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1930 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value: A Coin With Interesting Collectible Varieties

1930 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value: A Coin With Interesting Collectible Varieties

In 1930, the Great Depression was beginning to take hold in the United States. Unemployment was rising, though it was still far from its peak in 1932 and 1933. If, quite reasonably, you wanted to escape the cares of everyday life for a bit, the Marx Brothers’ movie “Animal Crackers” premiered in 1930. Harry Richman introduced the song “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” in that year, and Fred Astaire made it popular. Rodgers and Hart produced the third and last version of the “Garrick Gayeties,” which had made such songs as “Manhattan” and “Mountain Greenery” popular in previous years. Ira Gershwin and Johnny Mercer would also contribute to the production.

History and Production of the 1930 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Because the Depression was well underway, commerce slowed considerably from previous years, and this led to a reduction in penny production by all three U.S. Mints, although the total number was still somewhat higher than the earlier years of the 1920’s, and much higher than the next few years of the Depression. In 1931, the Mints would produce a little over a tenth as many pennies as in 1930, and in 1932, there was so little call for coins that the San Francisco Mint temporarily ceased production altogether.

As in previous years, the Philadelphia Mint (which traditionally used no mint mark) remained the main producer of U.S. coins. The Denver Mint, serving the middle of the country produced about a quarter as many coins as the Philadelphia Mint. The San Francisco Mint, serving the west, produced fewer coins than Denver. The number of pennies produced by each branch of the U.S. Mint was as follows:

MintCoins Struck

How Much is a 1930 Lincoln Penny Worth?

1930 Penny Value Chart
Good G4Uncirculated MS63Uncirculated MS65Uncirculated MS67
1930 1C BN$0.21$5.40$22.95
1930 1C RB$6.75$27.00$260.00
1930 1C RD$24.30$54.00$429.00
1930-D 1C BN$0.25$16.20$37.80
1930-D 1C RB$22.95$61.00
1930-D 1C RD$47.25$156.00$7,500.00
1930-S 1C BN$0.25$10.80$27.00
1930-S 1C RB$12.15$68.00
1930-S 1C RD$37.80$130.00$13,200.00
Source: Collector’s Price Guide (CPG)

As with all coins, 1930 penny value depends upon the number of coins produced, and the condition of the particular coin being examined. Coins are graded by collectors and dealers on a scale that ranges from “Good” and “Fine” at the bottom up to “Uncirculated / Mint State” at the top. Numbers are also associated with the various grades, with higher numbers being more valuable. In the case of bronze coins like the Lincoln Wheat Penny, coins are also described as being either “red,” “red-brown” or “brown.” A “red” coin looks like a new piece of copper, and is very shiny. In contrast, a “brown” coin is one that has oxidized, whether by exposure to the air, handling in circulation, or both to a duller state. A “red-brown” coin is intermediate between the two, with some of the surface oxidized to a brown color, while other portions of the coin remain intact.

For older coins, like the 1930 :Lincoln wheat cent, uncirculated / mint-state coins can be found in all three colorations, of red, red/brown, and brown. The very highest graded mint-state coins are found only in red coloration.

At the lower grades 1930 Lincoln one cent coins remain accessible and readily available for collectors. “Good” and “Fine” specimens can be found from all three mints for under a dollar, and even “About-Uncirculated” AU-55 specimens from all three mints can be found for under $7.50. Since the Denver and San Francisco Mints produced far fewer coins than the Philadelphia Mint, prices for those specimens tend to be higher within any given grade.

Uncirculated coins at the lower grades, like MS-63 or MS-65 remain reasonably priced for collectors and can be found, mostly, under $100, although nice red specimens will command prices above that level. Higher graded uncirculated coins, ranked at MS-67 or better, can fetch prices over $1,000 in the marketplace. As always, quality of a specimen can drive its value, with nicer coins selling for more money.

1930-D MS-64 RD sold at Heritage Auctions in April, 2023, for $91.00. Much of the coin has faded to a brown color, but some patches of red remain on either side of the portrait of Lincoln, and in the low areas around the wheat stalks on the reverse.

San Francisco Mint Lincoln pennies from 1930 fetch prices similar to those from Denver. A 1930-S MS-65 RD sold for $90 in October, 2023.

Also in October of 2023, a mint state 1930 Lincoln penny was sold in a lot by Heritage Auctions. The coin was a 1930 MS-65 RD. It was paired with a 1934-D MS-64 RD Lincoln penny both from an Omaha bank hoard. The two coins sold for $43.

At the higher end, 1930 MS-67 red Lincoln coins can command high prices.

Image credit: Heritage Auctions

1930 MS-67+ RD sold for $2,880 at Heritage Auctions in August, 2022. The coin, originally part of the Bender family collection, retained its original red tone, with no blemishes or browning of any kind. Few, if any, bag marks or scratches can be detected in the photograph of the coin. Because the U.S. Mint tended, in the early part of the 20th century, to overuse dies, the auction catalog noted that this particular specimen was a very sharp strike. The quality of a strike can also affect an uncirculated grading level.

A similar specimen, a 1930 MS-67+ RD sold two years previously, in August 2020, at Heritage Auctions for $924.

In April 2020, a 1930 MS-67+ from the Duckor collection sold for $1,560.00 at Heritage Auctions. The catalog noted that only one higher graded MS-68 1930 Lincoln penny had been described and that this particular specimen was very nearly the equal of that. A tiny number of scratches and nicks could be observed on the reverse in the photograph, but the coin kept its original shine and color intact with no browning on any point.

Denver and San Francisco mint marked Lincoln pennies can fetch similar prices at the higher grades.

1930-S MS-66+ RD sold at Heritage Auctions for $1,200 in October 2023. Compared to the MS-67 samples described above, the photograph in the auction catalog shows somewhat less luster and perhaps the start of some brown discoloration on the obverse of the coin. Few other blemishes or marks marred the surface of the coin, though.

Were any 1930 Proof Lincoln Wheat Pennies Produced?

In 1916, the U.S. Mint discontinued production of proof coins for sale to collectors and the general public, citing lack of interest. The Mint only resumed production of proof coins in 1936. There were no proof coins struck for distribution to collectors in 1930, and so, there are no genuine 1930 proof Lincoln wheat pennies.

Are there any 1930 penny error values?

Although the U.S. Mint tries to maintain good quality control, in a production run involving hundreds of millions of specimens, even a tiny percentage of mistakes can translate into a large absolute number of defective coins. Lincoln wheat penny collectors avidly seek errors, and many coin collectors specialize in building up examples in their sets.

Repunched Mint Marks for both Denver and San Francisco Mints

Until comparatively recently, the 1990’s, the U.S. Mint punched the mint marks for each individual die as needed, instead of punching a mint mark on the master die for a given mint. Occasionally, a mint mark would be punched onto a die twice, leaving a double image. Usually the two punches of the mint mark are quite close or overlap. Occasionally, the two form distinct, separate images. This particular kind of error arises in the die itself, rather than in an individual coin being defectively struck. Any coin struck with the die will contain the unusual mint mark.

Because the repunching of the mint mark can range from dramatic to quite subtle, coins entering circulation can be of any grade or condition, as it may take some time before the defect is noticed.

In 1930, repunched mint marks appeared on the dies for both the Denver and San Francisco Mints. Depending upon condition, coins carrying repunched mintmarks can be quite valuable. Just as coins from these mints are denoted by the mint marks “D” and “S” respectively, repunched mint marks are noted as “D/D” and “S/S” in publications.

In June, 2012, a 1930D/D Lincoln penny, graded AU-50, sold for $851,88 at Stack-Bowers Auction. The auction description called the coin a “deep golden tan” with “mark-free surfaces.” In this case, the double mark was most prominent at the top of the letter “D.”

Another example of a repunched mint mark, this time from the San Francisco Mint, sold at auction on eBay in 2020. This particular coin, a brown VF-35 penny, sold for $12.97. A 1930-S penny without the repunched mint mark but otherwise of a similar grade or slightly higher like XF-40, would command, at most, $1.50 in the market.

Image credit: Heritage Auctions

At the higher grades, repunched mint mark coins can become quite valuable. A 1930-S/S RB repunched mint mark graded at MS-64, sold for 160.80 at Heritage Auctions in August, 2021. The coin in question had a certain amount of brown surrounding the portrait of Lincoln, however much of the surface of the coin retained a bright copper-red shine. 1930-S/S coins appear on the market with some frequency.

1930-S/S RD MS-65 repunched mintmark recently sold for $432 at Heritage Auctions in April, 2023. The doubling of the mint mark clearly shows with magnification, with the original being underneath the later strike, and somewhat rotated from an upright position.

The Denver Mint also had at least one die with a repunched mint mark, and coins sometimes appear in the marketplace. In late October 2023, an example of the 1930-D/D repunched mint mark came up for sale at Heritage Auctions. The coin, graded as MS-64, reached a bid of $225 as of October 20, 2023

Off-center strikes of 1930 Lincoln wheat pennies

An off-center strike occurs when the coin blank, called a planchet, doesn’t sit properly within the die during the striking process. The coin ends up, literally, off-center, and usually emerges from the mint as an oval-shaped object. Only part of either the obverse or reverse image appears on the finished coin. The Mint removes such coins before releasing them for circulation whenever possible but occasionally some slip through.

Collectors tend to favor off-center coins showing dates and mint marks, and these tend to have higher values.

In June 2023, Heritage Auctions sold an 1930-D AU-58 Lincoln wheat penny which was 15% off-center. The coin, which had been part of the Denny Polly Error collection, sold for $101. An ordinary coin of this grade, mint and date would tend to sell for just under $7.00

In January 2022, another 1930-D, AU-58 Lincoln cent which was off-center, realized $109 at Heritage Auctions.

Technical Specifications of the 1930 Lincoln Penny

By 1930, the design of the one cent piece had been in use for 21 years. The Lincoln wheat penny had been introduced in 1909, for the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. The designer of the coin, Victor D. Brenner, was a sculptor and medallion engraver, who had sculpted a bust of the sitting President, Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was very interested in artistic matters, and wished to upgrade the appearance of American coinage. Brenner accordingly designed a portrait of Lincoln for the obverse, and a stylized pair of wheat stalks for the reverse, enclosing the value of “one cent.” The design was immediately popular and has become the longest running U.S. coin design.

The 1930 Lincoln penny is a bronze coin, made of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. It has a weight of 3.11 grams, and is 19 millimeters in diameter.


The first years of the Great Depression, from 1930 to 1934 would see a great falling off of one cent production in the U.S. Mint. Production lessened only slightly in 1930, compared to what would follow. The 1930 penny value is thus more like the prices of the pennies from the late 1920’s than the early 1930’s. Nice coins remain available for collectors in the lower grades, and even some uncirculated / mint-state specimens are accessible at prices under $100.