19 Valuable Lincoln Memorial Penny Worth Money

Abraham Lincoln, renowned as one of the most influential leaders in American history, stands out not only for guiding the nation through the tumultuous Civil War era and championing the abolition of slavery but also for the myriad tales and lore that encircle his name. A coin adorned with his profile further amplifies this legacy. Diving deeper into its origins, we discern two main variants of this coin: the standard one initiated in 1909 and a commemorative version spanning 1959 to 2008.

The Illustrious Lincoln Memorial Cent

The Smiling Lincoln Cent’s Tale

Before delving into the details of the iconic memorial edition, let’s cast our gaze on the quintessential Lincoln cent. Its front showcases a dignified image of Lincoln, the eminent 16th U.S. Commander-in-Chief. In contrast, its counterpart, the backside, is graced by a collection of seven distinct motifs.

  • Date of Minting: 1987
  • Origin: The esteemed Philadelphia Mint (Note: No explicit mint marking)
  • Assessment: Not specified
  • Monetary Worth: A commendable $6,738

Originally, from 1909, the reverse side celebrated American agriculture with a duo of wheat sheafs, thereby acquiring the moniker of either the “wheat cent” or its sibling term, the “wheat penny”. As we journeyed to 1959, a splendid representation of the Lincoln Memorial graced the coin. Furthermore, during the bicentennial celebrations, coin enthusiasts were treated to four varied designs on the flip side.

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The 1992 Denver-Minted Penny

This penny commemorates Lincoln in an enchanting fashion. The coin, sourced from Denver as indicated by its ‘D’ mint mark, fetches a substantial collector’s price of $2,200. It holds a grading of MS60, a testament to its quality and preservation.

However, it’s worth diving deeper into the essence of ‘Lincoln memorial pennies.’ A specific set of these coins, spanning 1959 to 2008, uniquely depicts the iconic Lincoln Memorial on their reverse. In 2008, a new series made its debut. This series celebrates a more youthful version of Lincoln, giving us a fresh perspective on his earlier years.

The Enigmatic 1969 Denver Penny

Now, journeying back a little, there’s a peculiar 1969 penny that originated from Denver. Its valuation stands impressively at nearly $2,500. It’s the imagery on these bicentennial pennies that truly mesmerizes. Not every coin displays the iconic image of Lincoln on its reverse side. Instead, some are adorned with emblematic representations such as the rustic log cabin in Kentucky, representing Lincoln’s early life.

Other designs showcase intriguing episodes from his life. One particular design presents us with an image of Lincoln, engrossed in reading, seated on a log. This brings to life his days in Indiana, where he undertook the demanding task of splitting logs to create fences. Another design splendidly captures a dapper-looking Lincoln with the backdrop of the magnificent Illinois State Capitol.

The 1964 D Lincoln Penny: A Unique Mark of History

One might ponder the symbolism on the tails side of a modern Lincoln penny, but we’ll visit that thought in a bit. First, let’s step into the nostalgia of 1909 when Lincoln pennies, adorned with wheat stalks, first made their appearance. These designs, courtesy of the talented Victor D. Brenner, bore his signature – quite literally. His initials, VDB, were engraved on the coins.

  • Year of Minting: 1964
  • Produced at: Denver Mint
  • Certified Grade: Not Available
  • Estimated Worth: Approximately $1,000

Originally, Brenner’s mark was prominently showcased at the coin’s base. But soon, it felt somewhat glaring. By 1918, the initials took a quieter presence, nestling subtly at the junction of President Lincoln’s shoulder.

The 1972 Lincoln Cent: A Testament to Times

The earliest Lincoln penny had a rich copper constitution, making up 95% of its substance, and the remainder being a blend of tin and zinc. This design choice speaks to the year 1909. However, as the clouds of war gathered in 1943, copper was required on the battlefront. Consequently, the penny’s composition evolved, predominantly featuring low-grade steel with a hint of zinc.

  • Year of Minting: 1972
  • Produced at: The iconic Philadelphia Mint
  • Certified Grade: Not Available
  • Estimated Worth: A staggering $1,999

Post-war, the penny was reinvented with a mix commonly referred to as French bronze. But as economic tides shifted in 1982, a contemporary combination emerged. The Lincoln penny underwent a metamorphosis once again and is currently the featherweight champion in its lineage, tipping the scales at a mere 2.5g.

The 1964 D Lincoln Penny: An Uncommon Find

Can you imagine holding a piece of history in your hand? That’s what it’s like to have a 1964 D Lincoln penny with a unique L Liberty error. This coin, with its rarity and particular features, could fetch up to $1,700!

The Lincoln penny, introduced in the 1900s, has seen changes in design and material but not in its size. It has maintained a diameter of 19.05mm or three-fourths of an inch. This size is slightly smaller than the earlier pre-1857 pennies, which were as large as 28.57mm, somewhat bigger than an inch.

Details of the Coin:

  • Year: 1964
  • Minted at: Denver
  • Grade: Not Available
  • Estimated Value: $1,700

The special Lincoln Memorial design came into existence in honor of Abe Lincoln’s 150th birth anniversary. Frank Gasparro, who designed the reverse of the coin, later became the Chief Engraver of the US Mint, a position he held from 1965 until his retirement in 1981.

The 1960-D Lincoln Cent: Brilliance and History Combined

The next noteworthy piece is the 1960-D Lincoln Cent, considered a brilliant uncirculated coin. This particular minting, a large date version, can be worth up to $1,000!

Initially, coins served practical purposes, embodying their value in the precious metals they contained. You could melt them down or even cut them up if you needed the metals. But with the inclusion of base metals like nickel, copper, and zinc, the focus shifted from mere utility to aesthetics.

Details of the Coin:

  • Year: 1960
  • Minted at: Denver
  • Grade: Brilliant Uncirculated
  • Estimated Value: $1,000

An interesting twist came in 1904 when President Teddy Roosevelt expressed his desire for more beautiful coins. He advocated for a professional artist’s touch, and his first pick was the renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This marked the beginning of an era where the artistry of coins became as valuable as the metal they contained.

Both these Lincoln pennies are not just coins but pieces of history, representing the evolution of American coinage. Their fascinating tales continue to captivate collectors, history enthusiasts, and even the casually curious. From the pure pragmatism of earlier times to the pursuit of artistic brilliance, the story of these coins is a mirror reflecting societal changes and values.

The Curious Tale of the 1969 Lincoln Penny

The realm of numismatics — the study and collection of coins — carries with it tales as rich and varied as the coins themselves. Among these tales, the story of the 1969 D Lincoln Penny stands out.

In a turn of fate, Augustus couldn’t see his vision for the Lincoln cent through due to his untimely death from cancer. This vision was then passed onto Victor D. Brenner. With immense dedication, Brenner crafted an obverse that’s still in use today. However, the coin’s current reverse is the work of another artist, Lyndall Bass. A quick hint for collectors: keep an eye out for anomalies in the coin, sometimes abbreviated as WAM and CAM.

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Details about this notable penny include:

  • Year: 1969
  • Mint Location: Denver (denoted as ‘D’)
  • Grade: Not specified
  • Estimated Worth: A whopping $1,000!

Brenner, known for his eclectic designs, once drew inspiration from French coinage. Among these inspirations were designs such as a tree branch and a depiction of liberty in standing form. Surprisingly, he even toyed with the idea of replacing the ‘U’ in ‘United’ with a ‘V’, making it ‘Vnited’. Furthermore, he intended to place his entire last name prominently on the coin — a decision that didn’t sit well with the authorities. Ultimately, these suggestions were gracefully declined.

The 1976 Lincoln Cent: A Unique Masterpiece

Flashback to the 2nd of August, 1909, when the Lincoln penny was first introduced to the public. Imagine a scene where throngs of people are queued up, eagerly waiting their turn. Such was the penny’s allure that in places like New York, a limit was imposed: one person could only purchase 100 pennies. In Philadelphia, the restrictions were even tighter — a mere two pennies per person!

The demand was so high that some enthusiasts were willing to trade a quarter just to acquire a single Lincoln penny. To put that into perspective, it’s like purchasing a simple loaf of bread for the price of an entire banquet! While the frenzy eventually cooled down, the price did stabilize to 5 cents, five times its original value.

A curious footnote to this tale is Brenner’s penchant for self-promotion. Eager to stamp his mark, he wanted to embed his initials prominently. However, the final coin design excluded them.

Read More : 19 Most Valuable Wheat Pennies Worth Money

A Controversy from 1962’s Penniless Mark

In the annals of numismatics, few stories are as intriguing as the tumultuous tale of the 1962 Lincoln Memorial penny. While the coin had no mint mark, indicating its Philadelphia origins, the debate wasn’t about its birthplace. Victor David Brenner’s conspicuous signature on the coin drew public ire. Many perceived it as a brash self-promotion. The government’s solution? Replace his bold initials with a modest ‘B’. But this seemingly simple fix would have led to delays lasting anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

To complicate matters, other coins stamped with a ‘B’ existed, crafted by the then Mint Engraver, Charles E. Barber. He fretted over potential confusions between his creations and Brenner’s. Brenner’s pleas fell on deaf ears, and his famed VDB signature vanished, only to resurrect in 1918.

A 1971 Coin and the Shades of Legacy

Shifting our focus to 1971, a Lincoln penny stamped with the San Francisco ‘S’ faced scrutiny. Critics argued that the fuss over Victor Brenner’s initials was exaggerated. After all, pioneers like George T. Morgan and Augustus Saint-Gaudens flaunted their unique marks just as prominently. Perhaps the underpinning of this debate lay in Charles E. Barber’s undisguised aversion to the Lincoln cent.

Amidst these artistic differences, there arose a practical issue. Coin-operated machine professionals raised concerns about the coin’s thickness. The Mint Director at the time, Frank Leach, championed their cause. Barber, however, sidestepped the requests. The world adapted instead, with vending machines widening their coin slots.

The 1991 Mystery of the Vanishing Mark

As we venture into 1991, we encounter another quirk. The Lincoln penny of this year, minted in Denver and marked with a ‘D’, holds its own secrets. For those passionate about collecting, the 1909-S VDB penny is the ultimate prize. Its rarity is unparalleled, given that fewer than half a million bore Brenner’s initials. Meanwhile, a staggering 28 million coins emerged from the Philadelphia Mint, all sans mint marks.

Denver began its own journey with Lincoln pennies in 1911, proudly donning the ‘D’ insignia. However, 1922 saw a glitch. Fatigued, worn-out dies led to the production of some coins without the expected ‘D’. Despite pleas for fresh dies, the mint had to make do, giving birth to a batch of unique pennies.

The Tale of the 1964 Pennies and Their Illustrious Kin

In the annals of American coinage, 1922 stands out for a peculiar reason. A nationwide economic slump during that year caused San Francisco and Philadelphia to halt their penny minting. As these cities were preoccupied with the creation of Peace Dollars, Denver found itself in a dilemma – they didn’t have the necessary equipment to craft new penny dies. Hence, they made do with what they had, which were worn-out dies.

  • Coin Spotlight: 1964 Penny
    • Origin: The exact mint is shrouded in mystery.
    • Assessment: Not graded.
    • Estimated Worth: An impressive $1,000.

Due to Denver’s reliance on these aged dies, their pennies had a ‘D’ mint mark that was barely visible. Sometimes, it didn’t even make an appearance! So, if you come across a 1922 Lincoln penny sans the mint mark, it isn’t a Philadelphian artifact. Instead, it’s a Denver rarity, prized by collectors.

The 1972 Lincoln’s Tribute and The Woes of Steel Pennies

The public had a love-hate relationship with Lincoln pennies. While the initial designs drew criticism from certain quarters, the masses embraced them. Recognizing this adoration, in 1936, Philadelphia took the initiative and introduced special proof sets. However, the period between 1943 and 1946 saw the release of steel pennies meant for wartime. These weren’t as well-received, primarily due to their tendency to tarnish quickly.

  • Coin Spotlight: 1972 Lincoln Penny
    • Origin: Philadelphia (not explicitly marked).
    • Assessment: Not graded.
    • Estimated Worth: A cool $1,000.

These wartime pennies, fashioned from low-grade carbon steel with a zinc layer, weren’t durable. Upon contact with moisture, they’d corrode, forming unsightly blemishes. Their silvery hue added to the confusion, as people often mistook them for silver-rich dimes.

1966: A Penny’s Ode to Its Wartime Ancestors

The steel pennies were short-lived, being replaced by late 1943 and early 1944. Pennies from these years, especially from Denver, are collector’s items today. Their rarity is evident from past sales, with a 1943-D penny fetching a staggering 1.7 million dollars in 2010! Its counterpart, the 1943-S, has commanded similar jaw-dropping prices.

  • Coin Spotlight: 1966 Penny
    • Origin: Philadelphia (again, not explicitly marked).
    • Assessment: Not graded.
    • Estimated Worth: A notable $800.

These coins, especially from the war era, have not been spared from counterfeit attempts. It’s common to find fraudsters copper-coating a 1943 coin to deceive buyers. A simple magnet test, however, can reveal these deceptive replicas. And, as a fun fact, 1959 saw mint engravers sparring in a friendly competition to reinvent the Lincoln penny’s backside.

A Glimpse into the Intriguing World of Lincoln Memorial Pennies

The tale of the Lincoln Memorial Penny traces back to a designer named Frank Gasparro. While his rendition of the iconic monument was applauded within the mints, the aesthetic gurus of the day found the representation wanting. Many believed that Frank’s lack of personal exposure to the monument affected the design’s authenticity.

  • Coin Details (1972 Edition)
    • Year: 1972
    • Origin: Philadelphia (No distinct mint mark)
    • Quality: MS65 RD
    • Estimated Worth: $745

However, the narrative doesn’t end there. Circa 1955, numerous Lincoln cents showcased unintentional double impressions on their year stamp. Fast forward to 1960, a noticeable disparity emerged: certain coins flaunted a grand date inscription, while a scarce few displayed a more delicate size. This subtle adjustment prevented an undesirable puncture on the 1960 numeral.

The Famed 1982 Lincoln Cent

In the world of numismatics, the 1960 Lincoln penny with its modest-sized date stamp held a prized position. Approximately 2 million of these unique pieces were crafted in Philadelphia before transitioning to a grander size. Ambitious treasure hunters were known to splurge up to $12,000 on a sealed batch of 50 cents, all in the hopes of stumbling upon these rare gems.

  • Coin Details (1982 Edition)
    • Year: 1982
    • Origin: Philadelphia (Again, no distinct mint mark)
    • Quality: Not Specified
    • Estimated Worth: $700

The overwhelming allure of these coins experienced a surge till 1964, after which it stabilized. Interestingly, while Denver minted fewer of these small-date versions, a significant number still remain in circulation. Among the staggering 1.5 billion minted in Denver during 1960, roughly half a million belonged to the small-date category, and even today, hunting down a Denver edition isn’t a Herculean task.

The Tale of the 1987 Lincoln Memorial Penny and its Metallic Mystique

Have you ever pondered the subtle differences between brass and bronze? If you’ve been in the world of metallurgy or, more specifically, coin collecting, you’ve likely encountered this distinction. Brass, the harmonious blend of copper and zinc, and bronze, the fusion of copper and tin, both offer unique properties. Curiously, our cherished pennies have been historically labeled as ‘bronze’, even though their metal makeup leans more towards brass.

This slight deviation in definition can be traced back to what is commonly termed as French bronze – an amalgamation of 91% copper, 6% zinc, 2% tin, and a pinch of lead at 1%. However, in the intriguing year of 1962, a pivotal shift occurred. The U.S. Mint decided to omit the tin, opting for an alloy of 95% copper paired with 5% zinc. This mix was found to be remarkably more resilient.

A Glimpse of the 1987 Penny’s History

  • Year of Minting: 1987
  • Origin: Denver (Indicated by the ‘D’ mint mark)
  • Grading: Not Specified
  • Monetary Worth: A whopping $755

The 1960s were a transformative period for U.S. coins. By 1964, as the nation began to perceive the rising value of silver, coins, including our humble pennies, were being stashed away for their intrinsic metal value. The actual worth of copper in pennies didn’t match that of silver, yet the hoarding persisted.

The 1982 Penny and the Vanishing Mint Marks

Another fascinating chapter in penny history unfolded in 1982.

  • Year of Minting: 1982
  • Origin: Denver (Signified by the ‘D’ mint mark)
  • Grading: Not Specified
  • Monetary Worth: An impressive $799

Responding to the widespread hoarding of coins, Mint Director Eva Adams made a startling decision: erase the mint marks. Adams believed that avid collectors, in their quest for coins from specific mints and years, were the culprits. This led to an intriguing anomaly where 1965-dated coins were actually produced in 1966. The renowned Lincoln pennies didn’t sport their mint marks again until 1968. An interesting tidbit: The San Francisco Mint ceased coin production in 1955 but resumed for a brief period from 1968 to 1974, later transitioning to crafting exquisite proof coins for collectors.

Are you fortunate enough to possess any Lincoln Memorial pennies? We’d be delighted to hear your tales in the discussion below!

Interested in learning more about the rare variations of Lincoln Memorial pennies? Check out this informative video!

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