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1909 Lincoln Penny Value

How to accurately judge 1909 Lincoln penny value. Lincoln wheat cents are very popular with collectors and inspected closely to judge how much they are worth.

1909 Lincoln Penny Value

Steps Leading to Value:

  • Step 1: Date and Mintmark Variety – Identify each date and its mintmark variety.
  • Step 2: Grading Condition – Judge condition to determine grade.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities – Certain elements either enhance or detract from value
1909 Lincoln Penny Value
 Condition of Coin
1909 Lincoln Penny Value Up-Dated 2024
1909 $1.07 $2.04 $6.00 $10
1909 VDB $4.38 $7.25 $11.50 $16
1909 S $62 $68 $110 $187
1909 S VDB $550 $675 $966 $1,066

Popularity of collecting Lincoln Wheat cents is the driving force behind values. A focus on each of the dates, along with the mint that struck the coin is typically how they are assembled into a collection. 1909 is significant and prized as the introduction year of the Lincoln design.

Listings on the chart also separate values by the condition of the coin. Key elements found and displayed on the coin's surface are inspected and judged to determine a grade. This step is not as daunting as it may seem. Comparing your coin to images of the different grades gives a good indication to condition.

Step 1: | Date and Mintmark Combination

Value in Mintmarks - Identify Your Coin's Listing on the Chart

1909 saw four variations involving a combination of mintmark and the designer's initials. Victor D. Brenner designed the Lincoln cent and when first minted his initials V.D.B. were placed on the reverse design. Later removal of the initials in 1909 caused varieties of with and with-out these initials.

Careful recognition of the exact variation is needed. Value differences are quite large.

1909-VDB Lincoln Penny

No Mintmark Under Date: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

1909-VDB Lincoln Penny

First minting of 1909 showed the initials V.D.B. placed on the reverse at the bottom close to the rim. A very collectible and desirable coin both in the past and today. Because of its "first of year" status many were saved. An affordable iconic year and design.

1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny

"S" Mintmark Under Date: San Francisco Mint Struck the Coin

1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny

These were the first Lincoln pennies struck at San Francisco and are notable for the V.D.B. at the lower rim. Production numbers were small and the coins soon became highly sought. Today it is considered a major key date and mint to the series and is collectible in all grades.

Grading the condition is very important. Since values are high, having these authenticated by one of the top Coin Grading Services is routine. Assurance of both authenticity and grade solidifies value.

1909 Lincoln Penny

No Mintmark Under Date: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

1909 Lincoln Penny

Removal of the initials from the reverse created a third variety of 1909 penny. Millions were struck and many were saved. Values begin to increase in the higher grades, judgement of condition using the grading images below helps determine worth.

1909-S Lincoln Penny

"S" Mintmark Under Date: San Francisco Mint Struck the Coin

1909-S Lincoln Penny

Identity of this variety is the absence of the V.D.B. initials on the reverse. Also considered a key to the series because of a relatively low mintage number. Collectors value the coin highly in all grades and nicer condition coins are well received.

An extra moment or two judging condition is needed to arrive at it true worth. Value and the fact that altered coins are known requires authentication. Coin Grading Services, both authenticate and grade providing assurance and accurate determination of condition.

Step 2: | Judge Condition to Identify Grade

Grading Finds Accurate 1909 Penny Value

Value differences listed on the chart reflect the condition - grade of the coin. Amount of wear to the surface is judged and compared to images and descriptions.

Best approach to grading is review the image of an uncirculated coin first. Identifying the depth of the design, knowing the high and low areas, helps in determining degrees of wear.

Uncirculated Grade 1909 Lincoln Penny

Uncirculated Condition: A coin with no wear to the surface is graded as "uncirculated". These coins are at the top of the collectible and value scale.

Look closely at the hair just above the ear of Lincoln. A small tuft of hair curls over and just covers the very top of the ear. An uncirculated coin displays the curl with a rounded profile and clearly separated and raised from the forehead. Any wear shows as a flattening and smoothing effect.

Extremely Fine Grade 1909 Lincoln Penny

Extremely Fine Condition: A small amount of wear scattered over the high points of the design identifies the grade.

A small curl of hair at the top of the ear now displays a minor but distinct flatness to its once rounded profile. In some instances, the curl has blended with the forehead. However, the curl is clearly separated from the larger curl of hair just above.

Other areas of the hair also are beginning to show evidence of minor flattening. Importantly, the majority of hair detail is well separated.

Fine Grade 1909 Lincoln Penny

Fine Condition: Wear has caused many areas of Lincoln's design to become flattened.

Inspecting the curl of hair above the ear shows most of the detail is lost. Once separated, the curl is now worn smooth and connected to the surrounding areas. Notably, the curl is now merged with the forehead.

Despite loss of minor detail, overall many areas are defined and a certain "sharpness" is displayed.

Good Grade 1909 Lincoln Penny

Good Condition: Heavy wear describes the "Good" grade. Most of the design elements to Lincoln's portrait are now worn smooth.

Defining the "Good" grade shows the coin has worn to the point hair detail surrounding the ear is missing. Now worn to a level plane, little remains of the hair with just the central portion of the ear showing any detail. On a positive note, due to the depth of the overall design, a clear outline of Lincoln is still bold.

Detecting wear and condition by examining all parts of the coin's surface confirms a grade. As values climb higher many additional factors are used to decide the grade and worth.

Grading Lincoln Wheat Pennies covers the grading process in more detail. Additional images and descriptions identify subtle points to grading.

Step 3: | Special Qualities Enhancing Value

1909-S Over S Mint Mark Variety

1909-S Over Horizontal S Lincoln Penny Variety

Variety and error collecting of Lincoln cents has become popular today. Many anomalies have occurred over time to the coins. One in particular has gained interest with the 1909 cent and is known as the "S Over Horizontal S" variety.

When punching the "S" mintmark to the working die, the first punching was orientated horizontally. A second punching of the "S" corrected the problem; however, an indication of the first "S" remains visible. Thus, creating a scarce "S" mint variety.

Look closely under magnification at the "S" mintmark of any 1909-S Lincoln cent. A faint impression of an underlying "S" mark is visible on a few minted. A 10% premium is placed on these in circulated grades. In the higher mint state grades, the premium is slightly less.

Lincoln Penny Handling and Preservation

Lincoln Pennies Storage Damage

Minimum value of 1909 pennies along with their status as a sought-after collectible is best preserved by handling the coins gently. Hold by the edges and avoid touching the surface of the coin. Contact with other coins is also "detrimental" to their well-being. Additionally, moisture and humidity are particularly harmful and rapidly lowers the surface quality of copper coins.

A quick and temporary measure to separate coins individually is placing them in a small plastic bag. A note of caution: avoid wrapping coins in paper as it exposes them to chemicals that harm their surface. A longer-term solution to housing coins is using one of the many coin "flips" designed specifically for the purpose. For a detailed discussion see: Safe Coin Storage


US Treasury. Preparation of Working Dies
US Mint. 1909 US Mint Report

Coin Values | CoinStudy Articles

Date by Date
In Depth Lincoln Penny Value
Early Era 1909 to 1933

Date by Date
In Depth Lincoln Penny Value
Second Era 1934 to 1958

Lincoln Penny Value Chart

Lincoln Wheat cents span the years 1909 through 1958. From the top condition coins collected by advanced collectors to worn examples; to an affordable collection for young collectors, the range of value is extensive. Identify your date, mint and condition and refer to the value chart.

Coin Values Discovery finds 1909 Penny Value and...

All US coin values. Recognize your old coins using the image links leading to value charts. Date | Mintmark | Condition are considered; all described and imaged within each series. Surprising value is often found in the smallest of detail.