tell without seeing the coin exactly what is going on, so if you could post a photo of it here in the comments forum, that would be great. Thanks!

      1. I have a 1913 s semi key date penny with the 2nd t in trust missing anyone tell me the value its in x fine ++ cond. thanks

        1. Hello, Frank –

          It’s very possible that die weakness caused the “T” to appear missing; this is not that uncommon for early branch-mint Lincoln cents, which are notorious for being weakly struck. Without seeing your coin, I would say it is worth a typical value for a 1913-S, which is approximately $12 for a coin in Good-4.

  1. Remember people, wheat pennies are made from 100% copper and can be smelted down to make bullets!

    1. Actually, melting pennies is currently illegal. I advise anyone with wheat pennies to appreciate them for what they are, and to buy copper goods at retailers.

  2. I am not really a Collector…but I have saved cans of coins. I really dread dumping out those 3lb coffee cans. I do have one can about 1/2 full of just Wheat Pennies. Your site has been a FUN learning site for me…maybe I am inspired to dump out at least one of the cans and sort thru them. Thanks for an informative site…and fun clicking….

  3. Hi I’m Brent I got a 1953 s wheat penny the thing that got me confused is when I turn it over the back is up side down I would like to know if it is worth anything thanks

  4. This site dose nothing but tell u varry little I have been asking about coin now and have not got any reply back so this site no good

  5. I have a 1955 Wheatie that appear to be struck in brass. Can you tell what material it is, and the current value?

    1. Hello Parker,

      I see why your coin is so light-colored. It actually wasn’t struck in brass but, instead, has been cleaned. The cleaning stripped away the coin’s natural coloration.

      Cleaned 1955 pennies are worth about 3 cents.

      Thank you for your question and for sending that great pic!

      1. Had they NOT been cleaned and had their natural patina, what would they possibly be worth? Just curious.
        -Blessings!
        Tonya

        1. Hi, Tonya —

          The general answer in all cases is yes, coins are always worth more uncleaned and with natural patina than uncleaned. In the case of your pieces, the value difference would have been mere cents given their commonness.

          All the best,
          Josh

    1. Hello, Dawn —

      1952 and 1955 wheat pennies are worth 3 to 5 cents each, based on how much wear they have.

      Thanks for your question,
      Josh

    1. Hi, Jenn —

      A worn 1943 Philadelphia steel cent is worth 10 to 25 cents.

      Thanks for your question,
      Josh

  6. Hi my name Patrick i recently discovered i have a 1942 wheat penny can you tell me what is worth ?

    1. Hi, Patrick —

      Nice find! Well-worn 1942 Lincoln cents are worth 5 to 10 cents.

      Best,
      Josh

    1. Hi, Tonya —

      A light impression appears to be there of the “VDB”; while the VDB is usually stronger than that, I’ve seen several Lincoln cents of that era on which the designer initials are quite weak. As I understand from my research on this this is not uncommon. I would hang onto the piece anyway as a curiosity.

      Best,
      Josh

  7. I just recently started checking all of my pennies. I found the my grandfather had a growler full of mainly wheat pennies.
    Thank you for the information on them.
    I’ll share what I find.

    1. Good luck, Kyle! Hoping you find lots of scarcer pieces. I urge you to check out this post, which describes all regular-issue and some die varieties worth hanging onto: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/valuable-pennies/

  8. Hi I have a 1941-D wheat penny with the n missing in the name where it says UNUM well the N is missing what can this be worth? I checked it with a Jewelry magnifying glass it looks like it just fell off or wasn’t put there

    1. Hi, Linda —

      This definitely looks like a mint-made error — most likely a filled die issue. Such piece could be worth $5 to $10 or more for a collector looking for such an error.

      Nice find!
      Josh

  9. I have a 1990 no mint mark. I searched it already but just wanted another opinion. The color is much more bright, unlike the other 1990 pennies I have compared to. Ther she’s are very prominate and show very little signs of ware. What do you think? Unfortunately it is not letting me upload a picture

    1. Hi, Ryan –

      Unfortunately I won’t be able to say for certain without seeing a photo. However, if you found this coin in pocket change, it is most likely a 1990 Philadelphia (no mintmark) cent worth face value, not the collector’s edition proof cent from San Francisco without a mintmark. If you can upload the image though I will be glad to make sure!

      Best,
      Josh

          1. Hi, Ryan —

            Unfortunately this is the common Philadelphia (no mintmark) 1990 penny, not the San Francisco proof no-S penny. This piece is worth face value.

            Don’t worry, I assure you there are many, many valuable coins lurking in circulation that you’re sure to find!

            Here’s a list of some: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/old-coins/

            Good luck, sir!
            Josh

  10. I have a 1925 Lincoln penny which has no “1” in the date — just 925. No mint mark.

    1. Hi, Maxim —

      This may be a filled die error or post-mint damage, but I really can’t tell which without seeing a photo of the coin, please. Usually missing digits on coins don’t fetch a tremendous premium over regular numismatic values. Such pieces as yours, if the missing digit is due to a filled die, are worth $2 to $3 in heavily worn condition. Also, in this case, the lack of a mintmark indicates the coin was minted in Philadelphia.

      Best,
      Josh

        1. Hi, Maxim —

          There is a light indication of where the “1” should be in the date, but I don’t seem to see any signs of damage around the site, suggesting it may have been obliterated due to a die issue. The likely situation was that the “1” part of the die was filled with grease or other debris. For the most part, there usually isn’t a great premium in price for missing digits, but some error collectors will pay for such anomalies. You could perhaps earn $5 or more based on demand.

          Best,
          Josh

    1. Hi, Theresa!

      Talk about two classic United States coins… Your 1921 Morgan dollar is presently worth about $18 and the 1941 Mercury dime is valued at $2.50 to $3.

      Nice pieces!
      Josh

  11. I have several Mercury dimes and I was wondering the value of them. I have 5 of them dated 1945, 4 of them dated 1944, 1 dated 1938, 1 dated 1943 and 3 of them dated 1942.

  12. I have several Mercury dimes and I was wondering the value of them. I have 5 of them dated 1945, 4 of them dated 1944, 1 dated 1938, 1 dated 1943 and 3 of them dated 1942.
    Can you help?

    1. Hi, Angela —

      The values are pretty uniform across the circulated grades of the Mercury dimes you listed, and each of the pieces in the photo is presently worth about $2 to $2.25. So, in total, I would put the value of your Mercury dime collection around $28.

      Thank you of your question and photos!

  13. I have a 1953 penny no D or S. And it Has one cent printed on the back with United States of America on it. 2 feathers an nothing else. Does anyone know the value of it?

    1. Hello, Rose —

      It sounds like you’re describing a 1953 Philadelphia (no mintmark) Lincoln wheat cent. THey are worth about 5 to 10 cents if worn.

      Thank you for your question!
      Josh

  14. Hi I have some Wheat pennies dated 1944, 1946, 1948. And think one is 1911, hard to see the date. What are their value. Thanks

    1. Hello, Kim —

      Assuming all of the coins are in average circulated condition, these are the values for your Lincoln wheat cents:

      *1911 penny – 25 to 50 cents
      *1944 penny – 3 to 5 cents
      *1946 penny – 3 to 5 cents
      *1948 penny – 3 to 5 cents

      Here’s some more info on pennies worth more than face value: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/us-coins/

      Best,
      Josh

        1. Hi, Cynthia —

          A 1956-D Lincoln cent in circulated condition is worth 3 to 5 cents.

          Cool find!
          Josh

  15. First time to your site. Have a wheat collection my dad started when he was a kid (he’s 63 now). I was reading about the ’43 steel pennies and I’m quite astonished at your stated value. I’ve got maybe a dozen at least. Would it be worth trying to sell some?

    1. Hi, Sam —

      Below are approximate values for your coins, with prices based on the assumption they are undamaged and uncleaned and have a typical amount of wear for their age:

      -1942 Lincoln cent – 5 to 10 cents
      -1944 Lincoln cent – 3 to 5 cents
      -1944-D Lincoln cent – 5 to 10 cents
      -1943 Mercury dime – $2 to $3
      -1952 Roosevelt dime $1.75 to $2.25

      Here’s more info you might find helpful: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/us-coins/

      Good luck,
      -Josh

  16. my name is Tameka i have a 1940 no mint wheat penny undamaged i would like to know what is the value of it

    1. Hello, Tameka —

      A 1940 Lincoln cent with no damage but with a typical amount of wear for its age is worth about 5 to 10 cents.

      Thank you for checking in!
      Josh

  17. Good Morning,
    I found what i believe to be a 1905 micro “o”. I did have it graded at a local shop the coin got a AU55 rating. I see alot of different values on this coin but not sure of the true market value. what is your best guess?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0abedebffb97b521e07a25378c7a16b511ceb79f7906a6b544c45cd5813f9a90.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/004525db59ff914e3d3e68ffc10801d674e59ea0ef9be4376a9df756a115e0ac.jpg

    1. Hello, Danny!

      Based on what I can tell in the photo, this appears to be a Micro O variety. Presuming this to be the case, and calling this an AU-50 for conservative grading purposes (it looks like this coin may have original surfaces, too), this coin could easily be sold to a coin dealer for $700 to $800, maybe even more.

      Amazing find!
      Josh

      1. Thank you Josh, I found it metal detecting so it was a surprise on the shape. I appreciate your input.

    1. Hi, Holly —

      It sounds like your coin is altered but I’d be happy to take a look if you want to post photos of the coin.

      Thank you,
      Josh

  18. Hi Joshua,

    Have you ever seen a “Low D” 1960 penny? I have tried to find references for it but have had no luck.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbe77d0f8283955ba167a468ca48e2654c7a60aa1649c5effb3e5395e8f32c61.jpg

    1. Hey there,

      There are actually dozens of attributed varieties among the 1960 cents. You might enjoy this resource: https://www.lincolncentresource.com

      Cool find,
      Josh

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