What Are Wheat Pennies Worth?

By Chyrene Pendleton
Wheat pennies, the first U.S. coins, a person's face, it
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Navarr Barnier

Take a good look at your pennies the next time you receive change. If you see a wheat penny, keep it--it's already worth 3 cents, and depending on its condition and year, its could be worth thousands of dollars.


Wheat pennies were produced from 1909 through 1958 and are made of copper, zinc and tin. They have ears of wheat on one side with President Abraham Lincoln's face on the other. Since they aren't made anymore, wheat pennies are prized by collectors.

Mints and Ratings

The wheat penny letters are the mints where they were produced--"S" for San Francisco, "D" for Denver and no letter for Philadelphia. The wheat penny value depends on its quality and rarity ratings:

Fair Good (G) Very Good (VG) Fine (F) Very Fine (VF) Extremely Fine (EF or XF)

Most Rare

Look for wheat pennies dated 1909-S VDB. The "VDB" stands for its designer, Victor David Brenner. It's the most rare and sought after penny, worth up to $12,000.

Expert Insight

According to the American Numismatic Association (ANA), if you're interested in collecting wheat pennies (or any coins), start with the change in your pocket. Join a local club and become an ANA member.


Some wheat pennies are worth several hundred dollars each and can run up to a few thousand. For instance, the 1922-D wheat penny without the "D" can sell for $1,000 to $3,500.

About the Author

I love writing articles that help people with nutrition, alternative health, spiritual growth (not religion) as well as beauty and hair tips. Some of the articles I enjoy creating are both unconventional and very helpful. I also write movie reviews (I have numerous ones on my website), technical writing and various types of press releases, including political ones (mostly in 2004).