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.

History

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.

Benefits

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

Chyrene Pendleton has been a business owner and newsletter editor for more than seven years. She is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience and teaches a variety of topics, including alternative health, hair care and metaphysics. Pendleton is a certified television show producer, radio talk-show host and producer, and a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree in computer science.