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Discover the Value of the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Discover the Value of the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The year 1925 was notable for a number of events. Calvin Coolidge began his full term as President on March 4th of that year This was the first Presidential inauguration broadcast by radio. Earlier in the year, the Anchorage to Nome serum run, commemorated now in the annual Iditarod sled race, carried medicine by dog sled in order to combat a diptheria epidemic. On May 5th, John Scopes, a biology teacher in Tennessee, was arrested for teaching about evolution, which led to a nationally-sensational trial, in which the leading lawyers of the era, Clarence Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan faced off over the issue of whether the state legislature could regulate what scientific theories could be taught in elementary and high school. Although Bryan “won” the case, he lost a great deal of his public support, and died almost immediately after the close of the trial.

On Broadway, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote a number of popular songs for the Garrick Gayeties review, which was revived in 1926 and 1930. In film, Charlie Chaplin wowed audiences in “The Gold Rush,” while a version of “Ben Hur” became the most expensive silent film ever produced.

The economy continued steadily and few signs of the Great Depression were yet on the horizon.

Production of the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The year 1925 saw more pennies minted in the US than any year since 1920, and was typical of mintage numbers for the rest of the decade. As usual, Philadelphia struck more coins, with no mint mark, than either Denver, with a D mint mark, or San Francisco, with an S mint mark. The total numbers of Lincoln wheat pennies for 1925 were:

MintCoins Struck
Source: Red Book

Values for the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Penny

1925 Penny Value Chart
Good G4Uncirculated MS63Uncirculated MS64Uncirculated MS65
1925 1C BN$0.25$16.20$29.70$81.00
1925 1C RB$18.90$33.75$88.00
1925 1C RD$47.25$68.00$130.00
1925-D 1C BN$0.75$130.00$182.00$338.00
1925-D 1C RB$169.00$260.00$845.00
1925-D 1C RD$234.00$488.00$4,000.00
1925-S 1C BN$0.75$214.00$338.00$910.00
1925-S 1C RB$390.00$960.00$3,120.00
1925-S 1C RD$1,020.00$6,750.00$38,400.00
Source: CDN CPG® (Retail)

Factors that affect the value of the Lincoln Wheat Penny

Supply and demand drive the price of anything, and that includes coins sought by coin collectors. With a mintage numbering nearly two hundred million, there are many specimens of the 1925 Lincoln wheat penny available at a variety of price levels for collectors. Although the number may seem large, compared to subsequent mintages, the number of coins struck is lower than what is commonly seen in later years.

Another key component in determining the value of a Lincoln wheat penny is the state of preservation, or quality, which is referred to as the “grade” of the coin. Collectors seeking to buy, or people attempting to sell a coin will quickly run into the term and will need to know what is meant, since the value of any coin can swing wildly depending on the grade assigned by a buyer.

The grade of a coin is described both by a term, and a number. The terms include such phrases as “good,” “fine,” “extremely-fine,” and “about-uncirculated,” for coins which have been used in commerce. Coins which have never been used in commerce are described as “uncirculated,” or “mint state.”

Numbers range from 1 to 70, with higher numbers indicating a higher grade. Specific ranges of numbers are assigned to specific terms, thus mint-state coins are described with numbers between 60 and 70.

Bronze and copper coins, like the Lincoln penny, also receive a description of their color, or tone. A bronze coin can be either “red,” abbreviated “rd;” “brown” abbreviated “bn;” or “red-brown,” abbreviated “rb.” A red coin is one which retains a nice, new copper-colored shine, as though it was fresh from the mint. In contrast, a brown coin is one which has been in contact with the air, even if it has not entered into circulation. It has lost its shine, although it may have no wear to speak of. As a practical matter, bronze coins of an age similar to that of the 1925 wheat penny may have developed a brown tone, and lost their red shine. Red-brown coins are an intermediate state between the two points, where some of the red shine has been lost, and the coin begins to turn brown.

Values for circulated grades of the 1925 Lincoln wheat penny

Image credit: PCGS

Specimens of the 1925 Lincoln penny with no mint mark, minted in Philadelphia, are much more common than those minted in Denver or San Francisco, and values reflect that disparity. One can find highly worn coins graded “good” from all three mints for under a dollar. Prices of Lincoln wheat pennies minted in Philadelphia remain reasonable for even the lowest grades of mint state or uncirculated examples, some of which can be found for under ten dollars. Prices rise rapidly for 1925-D or 1925-S wheat pennies, with “about-uncirculated, AU-55 specimens selling for over forty dollars.

While these prices are plausible for serious collectors looking for the best examples they can find for collections, beginning collectors may need to “settle” for lower graded coins to fill up gaps in their collection or those troublesome holes in the blue “penny folders.”

Values for uncirculated grades of the 1925 Lincoln wheat penny

Image credit: PCGS

Uncirculated Lincoln wheat penny values depend heavily upon the grade, and upon the tone, with red coins commanding higher prices than brown or red-brown examples of the same grade. For the year 1925, Lincoln pennies minted in Denver or San Francisco command higher prices than those struck in Philadelphia, which minted about six times more than either of the other mints.

As an example of a nice, uncirculated Lincoln wheat penny which might be accessible to collectors, Heritage Auctions sold a 1925 MS-64 RB specimen at auction on July 18, 2023, for $55. A similar quality coin from Denver, graded at MS-63 RB sold for $134 at auction in November 2023. A 1925-S MS-63 BN sold for $180 at Heritage Auctions on November 7, 2023. A red-brown example of the same grade from San Francisco might sell for $390.

These prices, though high, are still within the reach of most collectors. (How many lunches or exotic coffees can one buy in a restaurant for $180, for example?)

The next grade up, MS-64, sees a significant jump in price, which leaves them inaccessible for many collectors. In November 2023, a 1925-D RB penny, graded MS-64, sold for $870. Another 1925-D RB penny, also graded MS-64, sold for $264 in the same year.

Prices rise quickly for better grades of 1925 Lincoln wheat pennies, and only the wealthiest collectors can afford them.

For example, a 1925-S wheat penny, rated MS-65 RB, sold for $4,920 at auction. The coin lacked the brilliant red surface that commands the highest prices, however, the year and mint mark are still sufficiently rare to fetch a good price.

In September, 2009, Heritage Auction sold a 1925-D Lincoln penny graded MS-66 RD at auction. The catalog went to great pains to note that only two such examples are known to exist. The coin sold for $74,750.

In May 2023, Heritage Auctions sold a 1925-S wheat penny graded MS-65 RD. This is the highest graded 1925-S penny known. No better graded coins are thought to exist, and only thirteen are known in this grade. Again the coin sold for the high price of $36,000. In August 2022, a similar coin fetched $40,800.

Were any 1925 Proof Lincoln Wheat Pennies Produced?

The U.S. Mint produced Lincoln penny proofs from the introduction of the coin in 1909 until 1916. Proof coins were sold as individual specimens, not as sets as they are today. In addition, while the proof coins sold were struck to a higher standard of detail, they weren’t given the brilliant, mirror-like finish they have today. Interest was limited among collectors and the general public, and in 1916, the Mint discontinued sales, citing that lack of interest. Proof coin minting would not be resumed until 1936.

Error Values for the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Values for the 1925-S doubled die obverse

One highly sought after coin is the 1925-S doubled-die error. A die is the stamp used to make coins. Sets of dies are created by the U.S. Mint for each type of coin, and usually, several sets are created for use at each mint location. If the die is mis-stamped during the manufacturing process, the result can be a duplicated pair of images, slightly offset from one another.

Unlike many types of errors, which are individual mistakes arising at the coin press, a doubled die will create the doubled image on each coin stamped with that die. The coins circulating as a result can be of any quality level or grade, though they are often detected and removed quickly from circulation.

In 1925, the San Francisco Mint used a doubled die to produce coins. These are sought after by collectors, and can fetch significant sums.

On November 6, 2023, Heritage Auctions sold a 1925-S doubled-die Lincoln penny, graded AU-58, for $186.00.

Values for the 1925-S/S Repunched Mint Mark

In addition to having a doubled die problem, the San Francisco Mint had to contend with a repunched mint mark in 1925. A repunched mint mark arises through the same sort of manufacturing defect as a doubled die. Until comparatively recently, the U.S. Mint manufactured its dies, then added the date and the mint mark using separate punches in separate steps. The engraver would take a punch with the date, or mint mark, and strike the die to make an impression. Several strikes were needed to make a distinct image. Ideally, the engraver would strike the same place with his punch each time, but if the punch was off, then two images would appear. These could be quite distinct, or nearly aligned. In the case of a mint mark, the mint designation is repeated in describing the coin. Thus, a doubled, or repunched mint mark for San Francisco, S, is written as S/S.

On November 6, 2023, Heritage Auctions sold a 1925 S/S repunched mint mark Lincoln penny, graded MS-63 RB, for $1,320 at auction.

Off-center strikes of 1925 Lincoln wheat pennies

Although the U.S. Mint exerts careful quality control, with literally millions and hundreds of millions of pennies being coined, even a tiny percentage of errors can still translate into a sizable number of defective coins, some of which reach circulation. Collectors avidly seek these mis-struck coins, and they can have a higher value than ordinary coins of the same year, mint and grade.

One popular form of error is the “off-center strike,” in which a coin blank, or planchet, did not enter the coin press correctly, so that it was stamped off the true center. Such coins are no longer perfectly round, and they are, by definition, missing part of the image. Collectors prefer such coins to have the date and mint mark and examples with both command a higher value.

One example, a 1925-S wheat penny, struck 15% off-center, with part of the date damaged, but still visible, sold at Heritage Auctions in October 2022, for $51.00. The coin, graded VG-8, would have sold for less than $2 had it been intact.

Another specimen, a 1925-D wheat penny, which was struck barely off center, and graded VF-25, sold for $63.00 on auction at Heritage in June 2023. At the same auction, a 1925-S one cent piece, struck 10% off-center, and graded F-15, sold for $70.00. The same coin, if correctly struck, would have sold for a bit over $2.00.

Quality still matters, even in collecting error coins. A coin with exactly the same auction catalog description, a 1925-S Lincoln penny, struck 10% off-center, but graded as uncirculated, MS-62 BN, sold for $840 in the June 2023 sale at Heritage Auctions.

Technical Specifications of the 1925 Lincoln Penny

Although we think of the penny as a copper coin, copper is too soft a metal to be used for coinage in its pure state. Instead, the Lincoln wheat penny minted in 1925 is a bronze coin, made of 95% copper, with a 5% alloy of tin and zinc to add durability. The Lincoln penny weighed 3.11 grams, and had a diameter of 19 millimeters.

The year 1925 was the fourteenth year the Lincoln wheat penny had been in use. It was introduced in 1909, for the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and replaced the Indian Head penny. The designer of the new one cent piece, Victor D. Brenner, was an engraver and sculptor, who had created a portrait bust of then-President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was highly interested in art, and wanted to improve the appearance of American coins. Brenner was hired to design the penny. He created a portrait of Lincoln for the obverse, and a pair of wheat stalks for the reverse, encircling the value, “one cent.” The design of Lincoln was immensely popular from the start, and has gone on to become the longest running U.S. coin design, and one of the longest running designs in world history.


The year 1925 is one in which many specimens of lower grade Lincoln pennies remain available for collectors at reasonable price points. Fine examples of uncirculated coins are hard to come by, and the very finest specimens at the highest grades have reached prices that only the wealthiest collectors and museums can afford. This year could prove a challenge for collectors determined to buy value.