Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 7/6/2024: Gold $2384 | Silver $31.03

1921 Penny Value

Identifying 1921 penny value is a step by step process involving:

Date | Mint Mark | Condition

Of these three key points; judging condition may seem daunting. However, by comparing your coin to the grading images provides a good indicator of how well its preserved.

1921 Lincoln Wheat Penny

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. A review of the chart highlights coins in higher grades.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities – Certain elements either enhance or detract from value. Preservation of the coins is also necessary.
1921 Lincoln Penny Value
 Condition of Coin
  1921 Lincoln Penny Value Up-Dated 2024
1921 $0.48 $1.56 $9.50 $29
1921 S $1.25 $3.53 $31.25 $60

An early wheat cent needs close inspection to find its accurate place on value charts. Popularity combined with scarcity of these early years shows an increase of value when recognizing a higher condition 1921 penny.

Using images below: identity and compare: Date | Mint Mark | Condition

Collectors proceed through the same step by step method when evaluating coins to include in collections. Complete these to find an accurate place on the value chart.

Step 1: | Date and Mintmark Combination

Identify the Important 1921 Issue Wheat Penny

1921 is notable as the 6th lowest total mintage year of the wheat penny series. A total of 54,431,000 cents were struck. Only two varieties are available to collectors. Denver production was suspended in favor of striking silver dollars.

1921 Lincoln Penny

No Mintmark Under Date: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

1921 Lincoln Penny

Philadelphia 1921 cents are one of the years the coin is fairly common. However, their abundance is limited to examples in deeply worn condition. A standout piece sought by collectors exhibiting a well detailed portrait of Lincoln is on a rarity scale as Infrequent. Finding well defined hair and beard detail in Lincoln's features is difficult. Notice the rise in value on the chart in the Extremely Fine grade.

1921-S Lincoln Penny

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

1921-S Lincoln Penny

Collectors form a firm value base to all 1921-S pennies. Low production numbers result in a coin somewhat elusive. Eye pleasing examples are considered as Semi-Key on a rarity scale, a scarce coin in higher grades.

Examine the reverse, note the presences of fine parallel lines in the upper wheat stalks. If these lines are visible it is a coin very desirable to collectors. Lacking problems to the surface such a marks and faded lettering put these coins in a premium value range.

Step 2: | Judge Condition to Identify Grade

1921 Lincoln Penny Value is Conditional

Charts list value in order of Grade. Condition of a coin's surface is examined and judged to determine the different grades. High areas of the devices are prone to first contact and wear, these are imaged and described.

Achieving an accurate value involves an accurate determination of grade. When viewing your coin first overall impression is important. Positive signs are even color and no distracting marks.

Uncirculated Grade 1921 Lincoln Penny

Uncirculated Grade: A nice mint state - uncirculated wheat cent is free of any wear to the surface. Wear is an important factor to achieving this grade. First to signs of contact is luster, a delicate texture imparted during minting and quickly removed when a coin is handled.

Lincoln's coat along the back, high in profile, is a key spot to identify any circulation and handling wear. Tilt the coin side to side under a single light source, observing any smoothing and dulling to the surface. All fine luster remains on a mint state coin.

The 1921 Lincoln cent pictured is a crisp example of a well struck coin still in the condition it left the mint. A solid grade mint state Lincoln cent. Bright undisturbed luster covers the entire surface.

Extremely Fine Grade Lincoln Penny

Extremely Fine Grade: When a coin enters circulation the high areas of design begin to show evidence of wear. A small amount of design loss places a wheat cent in the Extremely Fine grade.

Lincoln's coat along the back is beginning to lose detail. Smoothing appears on the lapel and continues towards the bow tie. A major design feature, the ridge separating the lapel from the coat is still intact, qualifying the coin to reach the extremely fine grade. Wear has reduced small details, but all major designs are visible.

An appealing brown toning covers the surface of the 1921-S penny with lighter shades highlighting Lincoln and lettering. Visual appeal is a factor to value and collectability. This coin would fit nicely in a circulated wheat cent collection.

Fine Grade Lincoln Penny

Fine Grade: All legends and date are clear and sharp, with moderate even wear overall defines a wheat cent in Fine grade. Lincoln is bold and high areas are still separated.

Close inspection of the shoulder along the back finds a faint outline indicating the lapel of the coat. Lincoln's coat and shirt are still separated with a clear bowtie. Major details to the coat and shoulder are visible.

Nice surfaces remain on the example wheat cent; no distracting marks and discoloration catches the eye. Circulated wheat cents from the early years are collectible when displaying eye appeal. Demand from collectors is steady holding values strong.

Good Grade Lincoln Penny

Good Grade: Heavy wear has removed all minor detail and merged most of the major design, placing the example in Good grade. Date and lettering are clear and readable.

The lower part of Lincoln's portrait is worn completely smooth. Most lines indicating the coat lapel are missing and a faint line separating the shirt remains. Most major details are flattened overall.

Despite heavy wear Lincoln's bust is bold from the field of the coin. Details to the date are clear and legends may fade slightly into the rim. Strong features help with eye appeal and support values.

Video | Grading Lincoln Wheat Pennies

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

Identify Then Preserve Special Quality 1921 Penny

1921 is a year with many basic special qualities, these initially set it apart from most wheat cents. Fairly low mintages are noted in comparison to the rest of the series. Combined with no production from the Denver mint, any 1921 wheat penny is an uncommon find. Secondly, few survive today in above average condition; most are heavily worn. A circulated example in extremely fine grade is a special coin.

All coins, as they circulate suffer wear, parts of the design is removed and overall detail is lost. Along the way these soft copper coins pick up nicks and marks in varying sizes and depth. Part of value is eye appeal and to many marks or notably large marks detract. Collectors focus on the quality of the surface and judge the appeal of a coin. Finding examples without distractions is part of the challenge to collecting. Because of the elusive nature of relatively mark free surfaces, any that exhibit this quality are premium examples.

1921 High Quality Wheat Penny

Protecting the surface of a coin going forward preserves value. One: hold these special quality coins by the edges only. Two: separate the coin from others and house individually. These steps greatly improve maintaining condition.


Cite: US Mint. 1922 US Mint Annual Report

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