What Does a Wheat Penny Look Like A Comprehensive Guide to Identifying and Valuing this Collectible Coin

What Does a Wheat Penny Look Like? An Exhaustive Handbook

If you’re an enthusiast of currency or simply one who discovered an uncommon discovery, you might have encountered a wheat penny. These copper cents, coined between 1909 and 1958, feature twin wheat stocks on the rear side in place of the Lincoln Memorial. So, what does a wheat penny look like?

The Heritage of Wheat Pennies

The wheat penny, famously known as the Lincoln wheat cent, was firstly published in 1909 to memorialize the 100th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. It was created by Victor David Brenner, a Lithuanian sculptor, who migrated to the United States in 1890.

The initial blueprint showcased a bust of Lincoln on the forepart and two wheat stalks on the hind part of the coin. This blueprint persevered until 1959 when the Lincoln Memorial substituted the wheat stalks.

During the span of 50 years, there were numerous noteworthy enhancements to the design, notably the addition of the craftsman’s initials (V.D.B.) in 1909 and their eventual removal in the same year due to disapprovals.

In 1943, the U.S. Mint constructed steel pennies contrary to copper-plated zinc to preserve copper for the war effort. In some inexperienced cases that year, copper blanks were blended with the steel ones, creating a trifling number of copper wheat pennies that are coveted by collectors.

Blueprint Features of Wheat Pennies

To distinguish a wheat penny, you must be aware of the blueprint’s attributes. Here are the crucial blueprint attributes to search for:


  • Bust of Abraham Lincoln facing towards the right
  • Inscription: “LIBERTY” and the year of minting
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  • Two wheat stalks
  • Inscription: “ONE CENT” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”
  • Mintmark on the right of the stalks (if present)

Mintmarks are minute letters or emblems that indicate where the coin was coined. The most widespread mintmarks for wheat pennies are “D” for Denver and “S” for San Francisco.

Value of Wheat Pennies

The value of a wheat penny hinges on several factors, including its age, rarity, and state. Broadly speaking, the older and rarer the penny, and the better its condition, the more valuable it is.

For instance, a 1943 copper wheat penny can be worth up to $100,000; conversely, a more prevailing 1943 steel penny is worth approximately $10. Nevertheless, most wheat pennies are worth between 10 cents and a few dollars.

When assessing the state of a wheat penny, collectors exploit a system called the Sheldon Scale. This scale assigns a digit from 1 (pardonably visible) to 70 (flawless state) to coins grounded on their look and rarity. A high-grade wheat penny can be worth radically more than a low-grade one.

Identifying Wheat Pennies

Identifying a wheat penny can be intricate, primarily if you’re unacquainted with its blueprint attributes. Here are some hints to assist you in identifying a wheat penny:

  • Inspect the date: If the penny was coined between 1909 and 1958, it’s a wheat penny.
  • Look for the wheat stalks: The twin wheat stalks on the hindpart are the most salient feature of a wheat penny.
  • Check the mintmark: If there’s a diminutive letter or symbol on the right of the stalks, it’s a wheat penny.


1. Were all pennies fabricated of copper before 1982?

No, pennies were forged from a copper and zinc alloy until 1982 when they transformed to mainly zinc with a copper finishing.

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2. Can I discern a wheat penny in day-to-day change?

It’s a rarity, but it’s plausible. Most wheat pennies are currently in the possession of collectors.

3. Why were wheat pennies terminated?

The blueprint was ousted in 1959 with the Lincoln Memorial to memorialize the 150th birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

4. How can I distinguish if a wheat penny is valuable?

Consult a coin merchant or utilize a coin appraisal guide to determine the coin’s value grounded on its age, rarity, and state.

5. How do I stockpile my wheat pennies?

Wheat pennies should be conserved in a parched, chilly location, such as a coin folder or album, to preclude damage from dampness and humidity.


In conclusion, a wheat penny is an exclusive and collectible coin that was coined between 1909 and 1958. It displays a bust of Abraham Lincoln on one side and twin wheat stalks on the other. Although most wheat pennies are not worth a considerable sum, comprehending how to identify them and their blueprint characteristics is imperative for collectors and aficionados alike. We hope this exhaustive handbook has retorted the inquiry, “what does a wheat penny look like?” and given you invaluable data about this archetypal coin.

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