1909 VDB Lincoln Cents

(Lincoln Cents Wheat Reverse from 1909 to 1958)

The 1909 VBD Lincoln Cent is the most controversial among the series of Lincoln cents ever produced. To better understand this beautiful US coin, one must learn how the Lincoln Cent came to be.

The History of the Lincoln Cent

1909 is indeed a momentous year full of many “firsts” – like when the first transcontinental auto race took place in Seattle and New York, or when the very first English Channel crossing was made possible using a heavier than air machinery. It was the same year when the US Mint decided that it’s time to create a special coin that will actually honor a real person – a move that defied a long time tradition of making someone who is not real as the model for the coins since George Washington’s time of presidency.

Lincoln Cent Breaking an American Coinage Taboo

The plan was to create a commemorative coin to celebrate 100 birth anniversary of the late President Abraham Lincoln. The coin would feature the profile bust of Lincoln and will have the denomination of a cent. However, it proved to be a task that was nowhere easy to have the Lincoln cent be approved as one of the nation’s legal tender.

Why? Because it has always been a tradition to not include or feature any past or present president, or any recognizable real-life individuals at that. This has been going on for more than a century – a practice lead by George Washington that federal officials have loyally followed through the years.

As a result, many traditional officials felt the need to greatly resist the approval of a coin that will commemorate the beloved President Lincoln. However, the federal officials are no match for the current President at that time – President Theodore Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt had always wanted to make a change when it comes to the coinage system. He already pushed designs for four gold denomination, so when the opportunity arose, he approved and commissioned the Lincoln Cent. Before the Lincoln Cent, the United States already has an existing 1 cent. It was characterized by a design with an Indian head and has been the 1 cent for the US since 1859.

The Birth of the Lincoln Cent

President Theodore Roosevelt called a sculptor named Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1904. Roosevelt wanted him to create models that will redesign the US coinage system. Many designs were passed by Saint-Gaudens, but only 2 were ever approved and produced – 1907 Indian $10 and the 1907 “Victory” $20 gold. Saint-Gaudens passed away in August of 1907, leaving the rest of his work unfulfilled.

President Roosevelt looked for another option and chose a student of the late Saint-Gaudens, Bela Lyon Pratt to redesign the $2.50 and $5 gold coin. The same year, 1908, Roosevelt wanted to consider Lincoln’s near birth centennial, use it on a coin and have it minted for public circulation.

One may call it fate when President Roosevelt met Victor David Brenner in 1908. Brenner was an émigré – he has a great admiration for the beloved President and just so happens to have great artistic talent who also happens to be a dedicated numismatist. They met after President Roosevelt posed for young Brenner during the making of a Panama Canal Service Medal.

Brenner suggested that he already created both a model and a plaque of Lincoln for the celebration of his 100th year of birth in 1097. Thrilled, the president agreed and asked Brenner to present his proposed designs in 1908. He claimed the 1 cent Indian head design was the perfect candidate that the Lincoln Coin will replace. The proposal was noted was never made known to the public, and other numismatists were unaware of the brewing plan.

Many may have opposed the idea of the Lincoln cent at first, but most Americans learned to love the design because of its appeal, melting the controversy.

The Frenzy Caused by the VDB Initials

However, the Lincoln Cent faced yet another backlash after the first examples of the coin appeared and were released in public by 1909 in the month of August. The reason for the dispute and outcry was because the initials of the coin’s designer, Victor David Brenner were found in large letters at the base of the reverse side of the coin.

Because of this dispute, the design was modified – the initials were quickly removed from the reverse. As a result, the series which is the very first 1909 Lincoln Cent issued became a rare variety. The 1909 Lincoln Cent that bears the initials V.D.B were called 1909 VDB Lincoln Cent. According to records, there were only a total of 484,000 coins minted in the US Mint located in San Francisco. The 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cents became the most coveted coin because of this.

The succeeding Lincoln Cents minted after the removal of the VDB initials totals to 1.8 million. The 1909-S Lincoln Cents are considered four times more common because of their high mintage rate. By the year 1918, Brenner’s initial made a big comeback after they were once again restored on President Lincoln’s shoulder. This time, however, the initials VDB are in a much smaller size.

A major breakthrough occurred in the year 1943 when the US Mint made zinc-coated steel Lincoln Cents. This is because the US needed to use copper for a combat-related purpose, leaving the mints no other choice than to use a substitute. The move, however, proved to be unsatisfactory. As a result, the Mint used another substitute to produce Lincoln Cents – a brass alloy that was first used in the year 1942.

From 1944 to 1946, the brass alloy was used in minting the coins wherein a small portion of brass were obtained from the recovered shell casing. The pennies or cents struck during this time were called post-war pennies. The armed forces of the United States made policies where tin and copper wastes are to be collected to conserve resources of scarce metal. These eventually made their way towards the Mint. The Mint also made an experiment where 1943 Lincoln Cents were struck in Bronze while 1944 Lincoln Cents were struck in Steel which lasted for one year. Both Bronze and Steel Lincoln cents are considered valuable and rare to this day.

After being issued for a far greater number than any coin in the whole world and the fact that this coin had an issue date longer than any other coin in the history of US Coinage, the Lincoln Cent proved to be a legendary coin.

The New Reverse of the Lincoln Cent

When the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln Cent came, the US mint finally gave in to the public’s pleas to create a new reverse design for the coin. Beginning in 1959, the Lincoln Memorial building dedicated in 1922 was featured as the new design for the reverse. The reason was that the public is starting to get bored with the reverse design. The new reverse for the Lincoln cent was introduced to the public during the 150th birthday anniversary of President Lincoln on February 12, 1959.

People started to collect such coin and preserved them in the mint state – the reason why we have lots of the 1959 Lincoln Memorial Cent in great condition.

The small changes made on the 1960 Lincoln Memorial Cent did not go unnoticed by the public. What used to be large dates were now struck in a smaller size as a new master die was used by the Mint to make it easier for them to strike the coins.

Up until 1982, the Lincoln Memorial Cents were struck in 95% copper.  However, when the price of copper rose to the point when the Mint can no longer afford it and was no longer making a profit, they changed the cent into 97.5 zinc and pure copper coating comprising of 2.5 total alloy. Some problems arose like fast corroding or bubbled plating, but still, the substitute was a success.

Lincoln Cents Mint Marks and Minting

The three US Mints that produced the Lincoln Cent were Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver. The largest producer of the Lincoln Cent was the Philadelphia Mint. Those coins minted in the Philadelphia Mint bears no mint mark. However, those minted in San Francisco bears the mint mark “S” while those coined in Denver bears the mint mark “D.”

The minting of Lincoln Cents is considered to be significant from the beginning. The Philadelphia Mint was able to coin more than 100 million in the year 1909 alone. By the year 1941, it reached a billion. Philadelphia also produced Lincoln Cents in Matte-proof from 1909-1916, in Brilliant-proof from 1936-1942 and 1950-1964. Since 1968, the San Francisco Mint was able to produce Brilliant-proof Lincoln Coins every year.

The Specification of the Lincoln Coin

The Obverse

Coin: Victor David Brenner, Image by Lost Dutchman Rare Coins, 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent obverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0 US

Brenner designed both the obverse and reverse side of the coin which has a plain edge. The obverse design featured a profile bust of the beloved President Lincoln and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST were included in the cent’s design for the very first time. The word LIBERTY can be seen on the left side of the coin while the date is on the right side.

The Reverse

Coin: Victor David Brenner, Image by Lost Dutchman Rare Coins, 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent reverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0 US

For the reverse, Brenner used two sheath weaves. One of the two wheat sheaves were placed on either side of the reverse framing the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and ONE CENT. President Lincoln’s jaw and cheekbone serve to have the highest points on the obverse while the tips of the wheat weave on the reverse side of the coin. Consequently, these are the places a coin collector should look for in cases of wear.

A List of the First Varieties of the Lincoln Cents (1909)

Lincoln Wheat Cent VDB (Philadelphia) – Mintage rate was 28 million

Lincoln Wheat Cent VDB (San Francisco) – Mintage rate was 484 thousand

Lincoln Wheat Cent (Philadelphia) – Mintage rate was 3 million

Lincoln Wheat Cent (San Francisco) – Mintage rate was 1.8 million

7 Major Varieties of the 1982 Lincoln Cents

1982 Lincoln Cent – Large Date

1982 Lincoln Cent – Copper Small Date

1982-D Lincoln Cent – Copper Large Date

1982 Lincoln Cent – Zinc Large Date

1982 Lincoln Cent – Zinc Small Date

1982-D Lincoln Cent – Zinc Large Date

1982-D Lincoln Cent – Zinc Small Date

1982-S Proof Lincoln Cent – Copper Cent was struck.

All Lincoln Cents Issued with Mint, Mintage rate, and Composition

1909 VDB 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 27,995,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1909 S VDB 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 484,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1909 LINCOLN 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 72,702,618 coins produced (Bronze)

1909 S LINCOLN 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 1,825,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1910 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 146,801,218 coins produced  (Bronze)

1910 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 6,045,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1911 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 101,177,787 coins produced (Bronze)

1911 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 12,672,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1911 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 4,026,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1912 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 68,153,060 coins produced (Bronze)

1912 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 10,411,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1912 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 4,431,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1913 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 76,532,352 coins produced (Bronze)

1913 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 15,804,000coins produced  (Bronze)

1913 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 6,101,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1914 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 75,238,432 coins produced (Bronze)

1914 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 1,193,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1914 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 4,137,000coins produced  (Bronze)

1915 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 29,092,120 coins produced (Bronze)

1915 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 22,050,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1915 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 4,833,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1916 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 131,833,677 coins produced (Bronze)

1916 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 35,956,000 coins produced  (Bronze)

1916 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 22,510,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1917 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 55,120,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1917 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 32,620,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1918 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 288,104,634 coins produced (Bronze)

1918 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 47,830,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1918 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 34,680,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1919 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 392,021,000coins produced  (Bronze)

1919 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 57,154,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1919 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 139,760,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1920 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 310,165,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1920 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 49,280,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1920 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 46,220,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1921 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 39,157,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1921 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 15,274,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1922 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 7,160,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1922 NO D STRONG REVERSE 1C MS– minted in Denver coins produced (Bronze)

1922 NO D WEAK REVERSE 1C MS– minted in Denver coins produced (Bronze)

1923 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 74,723,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1923 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 8,700,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1924 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 75,178,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1924 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 2,520,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1924 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 11,696,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1925 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 139,949,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1925 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 22,580,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1925 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 26,380,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1926 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 157,088,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1926 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 28,020,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1926 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 4,550,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1927 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 144,440,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1927 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 27,170,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1927 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 14,276,000coins produced  (Bronze)

1928 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 134,116,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1928 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 31,170,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1928 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 17,266,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1929 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 185,262,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1929 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 41,730,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1929 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 50,148,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1930 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 157,415,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1930 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 40,100,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1930 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 24,286,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1931 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 19,396,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1931 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 4,480,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1931 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 866,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1932 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 9,062,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1932 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 10,500,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1933 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 14,360,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1933 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 6,200,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1934 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 219,080,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1934 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 28,446,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1935 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 245,338,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1935 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 47,000,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1935 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 38,702,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1936 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 309,637,569 coins produced (Bronze)

1936 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 40,620,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1936 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 29,130,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1937 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 309,179,320 coins produced (Bronze)

1937 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 34,500,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1938 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 156,696,734 coins produced (Bronze)

1938 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 20,010,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1938 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 15,180,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1939 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 316,479,520 coins produced (Bronze)

1939 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 15,160,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1939 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 52,070,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1940 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 586,825,872 coins produced (Bronze)

1940 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 81,390,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1940 S 1C MS– minted in 112,940,000 with a total number of 112,940,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1941 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 887,039,100 coins produced (Bronze)

1941 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 128,700,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1941 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 92,360,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1942 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 657,828,600 coins produced (Bronze)

1942 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 206,698,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1942 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 85,590,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1943 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 684,628,670 coins produced (Zinc Coated Steel)

1943 BRONZE 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia coins produced (Bronze)

1943 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 217,660,000 coins produced (Zinc Coated Steel)

1943 D BRONZE 1C MS– minted in Denver coins produced (Bronze)

1943 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 191,550,000 coins produced (Zinc Coated Steel)

1943 S BRONZE 1C MS– minted in San Francisco coins produced (Bronze)

1944 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 1,435,400,000 coins produced (Brass)

1944 STEEL 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia coins produced (Zinc Coated Steel)

1944 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 430,578,000 coins produced (Brass)

1944 D/S 1C MS– minted in Denver coins produced (Brass)

1944 D STEEL 1C MS– minted in Denver coins produced (Zinc Coated Steel)

1944 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 282,760,000 coins produced (Brass)

1944 S STEEL 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 282,760,000 coins produced (Zinc Coated Steel)

1945 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 1,040,515,000 coins produced (Brass [w1])

1945 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 226,268,000 coins produced (Brass [w2])

1945 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 181,770,000 coins produced (Brass [w3])

1946 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 991,655,000 coins produced (Brass [w4])

1946 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 315,690,000 coins produced (Brass [w5])

1946 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 198,100,000 coins produced (Brass [w6])

1947 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 190,555,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1947 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 194,750,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1947 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 99,000,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1948 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 317,570,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1948 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 172,637,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1948 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 81,735,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1949 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 217,775,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1949 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 153,132,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1949 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 64,290,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1950 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 272,686,386 coins produced (Bronze)

1950 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 334,950,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1950 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 118,505,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1951 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 295,633,500 coins produced (Bronze)

1951 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 625,355,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1951 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 136,010,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1952 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 186,856,980coins produced  (Bronze)

1952 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 746,130,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1952 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 137,800,004 coins produced (Bronze)

1953 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 256,883,800 coins produced (Bronze)

1953 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 700,515,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1953 S 1C MS – minted in San Francisco with a total number of 181,835,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1954 1C MS – minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 71,873,350 coins produced (Bronze)

1954 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 251,552,500 coins produced (Bronze)

1954 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 96,190,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1955 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 330,958,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1955 D 1C MS – minted in Denver with a total number of 563,257,500 coins produced (Bronze)

1955 S 1C MS– minted in San Francisco with a total number of 44,610,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1956 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 421,414,384 coins produced (Bronze)

1956 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 1,098,201,100 coins produced (Bronze)

1957 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 283,787,952 coins produced (Bronze)

1957 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 1,051,342,000 coins produced (Bronze)

1958 1C MS– minted in Philadelphia with a total number of 253,400,652 coins produced (Bronze)

1958 D 1C MS– minted in Denver with a total number of 800,953,300 coins produced (Bronze)

Collecting Lincoln Cents

One may think that since there were so many Lincoln Cents struck, the face value of such coin is not great. However, the Lincoln Cent was one of the coins that were welcomed by the public and collectors with open arms. The supply may be lofty, but so was the demand, which makes many of the Lincoln Cent enjoy a notable premium value. The coin’s relative affordability, high visibility, and abundance make it a great deal for coin collectors.

1909 VDB Lincoln Cent

The total number of 1909 VDB Cent is 27,995,000 while the 1909-S VDB Cent has a total number of 484,000. Nowadays, there are many of this series found in all grades ranging from red mint grade seen with some spotting and thousands in the mint state thanks to coin hoarders.

1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent

The little copper 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent was quick to be recognized as scarce and rare. Nowadays, these are recognized to exist in tens of thousands – several thousand can be spotted in mint condition and some with areas of toning in MS60 to MS63.

The Lincoln Cent, also called the Lincoln Penny also has its own share of unusual varieties, errors, and low mintage rates. Among all of the series, there are only a total number of two Lincoln Cent that has a low mintage rate below a million. The two mentioned are the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent and the 1931-S Lincoln Cent.

1934-D Lincoln Cent

Generally, Lincoln Cents minted in the San Francisco Mint or any Lincoln Cent that bears the S mint mark has the lowest mintage rates. However, the most desired among the series of Lincoln Cent is the 1914-D, minted in the Denver Mint – the total mintage rate was 1,193,000, and only very few numbers were known to have a grade in mint condition. Some of the scarce Lincoln Cents includes the coins minted in the San Francisco Mint from 1910 to 1915, and one minted in the Denver Mint in 1924.

1922 Lincoln Cent

If you’re looking for the most valuable ones from the series of Lincoln Cents, one of the things you need to find is a 1922 Plain. The 1922 Plain was actually minted in the Denver Mint. However, the mint mark D that was supposed to appear below the date is gone. How can one be so sure it was struck in Denver, instead of Philadelphia? Coins struck in Philadelphia bears no mint mark, but since no Lincoln Cents were produced in the Philadelphia Mint, and only the Denver Mint struck coins during that time, it is safe to say that all Lincoln Cents struck and dated in 1922 are all coined in Denver.

1955 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent

Another sought after Lincoln Cent is those with double-die errors, which have doubling in either inscriptions or dates in the coin. The most sought-after and deemed most valuable was the 1955 Lincoln Cent struck in Philadelphia. There are also some coins with major doubling found on the obverse of 1936 Lincoln Cents.

 

Different Grades of Lincoln Cents

About Good-3 (AG3 / AG-3)

Obverse: The legends and date appear to be flat but are still readable. Lincoln’s portrait is flat and only the outline remains.

Reverse: The entire reverse design is flat, and the wreaths can still be recognized faintly

Summary: It is evident that the coin was heavily used – designs are flat, letterings and dates are worn but still readable and the rim seems to blend with the letters.

 

Good-4 (G4 / G-4)

Obverse: Lincoln is well worn and the upper part of his hair and the details on his coat are starting to show. The date and legends can be clearly seen and do not blend with the rim

Reverse: The grains found in the wreath are almost not visible and the overall appearance of the reverse’ design is flat.

Summary: The coin is heavily worn, the designs have some faint areas the rim have missing spots.

 

Very Good-8 (VG8 / VG-8)

Obverse: Lincoln’s hair outline is visible, his cheek and jaw are flat but still separated, some ear details can be seen and the coin still has a bold and clear date and legends.

Reverse: Distinct letter, wreath shows a few details and the top half lines are visible.

Summary: Coin is considered well-worn with clear designs, most major elements have missing details, are flat but still defined.

 

Fine-12 (F12 / F-12)

Obverse: Design is bold and clear, some of Lincoln’s hair details are starting to show, his cheek and jaw are smooth and the ear, as well as the bow tie, is noticeable.

Reverse: Wheat stalks have details in most areas and the top areas are clearly separated but are still worn.

Summary: Moderate even wear, and most details and designs are clear and legible.

 

Very Fine-20 (VF20 / VF-20)

Obverse: Almost all of the details in Lincoln’s portrait are present despite considerable wear.

Reverse: Flat but distinct wheat grains, worn but still clearly defined stalks.

Summary: Highest parts of the coin shows slight flatness with the only minor to moderate tear. The coin is attractive with an overall pleasing appearance.

 

Extra Fine-40 (EF40 / XF40 / EF-40 / XF-40)

Obverse: The hair above Lincoln’s ear has slight abrasion and cheeks and jaw are starting to show slight flatness. One can or cannot see some mint lusters left.

Reverse: Well-defined details on the reverse side of the coin, wheat grains only have slight wear.

Summary: The details of the coin are well-defined, sharp and the only part where the slightest tear can be seen in the son the highest point.

 

About Uncirculated-55 (AU55 / AU-55)

Obverse: Lincoln’s cheek and jaw have the slightest wear or abrasion.    

Reverse: The wreath stalks have full details, are not flat and a slight trace may be seen.

Summary: Only the highest point of the coin has a slight abrasion. The coin’s surface is well-preserved and it has an almost complete mint luster.

 

Mint State-63 (MS63 / MS-63)

Obverse: Lincoln’s face and the surface of the coin have distracting marks

Reverse: One Cent and the top of wheat stalks have distracting marks.

Summary: Complete mint luster but has slight impairments. Noticeable contact marks on the surface of the coin and design.

 

Mint State-65 (MS65 / MS-65)

Obverse: Some distracting marks or blemishes can be seen.

Reverse: Some distracting marks or blemishes can be seen.

Summary: Coin has undisturbed and high-quality mint luster. Few bad marks and contact marks that are relatively small in sizes. The coin has an above average eye appeal.

 

Lincoln Wheat Cent Grade: Mint State-67 (MS67 / MS-67)

Obverse: No distracting marks, virtually flawless.

Reverse: No distracting marks, virtually flawless.

Summary: The coin has a complete mint luster that is almost perfect, and has an extraordinary eye appeal.

Prices of the 1909 VDB Lincoln Cents

One can buy 1909 VDB Lincoln Cents starting at $15 for the lowest grade and as high as $225,000. As for the other Lincoln Cents, you can buy them starting $1 for the most common varieties up to $135,000 for the rarest one.

For a price guide of the Lincoln Cents, you may check the list on PCGS on this link.

Remember, it takes time, patience and a lot of learning to be successful in collecting any kind of coin. Sharpen your mind, skills, and eyes to make sure you get the best in the series, and always be patient in completing your collection.

References:

PCGS, NGCCoin, LincolnCents.net, United States Mint

Featured Image Source: Photo taken by user bobby131313 and may be used freely with following credit. Image courtesy of CCF Numismatics1909-s-vdb-wheat-cent, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0