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1927 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value and its Collectible Varieties

1927 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value and its Collectible Varieties

The year 1927 was marked by a number of firsts. Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic in May of that year. Less spectacularly, the first transatlantic telephone call connected New York with London. In films, The Jazz Singer was the first full-length sound movie, and the silent movie era ended almost at once. Florence Ziegfeld produced the musical Show Boat, by Kern and Hammerstein, and effectively invented modern musical theater. Less happily, terrible floods along the Mississippi River caused untold misery and damage. American coinage remained essentially unchanged and as part of that the Lincoln one cent piece, the “wheat penny,” continued to appear in the pockets of millions of Americans.

Production of the 1927 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The year 1927 was prosperous, economically, and few of the clouds that would culminate in the Crash or the Great Depression were yet on the horizon. The Mint struck almost 186 million pennies. As usual, the Philadelphia Mint struck by far the largest number of pennies, followed by the Denver and San Francisco Mints.

MintCoins Struck
Source: Red Book

Values for the 1927 Lincoln Wheat Penny

1927 Penny Value Chart
Good G4Uncirculated MS63Uncirculated MS65Uncirculated MS67
1927 1C BN$0.25$12.15$40.50
1927 1C RB$14.85$81.00
1927 1C RD$33.75$101.00$1,620.00
1927-D 1C BN$0.75$88.00$325.00
1927-D 1C RB$156.00$422.00
1927-D 1C RD$182.00$2,000.00
1927-S 1C BN$0.75$214.00$1,690.00
1927-S 1C RB$364.00$3,000.00
1927-S 1C RD$585.00$11,900.00
Source: CDN CPG® (Retail)

At the lower grades of good, fine and extremely fine, specimens of the Lincoln wheat penny from all three mints, Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco, are available at quite reasonable prices, under twenty dollars. Almost-Uncirculated specimens of the 1927 one cent piece are harder to come by, out of the Denver and San Francisco Mints, at least, and coins in that grade from those mints will set a collector back around fifty dollars.

While prices of uncirculated, or “mint-state” coins from Philadelphia remain quite reasonable, until the very highest grades are reached, coins from Denver and San Francisco are somewhat rare in the better uncirculated grades, and accordingly expensive.

The value of any collectible depends in large measure upon supply and demand. For coins, the mintage number in the year of issue tells how many were made, and is the upper limit of supply. Coins may be lost or melted over time, and thus become scarcer over time. Demand is determined by collector interest. Collectors tend to prefer the unusual. The first year of a coin’s mintage or the last year may receive more interest from collectors than intermediate years. Thus, one of the middle years in a series of coins could be scarcer than the first year of issue, and still less in demand and worth less. Finally, demand at auction depends upon the bidders attending the auction. If a collector needs a coin to complete his collection, and shows up, then demand, for that auction, will go up. If he misses the auction, the value may decline.

Image credit: PCGS

The condition of a coin also determines its value. Dealers have created a standardized system to describe and evaluate coin quality and condition. The grading system most commonly in use depends upon both a description and a numerical value. The description tells the condition of the coin, running from “Poor,” at the bottom, which is almost unidentifiable, to “Uncirculated” or “Mint-State” at the top, describing a coin which may have some marks, but which was never used in commerce. The numerical evaluation ranges from “1” to “70,” with higher numbers indicating better condition, and associated with better descriptive terms. In general, coins in better condition are more valuable than coins from the same year in worse condition.

Bronze and copper coins, like the Lincoln wheat penny, have an additional grading term, used to describe the tone, or color of the coin. Because bronze begins to oxidize and tarnish when exposed to air, whether or not the coin is circulating in commerce, coins like the Lincoln one cent piece will be rated as either being “red” (RD), “red-brown,” (RB) or “brown,” (BN). A “red” coin is one which retains its copper or bronze shine, as it appeared from the Mint. A “brown” coin is one which has been exposed to elements, and undergone some tarnish and oxidation. It no longer shines, however, it may be of a high grade, or even uncirculated condition. Most circulated coins are also described as brown. Between these two extremes, “red-brown,” coins have begun to tarnish or oxidize, but haven’t completed the process.

As a general rule, red coins are more valuable than red-brown or brown coins of the same grade. As a practical matter, one will find no circulated red coins, however, only uncirculated specimens.

Lincoln wheat cents of the very highest grades command the highest prices at sales or auctions. The prime example of this is a recently sold 1927 Lincoln one cent coin, graded MS-68, RD. On November 6, 2023, this coin sold at Heritage Auctions for $84,000.00. Coins that grade at this level are very nearly pristine, with no serious nicks or marks, and no discoloration of any kind at all. They look literally as new as the day they were minted, and after nearly a century, such examples are extremely rare.

Uncirculated coins with lower numerical ratings sell for lower prices. In June 2019, a 1927-D Lincoln penny MS-65 RB sold for $372.00 at Heritage Auctions.  The same auction that saw the MS-68 penny go for $84,000 saw another 1927-D wheat cent, graded MS-65 RD, sell for $1800.00, while a 1927-S penny, graded at MS-63 RB fetched $312 the next day. Minor variations of grading can add significantly to the value of a coin. The November 2023 auction at Heritage Auctions also offered a 1927-S MS-65 RB Lincoln wheat penny, which realized $6,300.

An auction conducted by Heritage Auctions in May 2023 saw similar values being reached. A 1927-S Lincoln one cent coin. graded MS-65 RD, sold for $9,600.00. A 1927-D Lincoln wheat penny, graded MS-64 RD fetched $630.

Brown and red-brown coins consistently fetch lower prices than red ones, which are shinier and so more attractive to collectors. For example, Stacks Bowers Auctions sold a 1927-S Lincoln penny, graded MS-64 BN, for $264, in August 2023. A 1927-S one-cent piece graded MS-63 RB sold at Heritage Auctions in July 2023 for $288. In comparison, a 1927-S Lincoln penny graded MS-63 RD sold in November 2023 at Heritage Auctions for $480. The red tone presumably made all the difference between these highly similar coins.

Were any 1927 Proof Lincoln Wheat Pennies Produced?

The U.S. Mint ended the striking of proof coins in 1916, stating that collectors had little interest in them. Proof coin production would resume in 1936, and then stop during the war. There are no proof Lincoln wheat pennies from the year 1927.

Error Values for the 1927 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The year 1927 saw a number of errors, including a doubled die and a repunched mint mark. Many collectors like to include errors in their collections, and this creates a separate and special market for value.

The 1927 doubled die obverse

Doubled die errors are mistakes in the production of the dies used to make coins. A die is a piece of steel with the design of the coin punched into it. The punch used to create a die is called a hub. Before 1997, the U.S. Mint created a die by striking the die blank repeatedly with the hub. If the hub was not perfectly aligned, two images would be stamped onto the die. This double image would then affect every coin struck with that die if it was used in production.

Image credit: Heritage Auctions

In 1927, the Philadelphia Mint used exactly such a doubled die and produced coins, which then entered into circulation. In May 2019, a 1927 AU-50 doubled die obverse wheat penny sold for $180 at Heritage Auctions.

In September 2023, a higher graded 1927 MS-64 red-brown doubled die obverse penny, sold at Heritage Auctions for $601.20.

In November 2023, a red-brown 1927 MS-64 doubled die obverse Lincoln wheat cent sold for 810.00 at Heritage Auctions.

The 1927-D/D repunched mint mark

Just as the U.S. Mint struck every die repeatedly in the manufacturing process, to engrave the image of the coin, it added the mint mark in a separate, but similar, process. The mint marks for Denver, “D” and San Francisco, “S” were added by striking some of the dies repeatedly with the appropriate letter punch. Those with no mint mark were used for Philadelphia.

Ideally, the punch would strike the die in exactly the same spot each time. If the punch moved in the process, a separate image would form. This image could be quite faint, or very distinct. These errors are referred to as “repunched mint marks,” and, like doubled die errors, they are sought by collectors.

In 1927, the Denver Mint created a repunched mint mark die, with two very distinct images overlapping one another. Both mint marks show equal firmness and depth in their respective strikes, and the whole is quite visible. These coins are valuable and command good prices at auction.

In April 2023, a brown 1927 D/D repunched mint mark, graded MS-63, realized $840 in a sale at Heritage Auction.

In November 2023, a red 1927 D/D repunched mint mark, graded MS-64, fetched $384 at auction. At the same auction, a red-brown 1927 D/D repunched mint mark, also graded MS-64, fetched $1,800, at Heritage Auction.

Off-center strikes of 1927 Lincoln wheat pennies

An off-center strike happens when a planchet, or coin blank, doesn’t properly enter the dies to be struck. Ordinarily, the center of the planchet should line up with the center of the dies. If it doesn’t, only a fraction of the image will be stamped onto the coin, and part of the image will be missing. The whole coin will become elongated, and more oval in shape. Because these coins are often removed during the quality control process, by definition those that remain have entered circulation, and can be of any grade. Off-center strikes are a popular collecting field, and collectors eagerly seek them. Coins showing the date and mint mark are preferred, and have a higher value.

In September 2019, a 5% off-center strike, showing the 1927-D date and mint mark quite clearly, graded XF-45, sold for $252.00 at Heritage Auctions.

Technical Specifications of the 1927 Lincoln Penny

The 1927 Lincoln penny is not pure copper, but bronze, made of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. It weighs 3.11 grams, and has a 19 mm diameter.

The Lincoln wheat penny design was introduced in 1909, the centennial of the birth of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, so by 1927, the design of the one cent piece was already 18 years old. The designer of the coin, Victor D. Brenner, was an artist and sculptor. Brenner had come to the attention of the sitting President, Theodore Roosevelt, after he sculpted a bust of Roosevelt. Roosevelt, who was interested in art, wished to improve the appearance of American coinage by introducing better designs. Brenner prepared a profile portrait of Lincoln for the obverse, and, for the reverse, used a pair of stylized wheat stalks, surrounding the value of “one cent.” The design quickly proved popular, and has gone on to be the most enduring U.S. coin design.


While Lindbergh may have flown high in 1927, only some of the values of the 1927 Lincoln wheat penny reach anything like stratospheric heights. Coins in lower grades, and coins from Philadelphia even in some of the higher grades, retain very modest values and are accessible to collectors. Uncirculated coins at the very highest grades are scarce, and able to command very high values indeed. Still, the 1927 penny has many specimens which a collector of even modest means can purchase and enjoy as part of a bigger collection of Lincoln wheat one cent pieces.