Skip to Content

Discovering the Value of the 1911 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Discovering the Value of the 1911 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The 1911 Lincoln wheat penny may present something of a challenge for collectors. While many coins were struck at Philadelphia, far fewer were struck at Denver and San Francisco, and the resulting scarily means that prices for these coins remain somewhat high.

Production of the 1911 Wheat Penny

For the first time, all three U.S. Mints struck pennies, although the overall mintage was less than in the previous year of 1910. In general, production quality was high, and sharp, crisp strikes were fairly typical.

DatePhiladelphiaDenverSan Francisco
1911101,177,78712,672,0004,026,000
1911 Proof1,72500
Source: Red Book

How Much Are 1911 Wheat Pennies Worth?

1911 Penny Value Chart
Business StrikeGrade
Uncirculated MS64Uncirculated MS65Uncirculated MS66
1911 1C BN$54.00$130.00
1911 1C RB$81.00$195.00$390.00
1911 1C RD$273.00$520.00$1,220.00
1911-D 1C BN$280.00$422.00
1911-D 1C RB$358.00$618.00$1,020.00
1911-D 1C RD$585.00$1,020.00$1,880.00
1911-S 1C BN$358.00$1,020.00
1911-S 1C RB$728.00$1,250.00$3,500.00
1911-S 1C RD$812.00$2,500.00$15,000.00
Proof StrikeGrade
PR64PR65PR66
1911 1C Matte Finish BN$728.00$936.00$1,280.00
1911 1C Matte Finish RB$858.00$1,110.00$1,440.00
1911 1C Matte Finish RD$1,050.00$2,190.00$10,000.00
Source: CDN CPG® (Retail)

Values for 1911 Wheat Pennies

1911-1C-BN
Image credit: PCGS

The Philadelphia Mint produced far and away the most pennies in 1911. Sharp strikes were the norm, and today, buyers seeking the best value for money should wait until ideal specimens become available. With a little patience, and careful examination at a coin dealer or coin show, the perfect circulated coin will eventually turn up.

The 1910 wheat penny is most common in the lowest circulated grades, with Good examples still available in the marketplace for prices of around $0.50. Fine examples will cost around $1.50. Prices for brown circulated Lincoln pennies begin to rise rapidly thereafter, with Extremely Fine 1910 wheat pennies selling for over $8.00, and About-Uncirculated pennies costing in excess of $13.

Uncirculated grades of 1911 pennies are available more readily in brown or red-brown tones than in the original bright red luster. Brown uncirculated 1911 pennies, graded MS-63, should cost around $30. Slightly nicer uncirculated pennies, graded MS-65, should cost around $130. The same coins, with a red-brown luster, will cost just over $40, for a penny graded MS-63, and just under $200, for a coin graded MS-65.

Red, gem quality, uncirculated 1911 wheat pennies are rare and command good prices at auction. In August 2023, a Lincoln wheat penny, graded MS-67 RD sold for $9600 at Heritage Auctions. The catalog noted that this particular coin had a very sharp strike, with no nicks or weaknesses about the shoulder on Lincoln’s portrait, which are often met with in uncirculated coins.

Values for 1911-D Wheat Pennies

1911-D-1C-RB
Image credit: PCGS

In 1910, the Denver Mint did not strike any Lincoln pennies, nor for that matter, had any been struck in 1909. Indian head pennies had also never been produced at the Denver Mint. Production of the Lincoln penny began at the Denver Mint in 1911. From this year forward, all three mints would usually produce pennies each year, down to the closure of the San Francisco mint for regular coin production.

Because the production number was much lower, 1911 wheat pennies from Denver are more expensive than those from Philadelphia, at all grades both circulated and uncirculated. The 1911-D wheat pennies were often weakly struck in the shoulder of Lincoln’s portrait.

Circulated 1911-D wheat pennies graded Good or Fine should cost between $6 and $11.50. Extremely fine examples may cost over $60. About-uncirculated 1911-D wheat pennies may cost as much as $80.

Uncirculated 1911-D pennies are somewhat scarce in all tones and in all grades, with red pennies possessing their original appearance and not dipped or treated being quite rare. Brown uncirculated 1911-D pennies graded MS-63 should cost around $140. For those pennies graded MS-65 the price rises to $420 or more. At the MS-63 level, red-brown 1911 wheat pennies are only slightly more expensive than brown ones, costing just under $160. MS-65 red-brown pennies are considerably more expensive than brown ones, costing over $600.

Red uncirculated 1911-D wheat pennies are rare, and very expensive. In August 2022, a 1911-D wheat penny, graded MS-67 RD sold at Heritage Auctions for $66,000.The auction catalog noted that while 1911-D wheat pennies graded MS-65 and MS-66 RD were more readily available, only five specimens were known of 1911-D pennies with the grade MS-67. The catalog noted that this particular coin had a brilliant red appearance, and no carbon spotting whatsoever. In February 2023, another 1911-D penny graded MS-67 sold for $16,800.

In December 2022, a 1911-D wheat penny, graded MS-66+ sold for $4,080. A similar specimen sold in May 2022, for $3,960.

Values for 1911-S Wheat Pennies

1911-S-1C-RD
Image credit: PCGS

The production level for 1911-S wheat pennies is sufficiently low to make them quite scarce. The year is considered a key date in the Lincoln wheat penny series, much sought after by collectors. Circulated examples can still be found at many coin shows and coin dealers, and the higher grades will sometimes appear in coin auctions. Unlike other dates of Lincoln wheat penny, which can still very occasionally be found in change or in coin rolls today, most 1911 pennies were probably picked out of circulation by the 1950’s.

In the circulated grades, even a 1911-S wheat penny graded as “Good” will cost nearly $30. A specimen graded as “Fine” will cost almost $45. Extremely fine 1911-S pennies should cost around $75, while those which are “About-Uncirculated:” should cost a bit over $125.

Finding good uncirculated 1911-S pennies is a challenging task. Many are oxidized to brown or red-brown tone, while those that retain their red color have often been dipped, or otherwise cleaned, and often have spots or other flaws into the bargain. Purchasing a truly outstanding 1911-S Mint-State penny requires a good deal of patience, and a fair amount of cash. As with the 1911-D pennies, strikes and sharpness of detail can be weak in 1911-S wheat pennies.

Brown 1911-S uncirculated coins graded MS-63 should cost around $325. Pennies graded MS-65 are much less common, and may cost over $1000. Red-brown 1911-S pennies are more expensive still, and a 1911-S wheat penny, graded MS-63 RB, will cost over $500. A penny graded MS-65 RB will cost about $1250.

In June 2021, a 1911-S wheat penny, graded MS-66 RD, sold for $19,200 at Heritage Auctions. In August 2022, a similar coin, also graded MS-66 RD, sold for $13,200. Even red-brown specimens can command significant sums. In July 2022, a 1911-S penny, graded MS-66 RB sold for $3480. This was much less than the price for a red specimen, but still expensive for most collectors.

Values for 1911 Proof Wheat Pennies

1911-1C-RD-Proof
Image credit: PCGS

In 1911, the Philadelphia Mint struck just over 1700 proof wheat pennies, with a matte finish. The proof pennies of that year were of two different varieties, not formally named, but described by Bowers as having more or less of a satin finish. After  more than a hundred years, few, if any, of these coins remain fully brilliant, but a few can be found graded as “red.” Most retain some brown tone, at a minimum.

At the highest grades, 1911 proof Lincoln pennies command a high price. In August 2021, a 1911 proof penny, graded PR-66+ BN, sold for $5760 at auction. A red-brown specimen, graded PR-67, sold for $4920 in July 2023. Also in July 2023, a 1911 wheat penny, graded PR-67 RD sold for $6600. The catalog note by Heritage Auctions pointed out that this was a very rare coin for the grade level, with only four other coins known at that grade level, of which three were brown toned, and one red brown.

How Much Are 1911 Wheat Penny Varieties Worth?

.For the year 1911, there were no fewer than SIX repunched mint mark varieties, four in Denver and two in San Francisco. Somehow, in 1911 the Mint also managed to produce at least some dies with the mint mark in the correct position and struck properly, so the die varieties remain valuable.

Value of 1911-D/D Wheat Penny Type 1

1911-D-wheat-penny-RPM-type 1
Image credit: Cherrypickers’ Guide

The first 1911-D wheat penny repunched die variety is known by its catalog number as FS-1911-D-501. The mint mark is below, or “south” and left or “southwest” of the main mint mark. Because the normal 1911-D penny has a high value, collectors may not always find the die variety trading at an abnormally high premium. In November 2023, a wheat penny of this type, FS-501, graded XF-45, sold for $149 at Heritage Auction.

Value of 1911-D/D Wheat Penny Type 2

1911-D-wheat-penny-RPM-type-2
Image credit: Cherrypickers’ Guide

The second 1911-D wheat penny die variety is known as FS-1911-D-502. The secondary mint mark of this variety is also to the lower left, or “southwest” of the main mint mark. Unlike FS-1911-D-501, the vertical bar of the “D” is also visible, if faintly. This variety has no known uncirculated specimens. High grade circulated specimens, rated Extremely Fine or About-Uncirculated can find willing buyers in an eager market. In November 2023, a Lincoln penny of this type, FS-502, graded MS-63 BN, sold for $586 at auction.

Value of 1911-D/D Wheat Penny Type 3

1911-D-wheat-penny-RPM-type-3
Image credit: Cherrypickers’ Guide

The third 1911-D wheat penny die variety is known as FS-1911-D-503.The second mint mark is rotated off of the main mint mark, counter-clockwise, with the result that the serif of the second “D” is outside and below, or south, of the top serif of the main mint mark.  Part of the vertical bar of the second “D” is inside the center of the main mint mark. This is at best an extremely rare variety, with only one known uncirculated specimen. Even badly worn specimens can command a good price. In November 2023, a 1911-D wheat penny of this variety graded VF-30, sold at Heritage Auctions for $134. In April 2023, a worn specimen, graded VF-20, sold for $240.

Value of 1911-D/D Wheat Penny Type 4

1911-D-wheat-penny-RPM-type-4
Image credit: Cherrypickers’ Guide

The fourth 1911-D wheat penny variety is known as FS-1911-D-504. This variety is actually a triple-punched mint mark. The second mint mark is below, or “south” of the main mint mark, while the third mint mark is below and to the right, or “south east” of the main mint mark. Very few examples are known. In November 2014, a 1911-D wheat penny of this type, graded XF-40, sold at auction for $129.25. In May 2023, another penny of this variety, graded MS-63 BN, sold for $630. A second uncirculated specimen, graded MS-63 RB, sold for $480 in November 2023.

Value of 1911-S/S Wheat Penny Types

Finally, there exists a 1911-S repunched mint mark variety, known as FS-1911-S-501. In this case, the second mint mark is left, or west, and a bit below the main mint mark. This is highly sought after by collectors.

In April 2019, a 1911-S/S Lincoln penny of this type, graded MS-65 RB sold for $1,320 at Heritage Auctions. In September 2018, a similar coin, also graded MS-65 RB, sold at auction for $960. Slightly lower grades of uncirculated wheat pennies showing this die variety command slightly lower prices, which still may not be affordable to many collectors. In July 2017, a 1911-S/S Lincoln penny, graded MS-64 RB sold for $616.88. In November 2023, a similar coin, also graded MS-64 RB, sold for $780.

FS-1911-S-502 is highly similar, but the secondary mint mark is placed a bit higher. Few, if any, of this second variety seem to have reached auction recently, so prices remain speculative.

Technical Specifications of the 1911 Wheat Penny

The Lincoln penny in 1911 was a bronze coin, rather than a pure copper one, made of 95% copper, and 5% tin and zinc. It had a diameter of 19 millimeters and a weight of 3.11 grams. The year was the third in which the Lincoln wheat penny was struck.

Summary

Collectors of all levels of experience will find something to challenge their ability with the 1911 Lincoln wheat penny. Beginning collectors on a budget may find a nice 1911-S wheat penny to be elusive. Error or variety collectors may find assembling a collection of all known die varieties among both 1911-D and 1911-S pennies to be an expensive proposition. Still, with patience and perseverance, collectors should be able to find some coins that will fit their needs, even though the perfect coin may remain hard to come by for a long while.