1919 Lincoln Wheat Pennies

Background

The 1919 Lincoln wheat pennies are significant among the various American coinage available. The affordable price, limited quantities, and historical importance of the coins make them a superior choice for newbie collectors.

The 1919 Lincoln penny has some variations to the one used at present. Uncirculated and circulated types of coins are available. The red color variety is minimal compared to the red-brown and brown coins.

1909 was the year that saw the launch of the initial Lincoln wheat pennies. The US mint continued minting the coins until 1958. In 1959, a few changes were made to the coin. Its reverse had the Lincoln Memorial to honor the 150th birth anniversary of President Lincoln.

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Before the Lincoln coin, American coins did not have a natural person in them. President Theodore Roosevelt wished to honor the memory of the extraordinary man in an innovative manner. He put forth the idea of using Lincoln’s profile on the coin. Initially, the President’s idea was rejected by the traditionalists. But Roosevelt persevered and went on to mint the coin.

Victor David Brenner, a Lithuanian-born sculptor and engraver is the creator of the unique design. Initially, the coin was designed with the designer’s initials engraved prominently. However, the coin launched in 1909 was not received well, and the US Mint decided to replace the large initials.

After a decade, the coin was changed with smaller fonts for the letters, VDB. The letters can be viewed under the shoulder of Lincoln. For evaluating the coin, three main factors are considered, namely the date, the condition of the coin, and the presence of the Mint mark.

Characteristics

While the 1919 Lincoln wheat pennies are commonly found, they are of value when they are in perfect condition. Such coins are graded as highly collectible items.

The obverse

Inscriptions:

  • Image of Lincoln
  • IN GOD WE TRUST
  • LIBERTY
  • 1919
  • VDB

The obverse side of the 1919 Lincoln penny has the image of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America. He is positioned centrally with his bust facing the right side. The year 1919 is present in the front.

Along the top edge, the words IN GOD WE TRUST are inscribed, and the word LIBERTY is seen engraved behind the bust.

Under the coin date, the letter S or D is present. S stands for San Francisco and D for Denver,
signifying the place of minting.

Near the shoulder truncation, the initials VDB are present, denoting the designer’s name.

The reverse

Inscriptions

  • E PLURIBUS UNUM
  • ONE CENT
  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

On the reverse side of the penny, the design is simple. It has the denomination of the coin, ONE CENT, written in big font. Under the denomination, the country of origin, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is inscribed. Both the denomination and country name take up two rows each.

On either side of the words, a wheat stalk is present. The name of the penny is derived from the presence of the wheat stalk. The top edge of the coin has the motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM engraved.

Mint mark

  • Philadelphia
  • Denver
  • San Francisco

In the year 1919, wheat pennies were minted in abundance. Whatever supplies are in existence now are of three main mint varieties, as explained below:

Philadelphia mint created the most significant number of coins in 1919 in the period ranging from 1909 to 1933. A total of 392,021,000 pieces were minted. The coins do not have any mintmark.

Denver mint type of coins can be identified by the letter D found below the year of minting. The D coins have a superior value compared to the Philadelphia mint coins. The San Francisco mint coin shows the S letter engraved below the coin mintage date.

Types of Lincoln penny grades

The grading of the penny is relevant for collectors as it provides details like the coin’s condition and value. The different coin grades of the Lincoln wheat penny are listed here:

The uncirculated coin is the name given to a coin that has not been in circulation. It has not been exchanged. Due to the lack of use, there are no signs of wear or tear on the coin as seen in the regular coins. All features of the coin are in clear detail and preserved meticulously over the years. A tell-tale shining and lustrous surface are present. Bow tie details are visible, and the engraving is pleasing.

An excellent grade is given to a coin that has been safeguarded for the long term. Due to the protective measures, all minute details are correctly preserved. While for a novice, the coin may appear similar to the uncirculated type, to the expert eye, the fine grade will have minute imperfections that differentiate it from the uncirculated variety.

Fine grade is assigned to the coins that have been in circulation for a short time; hence, the signs of wear and tear are not very high. Smooth outer edges, a few scratches, and chipping of the coin are the main identifying signs of this grade type. The image of Lincoln and the inscriptions are primarily well-preserved in this grade category.

The good-grade coins show plenty of signs of long-term use. In some instances, the damage would be very severe, resulting in compromised finer details. The eyebrow is seen continuous with the forehead without any distinct separation. A minimal definition of the temple region is also present. Other fine details, including eye contours, are smooth. Despite the wear and tear, these coins are in much demand as the other three categories mentioned above.

Signs of wear are identified in areas like the cheek, jaw, and eyebrow of the face of Lincoln. Lack of color or smoothing is another sign to look for. If a coin has a bust with luster and a texture similar to the forehead, it is an uncirculated coin.

Specifications

  • Composition: 95% Copper, 5% Zinc and tin
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Thickness: 1.52mm (0.05984 inches)
  • Diameter: 19mm (0.75 inches)
  • Edge: Plain

Artist Information

  • Victor D. Brenner