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Wheat Pennies – Most Valuable Years: 1944, 1945, 1946…

wheat pennies

Wheat  Pennies  are part of the Lincoln Pennies family and probably one of the most valuable old coins. Its great accessibility, besides that it’s easy to find in good condition, makes it a very affordable and fun collection for any contemporary coin collector.

If you want to know the sales prices of Wheat Pennies quickly, you can see them below. However, whenever we talk about coin prices, knowing a lot of details and additional information can be decisive. Therefore if you have 5 minutes we recommend you to read this article in its entirety so that you can take advantage of all the information.

How to identify correctly a Wheat Penny

It has been in circulation for over a century. The motif began to be used in 1909, from a photograph taken of the president in 1864, and is still in use today.


Lincoln’s bust has been virtually unchanged all these years. However, the motif on the back has changed. In this article we will focus on the so-called Wheat Penny, the first guy to be coined from Lincoln’s pennies.

It was used from 1909 to 1958, when it was replaced by the Memorial Penny, a coin that shares the President’s bust on the front, but completely replaces the motif on the back with an engraving of the Lincoln Memorial Building.

In order to properly reference our coin, we first need to know its mint. In case of Penny Wheat, we have three possibilities.

How to start determining  wheat penny value?

We need to look at a small lettering that is just below the year.

  • If it doesn’t have any letters, it was minted at the main Philadelphia mint
  • If we find an S, it was coined in San Francisco
  • If we find a D, he did it in Denver

Another feature we’ll have to consider is the type of coinage our Wheat Penny had. As a general rule, the Mint coins with two different qualities:

  • Circulation coins are the normal coins that we use in our daily purchases
  • Coining PROOF. These coins are made directly for the collector market. They are manufactured with great care, with a high level of detail, and they give them a characteristic mirror shine that makes them more aesthetically attractive.

In the following picture we can see a normal circulating penny (image above), and a PROOF penny (image below). The differences between the two are more than evident


The last parameter to look at in order to reference our penny is only necessary on the coins of the first year in which they were minted, 1909. The first coins to come out of the mint had the initials of the designer Victor D. Brenner on the back of the coin.

These pieces are far more rare than their non-VDB counterparts, although they were appreciated by numismatists and collectors and treasured from the beginning. Because of this, it is quite common to find them in a very good state of conservation

Value of wheat pennies

Wheat pennies are coins that, with few exceptions, were minted in incredibly high quantities. So in order for a coin to fetch a high price on the collector’s market or as an investment, we need one of these two characteristics:

– An incredibly good state of preservation. It must not have suffered any kind of wear and tear from circulation, nor must it have been knocked or scratched. It has to be just as it came out of the minting press, with a natural weathered patina and uniform color.

– One of the few rare pennies. You may want to look for certain things about our coin. Keep reading…

Lincoln Wheat pennies that are valuables

We will always talk, to unify pricing criteria in currencies graduated by NGC or PCGS from MS-60. In these so common and easy to get pieces, high quality is rewarded enormously, and wheat penny prices grow exponentially. Let’s see a very concrete example with a common coin.

Wheat penny 1957 value chart


As we can see, up to MS65 the rise is very gradual, only a few cents to improve it. But when we reach grade MS66 there is a very important price change, and the wheat pennies 1957 in MS67 costs approximately 100 times more than in MS60.

1.     Wheat penny 1943 Bronze. 60.000$-1.750.000$

In 1943, due to the entry of the United States into World War II, copper for coinage became necessary for military equipment factories. To replace it, the Lincoln Cent was minted in a zinc-plated steel coin blank.

However, it is assumed that by mistake, some coin blanks left over from the previous year entered the press in the three mints.

For these wheat pennies 1943, of which about 25 are known in total, many of them in circulation, hundreds of thousands of dollars can be paid, including more than a million for the best preserved ones.


2. Wheat penny 1944 Value. Steel. 7.500$-200.000$

The opposite case to the 1943 bronze coinage is the wheat penny from 1944 zinc-plated steel coinage. In December 1943, it was agreed that these coins would be re-minted in bronze, but some coin blanks were leaked with the new wedges and very few units were produced in the previous year’s material.

Thing to know about Valuable Wheat Pennies 1944

It should be noted that in that year there were a large number of steel coin blanks at the Philadelphia Mint, which were used to mint the Belgian 2 franc coin, a country destroyed by the war that had to subcontract the production of cash to the American Mint.  Check out your 1944’s wheat penny. Don’t forget that wheat penny 1945 and 1946 are also wheat pennies worth.



3. Wheat penny 1909-S VDB. 1.500$-100.000$

The first coins minted for the Wheat Penny were produced with the initials of designer Victor D. Brenner on the bottom of the reverse. Among these, the rarest are those minted at the San Francisco Mint.

It should be noted that since the only difference from the normal 1909 mint coins is the engraving of these initials, the 1909 Wheat pennie-S VDB is the most counterfeit coin in all of American numismatics. A total of 4 reverse dies are known for this issue, and it is not recommended that you purchase them without a thorough knowledge of them.


Coins that come out of these three “white mirlors”, graduated in MS-60 can cost approximately $25 to $300 hundred in the first years of issue, until the late 1920s. In the 1930s they can be found for between $5 and $30. Post-Great War, given their mass production, there are few that cost more than $1.

These price ranges apply mostly to coins minted in Philadelphia and San Francisco. The Denver Mint’s production was significantly lower, and therefore coins marked with a D can reach somewhat higher prices than their more common contemporaries.

Wheat penny most valuable – Other key Years

Look for these years and you’ll don’t regret:  1919, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1946, 1956, 1957 y 1958. As we said above you must take into account that the state of conservation is key to know the price of your wheat cent.

Wheat penny that are worth money – a great option to start a coin collection

The Lincoln cents in general are a series of coins that have as many lovers as haters. As we have mentioned, these one cent coins are probably the most collected series in the world for several reasons:

  • Low difficulty in getting almost all the dates.
  • Price, in general, very affordable for everyone.
  • Easy storage, because there are many albums that have the holes ready to be filled with the coins.
  • Large amount of specialized bibliography.

It is an accessible collection from children who want to start in this world, to advanced collectors with important capitals. Obviously, the former will be dedicated to filling in the gaps, as if it were a sticker album, and the latter will seek excellence in all their pieces, trying to get copies in very high states of conservation.


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