Readers ask: When Did Pennies Change From The Wheat?

The History of the Lincoln Wheat Penny

The Lincoln Wheat Penny is one of the most well-known coins in the United States, with over a dozen different varieties.

The Motivation

The image of a person on a US coin was considered offensive at the time, and it was seen as a form of exclusion due to the vast diversity of American heritage.

The Choice Of Artist

The design of the Lincoln penny was difficult because both Charles Barber, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, and artist Brenner were hesitant for various reasons, and because Brenner had never designed coins for mass circulation, it took several design changes before the desired result was achieved.

The History

The Lincoln Cent was first minted in 1909, and it is one of the last coin designs made by the United States Mint. The obverse has remained the same throughout history, while the reverse has changed from 1958 to 1989. In 2009, the penny celebrated its 100th anniversary.

From Copper to… Zinc

The composition of the Lincoln Penny has changed over time, with the cent’s current composition of mostly zinc owing to the 1982 copper crisis. The 1909 S, 1909 S VDB, 1915 D, 1922 plain, and 1931 S are the most important dates in the Lincoln Wheat Penny series.

Intriguing Facts 

The Lincoln Wheat Pennies are one of the most iconic and impactful coins in American history, admired and sought after by collectors and numismatists alike. At The Franklin Mint, we offer a wide range of Lincoln penny collections and products.

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What year did the back of pennies change?

On the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, on February 12, 1959, a revised reverse design was introduced as part of the Lincoln Memorial cent.

When did pennies stop being wheat?

The US government mint was ordered to stop producing Wheat ears cents in 1958, and the reverse design of the Lincoln penny was changed to a Lincoln Memorial building design in 1959.

Why did they change wheat pennies?

The cent coin was originally struck in 95% copper, but was changed to zinc-coated steel for a year in 1943 to help with the war effort, and then reverted to 95% copper until 1982, when inflation made copper too expensive, and the composition was changed to zinc with an outer copper layer.

When did they stop using copper in pennies?

The composition of the alloy remained 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc until 1982, when it was changed to 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper (copper-plated zinc), with cents of both compositions appearing that year. Ben Franklin proposed the design of the penny.

What is the rarest wheat penny?

Wheat Pennies with the Highest Value

  • The 1944 Steel Wheat Penny is valued at $500,000. The 1943 Copper Wheat Penny is valued at $100,000. The 1914 D Wheat Penny is valued at $10,000. The 1922 D Wheat Penny is valued at $6,000. The 1926 Wheat Penny is valued at $4,000.

What house is on the back of the penny?

While the portrait of Abraham Lincoln has remained the same since 1909, the reverse design has changed several times: Ears of wheat (1909 to 1958), Lincoln Memorial (1959 to 2008), and others.

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What is the rarest mint mark?

The wide AM reverse Lincoln cent dates from 1998, 1999, or 2000, with 1999 being the most scarce; the A and M in America have more space between them than usual, and this coin is worth up to $600.

Should I clean my wheat pennies?

Cleaning foreign coins, Morgan dollars, wheat pennies, and other valuables to remove corrosion is a delicate and dangerous task; we do not recommend cleaning rare coins if you plan to sell them because cleaning such valuable items devalues them.

Are wheat pennies worth anything?

Most wheat cents (wheat pennies were minted between 1909 and 1956) are worth about 4 to 5 cents, but better examples (especially those in near-perfect condition) can be worth much more. Indian Head pennies from 1859 to 1879 are generally worth more than $10.

Why is 1944 wheat penny rare?

The 1944 Lincoln penny is particularly desirable to collectors, not only because of its design, but also because of its scarcity: because no more 1944 Lincolns are being produced, their scarcity is constantly increasing, making the coins more valuable.

What year is the oldest penny?

The ever popular Lincoln wheat penny was first produced by the United States Mint in 1909. While original edition pennies from 1909 can have significant collectible value, other editions of the Lincoln penny, such as the 1933-D, can be valued at $2.30 or more by coin collectors.

What is so special about wheat pennies?

The wheat penny is a classic early twentieth-century American coin with a face value of one cent that was minted from 1909 to 1956. The coin is made mostly of copper, but steel versions were issued during World War II, and there were V.D.B. and Non V.D.B. marked pennies in 1909.

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Are pennies made of pure copper?

The outside layers of most of our coins are three-quarters copper and one-quarter nickel, with solid copper as the “filling.” Pennies are zinc coated with copper, and only nickels are one solid materialu2014that same 75% copper/25% nickel alloy.

Will copper pennies ever be worth anything?

Copper pennies are worth more than other pennies, but melting them is illegal. Some penny collectors believe that a copper penny is the key to big money; a copper penny is worth more than other pennies, which are now mostly made of zinc and are currently priced at $0.024.

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