Top 30 Most Valuable Wheat Pennies

Last Updated 31st March 2022.

Did you know that the top 30 most valuable Wheat pennies all add up to just over $9,000,000 in value and each one is worth at least $100,000?

These United States one cents coins all sold at auction for record prices, however the most valuable Lincoln Wheat cents were sold privately to an anonymous buyer from United States in 2010 and 2018.

In later years it was rumoured that the anonymous buyer was in fact Bob Simpson, owner of some of the finest collectable coins money can buy.

You might notice that quite a few of these valuable wheat pennies are from 1943 & 1944. That's because they are the most rare dates due to a mistake in the minting process in those years.

In fact, the most valuable wheat penny is a 'one of a kind' from the Denver mint making it super rare and very valuable to own. Read more about it below.

1943 D Lincoln Cent - Most Valuable Wheat PennyImage Source: USA Coinbook

Top 30 Most Valuable Wheat Pennies 2022

  1. 1909 S VDB MS67RD ($108,000)
  2. 1955 Doubled Die Obverse MS65+RD ($114,000)
  3. 1944 D Steel MS63 ($115,000)
  4. 1909 S VDB MS67RD ($117,500)
  5. 1917 MS67+RD Doubled Die Obverse ($120,000)
  6. 1914 PR68RD ($126,500)
  7. 1926 S MS65RD ($149,500)
  8. 1914 D MS66+RD ($158,625)
  9. 1944 Steel MS64 ($158,625)
  10. 1943 MS61BN Obverse Die Break ($180,000)
  11. 1944 Steel MS64 ($180,000)
  12. 1943 XF45 ($186,000)
  13. 1943 EF45 CAC ($193,875)
  14. 1943 AU53BN ($204,000)
  15. 1943 S VF35 ($207,000)
  16. 1943 S AU55 ($211,500)
  17. 1943 AU58 ($218,000)
  18. 1943 S AU53BN ($228,000)
  19. 1943 AU55 CAC($240,000)
  20. 1909 PR67+RB CAC($258,500)
  21. 1943 S AU58BN ($282,000)
  22. 1943 AU58 ($305,500)
  23. 1943 AU55 ($329,000)
  24. 1958 Doubled Die Obverse MS64RD ($336,000)
  25. 1943 MS62BN ($348,000)
  26. 1943 MS62BN ($372,000)
  27. 1944 S Steel MS66 ($408,000)
  28. 1943 S MS63BN ($504,000)
  29. 1943 MS63RD ($1,000,000+)
  30. 1943 D MS64BN ($1,700,000)

#30) 1909 S VDB Lincoln Wheat Cent

1909 S VDB MS67RD

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 484,000
  • Value: $108,000 (MS67RD)

One of the finest examples of a 1909 S VDB penny, this coin sold on the 14th January 2022 at Heritage Auctions for $108,000.

This is one of the key dates that every collector of Lincoln Wheat pennies wants in their collection.

The initial batch of 484,000 pennies from the San Francisco mint had the initials VDB on the reverse after the designer Victor David Brenner.

This didn't go down well with the general public so the mint removed the initials on all future pennies that were produced.

As such a small mintage of 1909 S VDB pennies were produced, they soon became very popular with collectors.

#29) 1955 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Doubled Die Obverse)

Image Source: PCGS

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 33,058,000
  • Value: $114,000 (MS65+RD)

This is probably the finest example of the 1955 Doubled Die Obverse Cent.

It sold for $114,000 on 22nd March 2018 at Stack's Bowers.

Coming from the Philadelphia Mint where the dies are the highest quality, you can see clearly with the naked eye the well defined obverse doubling.

Out of the 33,058,000 wheat cents that were minted in Philadelphia in 1955, around 40,000 of these mint errors were pressed.

Many of these errors were discovered and destroyed by the press inspector, however around 24,000 had already mixed in with the overall output for that day before he noticed the errored batch.

These 24,000 were bagged and released into the Federal Reserve System and started appearing in banks around Boston and New York.

It is estimated that only 3000 to 4000, 1955 Doubled Die Obverse pennies, still exist today.

As there are many counterfeits, it's highly recommended that you only buy a cent certified by a leading authority.

#28) 1944 D Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

Image Source: PCGS

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Denver (D)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 7
  • Value: $115,000 (MS63)

Sold for $115,000 at Heritage Auctions on 9th August 2007, this 1944 D Wheat Cent is one of the rarest Lincoln pennies that numismatics can collect.

It is thought that only seven exist making it highly valuable.

This MS63 coin from the Denver mint is probably the finest example of the 1944 D steel penny that survives today.

They are significant because steel wheat cents were only supposed to be produced in 1943.

When Denver started to mint 1944 pennies, they were supposed to be made from the bronze (shell-case) alloy of 95% copper and 5% tin. The metal came from recycled shell casings during the war and no zinc was used in the minting process again until after 1946.

Some leftover zinc-coated steel planchets were still in the presses from 1943 when the new 1944 dies and bronze planchets were installed.

The silver colored wheat pennies made their way out of the mint and into circulation with the other bronze colored 1944 wheat cents.

They are known as off-metal error cents and the same also happened in 1943 except then it was bronze cents that were mint errors instead of steel cents.

#27) 1909 S VDB Lincoln Wheat Cent

Image Source: PCGS

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 484,000
  • Value: $117,500 (MS67RD)

This is the second example of a 1909 S VDB in our list of the top 30 most valuable Lincoln Wheat pennies.

A similar Mint State 67 Red grade as the previous coin, this cent sold for a record breaking $117,500 at Heritage Auctions on 27th February 2007.

The award winning numismatic authors Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth rank the 1909 S VDB wheat penny as 14th in their list of the Top 100 U.S. Coins.

#26) 1917 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Doubled Die Obverse)

Image Source: PCGS

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 196,429,785
  • Value: $120,000 (MS67+RD)

This 1917 penny struck in Philadelphia is probably the finest known examples of a Doubled Die Obverse error cent from that year.

It's graded Mint State 67+ Red by PCGS and sold at Stack's Bowers auction on 28th February 2019 for $120,000.

You can see the sharp doubling to the letters in the motto and to the date. The word TRUST is especially prominent.

#25) 1914 Lincoln Wheat Cent

1914 PR68RD

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 1365
  • Value: $126,500 (PR68RD)

One of only two proof coins to have made it into our Top 30.

Sold on the 17th April 2008 at Heritage Auctions for $126500, this PR68 Red certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service is one of the finest matte proof Lincoln wheat cents available.

You can really see the detail around Lincoln's eyes, ears and mouth on this high quality 1914 penny.

#24) 1926 S Lincoln Wheat Cent

1926 S MS65RD

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 4,550,000
  • Value: $149,500 (MS65RD)

The single finest certified wheatie of its kind. This 1926 S sold for $149500 at Heritage Auctions on 5th January 2006.

It achieved such as high selling price because of its unique quality and color.

There are plenty of well worn 1926 S cents available to collectors, however anything Mint State and above is considered a rarity, especially if it's red.

A MS65 Red is considered the best of the best for a 1926 S.

#23) 1914 D Lincoln Wheat Cent

Image Source: PCGS

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Denver (D)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 1,193,000
  • Value: $158,625 (MS66+RD)

This is a good example of a low minted coin and that's why it sold for such a hefty price tag.

The 1914 D is one of the top 10 lowest minted Lincoln Wheat Cents and this MS66+RD represents one of the best quality versions of this coin that still exists uncirculated.

It sold at Legend Rare Coin Auctions on 17th May 2018 for $158625.

With a grade of MS66+RD, it is the finest known 1914 D to exist.

#22) 1944 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

1944 Steel MS64

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 30
  • Value: $158,625 (MS64)

#21) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Obverse Die Break)

1943 MS61BN Obverse Die Break

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.09 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $180,000 (MS61BN)

#20) 1944 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

1944 Steel MS64

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 30
  • Value: $180,000 (MS64)

#19) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 XF45

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $186,000 (XF45)

#18) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 EF45 CAC

Image Source: Goldberg Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $193,875 (EF45 CAC)

#17) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 AU53BN

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $204,000 (AU53BN)

#16) 1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 S VF35

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 5
  • Value: $207,000 (VF35)

#15) 1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 S AU55

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 5
  • Value: $211,500 (AU55)

#14) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 AU58

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $218,500 (AU58)

#13) 1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 S AU53BN

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 5
  • Value: $228,000 (AU53BN)

#12) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 AU55 CAC

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $240,000 (AU55)

#11) 1909 VDB Proof Lincoln Wheat Cent

1909 VDB Proof PR67+ Red Brown

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 1194
  • Value: $258,500 (PR67+RB CAC)

#10) 1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 S AU58

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 5
  • Value: $282,000 (AU58BN)

#9) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 AU58

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $305,500 (AU58)

#8) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 AU55

Image Source: Legend Rare Coin Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $329,000 (AU55)

#7) 1958 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Doubled Die Obverse)

1958 Doubled Die Obverse MS64RD

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 252,525,000
  • Value: $336,000 (MS64RD)

#6) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 MS62BN

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $348,000 (MS62BN)

#5) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 MS62BN

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $372,000 (MS62BN)

#4) 1944 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Steel)

1944 S MS66

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: Zinc coated Steel
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 2.7 grams
  • Mintage: 2
  • Value: $408,000 (MS66)

This 1944 S Zinc Coated Lincoln Wheat Cent is the only remaining Mint State example of a 1944 'Steelie' from the San Francisco mint.

It sold for a record auction price of $408,000 on August 18th, 2021 topping its previous record auction record price of $373,750.

Gaining a PCGS grade of MS66, it's the highest graded 1944 Steel wheat penny from any of the three mints of San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia during that year.

There is only one other 1944 S zinc-coated penny in existence, but it isn't in very good condition.

It's graded XF by PCGS and has been cleaned lowering it's value, although it still sold for $49,200 in August 2018.

#3) 1943 S Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 S MS63BN

Image Source: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: San Francisco (S)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 6
  • Value: $504,000 (MS63BN)

#2) 1943 Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 Bronze MS63RD

Image Source: Courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mint Mark)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 20
  • Value: $1,000,000+ (MS63RD)

This is the highest graded 1943 Lincoln Wheat cent from the Philadelphia mint. As with all wheat pennies minted at Philadelphia, it doesn't have a mint mark.

There are only around 20 of these error pennies that exist and this Mint State 63 Red graded by PCGS is the best of the bunch.

It is part of The Dazzling Red Collection of Lincoln Wheat Cents.

An anonymous collector paid over $1 million for the coin in 2018 and it was purchased on their behalf by Bob Paul Rare Coins from Philadelphia.

Rumour has it that it was bought by Bob Simpson who owned the 1943 D as well at the time which he paid $1,700,000 for.

At one stage he is reported to have owned a 1943 Wheat Penny from all three mints of Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver.

This coin also sold back in January 2013 at an auction at Stack Bowers for $164,500.

#1) 1943 D Lincoln Wheat Cent (Bronze)

1943 D MS64BN

Image Source: USA Coinbook

  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
  • Mint: Denver (D)
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper - 5% Tin & Zinc
  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mintage: 1
  • Highest Sale Price: $1,700,000 (MS64BN)

The 1943 D bronze Lincoln wheat cent is probably the most famous and valuable error penny ever minted.

It's a 'one-of-a-kind' wrong planchet error and holds the record for the most expensive wheat cent ever sold.

In September 2010 it changed hands privately for $1,700,000, which is a record breaking amount for the sale of a Lincoln wheat cent.

How did this coin come about?

There are various conspiracy theories and different versions of the story that exist, but I like this one the most.

Rumour has it that the coin was deliberately struck by the chief engraver of the US Mint in 1943, John R Sinnock. He gave it as a Christmas present to his girlfriend at the time who lived in North Tonawanda, New York.

Usually these types of wrong planchet error coins were produced when left over bronze planchets from the previous year (1942) were still in the hopper when the zinc planchets (1943) were added.

When the striking started, the handful of bronze planchets were struck first and sent out with the first batch of 1943 zinc wheat pennies. This is what happened in the other mints of Philadelphia and San Francisco.

However, the 1943 bronze wheat cent from Denver had zinc fragments on the reverse as well as the obverse. This could only mean that the dies had struck zinc-coated 1943 steel wheat cents first, which isn't how these error coins were usually produced.

The bronze planchet appears to have been deliberately fed into the hopper full of zinc planchets to create this unique coin.

It also appears that the coin was struck twice to enhance its quality as it has the strongest strike of any of the 1943 bronze cents from across all three mints.

The story goes on to reveal that the coin was kept secret by the girlfriend for years and upon her passing, was left to one of her children.

Discovering how much the bronze 1943 D is worth...

They had the wheat cent examined in 1979 by the American Numismatic Association Certification Service who declared it as genuine.

Later in 1996 it was put up for auction at Superior Galleries. Both the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) graded it Mint State 64 Brown (MS64BN).

It first sold in May 1996 at auction for $82,500. A few later years later in February 2003, it sold again for $212,750.

On September 2010 it broke all records when it was sold privately for $1.7 million.

Andy Skrabalak from the company Angel Dee's Coins and Collectibles sold it on behalf of its anonymous owner to Laura Sperber from Legend Numismatics.

She was acting as agent for Bob Simpson. The proceeds of the sale were given to charity.

It went on to sell again through Heritage Auctions on January 20th, 2021, for $840,000.


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