Prodigy Coins's Blog

14 Jun 2019

The history of Lincoln cents

Coins-United States | Prodigy Coins

Lincoln cents have been made since 1909. 1909 would have been Lincoln's one-hundredth birthday.

So called "Pennies" have a face value of one cent, or one hundredth of a dollar. They do not have reeded edges. The current design features Abraham Lincoln on the obverse and a shield on the reverse.

Wheat cents were the first circulating coin to feature Lincoln. They were made from 1909 until 1958. In 1909, some cents had the letters VDB on the reverse. VDB was the designer's (Victor David Brenner's) initials. The 1909-S VDB penny is very rare, as only 484 thousand were made, and usually sells for $600 to $1,300 depending on grade. The 1909-S (no VDB) is also scarce. With a mintage of just under 2 million, it can fetch a price around $100. Five years later, The 1914-D penny was made. In low grade, it usually costs $200. Now jump ahead seventeen years. That takes you to the 1931-S wheat cent. The San Francisco mint struck only 866 thousand cents that year, creating a key date that now sells for $100 to $200. In 1943, one cent pieces were struck in steel to aid war efforts, however a few 1943 dies were struck on leftover bronze blanks. These pennies sell for $100,000 to well over $1,000,000 at auction. However, they are not required for a full collection because they were deemed errors. As 1942 blanks were struck in 1943, 1943 blanks were struck in 1944. These steel 1944 pennies sell for $75,000 to over $100,000.


Memorial cents were made from 1959 to 2008. The 1969-S Double die cent is worth on the upside of $50,000 in uncirculated or better grade. The next penny to look for is the 1970-S small date cent. Graded at MS-63, it is worth $50. 14 years younger is the 1984 doubled die cent, which can fetch you over $75. Finally, a 1990 proof cent with no S will get you over $3,000, and the U.S. Mint has confirmed the destruction of 145 these rare coins.

Lincoln Bicentennial
Lincoln bicentennial cents were made in 2009 to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. There was four reverse designs, one for each of the four stages of his life. The "childhood" design features a log cabin, and the "formative years" design depicts Lincoln sitting on a log reading during a break at work. The "professional life" coin shows him standing near the old Illinois state capitol. The "presidency" design has a image of a half-completed capitol dome.
Shield cents started being made in 2010 and are still being used made today and will be for at least the next few years. They feature Lincoln on the obverse and a United States of Americashield on the reverse.



Level 5

Most of you know that this is my favorite series.... I love the blog! Thanks for the info! I hope to read more from you! Cheers, NM

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