Written by Rafa Sánchez
In 1909, the Lincoln “Wheat” Penny or “Wheaties”, named after the two ears of wheat that appeared on the back, were first minted. The wheat ears symbolized national prosperity.
Its design remained intact until 1959 when its reverse was changed to the Lincoln Memorial.
The 1910 Lincoln or Wheat Penny was minted in Philadelphia (no mint mark) and in San Francisco (mint mark “S”). Below are the quantities of the 1910 Lincoln Penny produced at each mint:
- Philadelphia: 146,801,218 units
- San Francisco: 6,045,000 units
Also, 2,405 units were manufactured in Proof quality at the Philadelphia Mint.
- 1 Are you in a hurry? Some tips for Pennies from 1910
- 2 How to identify 1910 Pennies
- 3 How much can a 1910 Wheat Penny be worth?
- 4 List of the Most Valuable 1910 Lincoln Wheat Penny Pieces
- 5 Other Valuable Errors or Variants You Should Look For
Are you in a hurry? Some tips for Pennies from 1910
The 1910 Lincoln cent is not a scarce coin or one in high demand (for example the 1909 Lincoln cent DVB is a very valuable coin and sought after by collectors and investors), but it is a coin that cannot be missing in a collection that seeks to complete all the years of the Lincoln Wheat coins, or at least its first period.
Always look for high qualities free of signs of circulation such as bumps, scratches, lack of original shine and pronounced wear (for example, the detail of President Lincoln’s goatee is a very good indicator of the coin’s wear).
If, in addition to high qualities, you focus on RED type specimens (see below), you have more chance of making good investments.
Remember also that the 1910 San Francisco Wheat Penny is much more scarce than the Philadelphia one and therefore more valuable.
We think it is a good idea, since you are going to look for San Francisco pieces, to pay a lot of attention to the type of minting that each specimen of this mint has, in case any of them belongs to the RPM variant – double minting of the “S” mint brand – since you can get more money.
Finally, be sure to note any minting variants or errors that the Wheat Penny 1910 may present, such as: double minting in legends or bust of President Lincoln, off-center, crack or materials that have interfered with the minting process and have left their mark on the coin (struck through), because they are obviously valuable and scarce.
How to identify 1910 Pennies
Its composition was 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin. Its diameter was 19 mm and its weight 3.11 grams. On its obverse appears the bust of President Lincoln under the legend “In Good We Trust”. On the left appears the word “Liberty” and on the right, the date and the mint mark – only if it had been minted in San Francisco since the Philadelphia mint did not have any mark.
President Lincoln’s image was chosen for the 100th anniversary of his birth and remains unchanged to this day.
On the back we see the phrase “E-Pluribus-Unum“, the value in big letters “One Cent” and underneath, “United States of America“. On both sides in crown or ornament style are two ears of wheat, the famous symbols that gave the coin its nickname since 1909.
The design of these coins, one of the most minted in the history of the United States of America, belongs to Victor David Brenner (from 1909 to 1958) whose initials V.D.B. were mostly famous in the Lincoln Penny of 1909, and to Frank Gasparro (in the design from 1959 to 2008).
How much can a 1910 Wheat Penny be worth?
- For low grades and highly circulated specimens, where you will have fewer returns for your investments, the Philadelphia Lincoln Wheat Penny is valued between $3 and $4. In the case of the San Francisco specimen, you could sell it between $17 and $31.
- In average grades, the Philadelphia Wheat Penny can be found between $4 and $32 and the San Francisco one between $33 and $110.
- In high grades, from MS61, the 1910 Lincoln cent from the Philadelphia Mint has a price between $34 and $5,000 in MS67 or $10,869 in MS67+ from the RED copy (see below #1).
- The high-grade San Francisco mint is priced between $115 and $15,500. The copy in item #2 was valued at $43,125.
List of the Most Valuable 1910 Lincoln Wheat Penny Pieces
#1 – Wheat Penny 1910 – $10,869 MS67+ RED
In order to properly value the prices of the 1910 Philadelphia Mint Wheat Penny, it is important to pay attention to three types of conservation or presentation: Brown, Red and Brown and Red.
It is in this same order that we can rank them by their valuation.
The Wheat Penny 1910 Philadelphia Brown (BN) is the lowest priced of the three in recent years. More specifically, in 2017 it reached a value of $1,234 in MS66 graduation.
A higher price was attained in 2010 for a Wheat Penny 1910 Red and Brown (RB) MS65 CAC, finishing at $2,530.
The highest value of the three types is $10,869 for a Wheat Penny 1910 RED (RD) in MS67+ quality that was auctioned in 2018, fairly recently.
About the RED pieces, which are more valuable and in demand, we can review some prices reached in auctions in recent times so that you can get an idea of the evolution of prices.
|2020 Price||2019 Price|
From the table above, we can conclude that the 2020 prices of the Wheat Penny 1910 RED, which as we mentioned is the most highly valued of the three types (Brown, Red and Brown & Red), have appreciated since 2019.
This is confirmed by the fact that the number of copies auctioned in MS64 quality or higher during 2019 was 15 copies in total and 14 in 2020. In other words, the number of times a RED copy of the 2010 Wheat Penny was auctioned was similar in 2019 and 2020.
In Proof quality, the Wheat Penny 1910 RED (RD) in MS67 graduation, had only 5 copies registered by PCGS, reaching a price of $11,400 in 2020.
#2 – Wheat Penny 1910-S – $43,125 MS67 RED
The maximum price reached by a 1910 San Francisco Wheat Penny is $43,125 in 2005. It was an MS67 RED type.
|2020 Prices||2019 Prices|
However, the current prices are far from the preceding year. The price evolution of the year 2020 vs. 2019 is not positive at all.
In 2020, the highest conservation graduations of this date and mint have not evolved well. For example, pieces in MS65 to MS67 have been sold at below 2019 prices in those same qualities (see table above).
PCGS registered only 1,200 specimens in the higher qualities listed in the table above.
#3 – Wheat Penny 1910-S/S RPM – $19,200 MS67 RED
These specimens of the Wheat Penny 1910-S, also known as the “Repunched Mintmark” (RPM), have a double mintage of the mint mark (“S”). In the manufacture of these units, the mint punch was struck several times in different positions, because the first strike did not place the “S” in the proper position.
Sometimes they are easy to detect and other times they are only identifiable by the use of a magnifying glass.
They are quite scarce and unlisted since they are errors produced by their manufacture.
A RED copy in MS67 was valued at $19,200 in an auction in 2018. However, last year in MS66 quality, it was auctioned at $1,740.
Other Valuable Errors or Variants You Should Look For
It is normal that during the manufacturing process of the coins, occasionally errors occur that affect their value.
This is because many collectors include such errors or variants as important pieces for their collection or collections that would be incomplete without these errors. There are also collectors who dedicate themselves exclusively to collecting these errors.
One of the most well-known errors or manufacturing errors is the so-called off-center, which can only be found on the front, the back or, in most cases, on both sides.
As seen in the photo, in the case of this type of off-center, the machine did not mint the edge of the coin or listel well (in the example, the “L” in Liberty was minted incorrectly) and the off-center makes it impossible to read the complete phrase “In God We Trust” on the front. On the back, part of the ear of wheat on the right is outside the coin.
The piece in the photo was the most recent to appear in an auction – and it gives us an idea of how rare the off-center 1910 Wheat Penny is. It was auctioned last year in quality AU58 and with a 15% front and back shift. This copy reached a value of $690.
I have a degree in Business Administration and Management and numismatics studies at the University of Murcia (Spain).