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Discovering the Value of the 1950 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Discovering the Value of the 1950 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The 1950 Lincoln wheat penny is an example of a coin which was minted in huge numbers, and for which many specimens still exist. The price of this particular coin in the open market is accordingly quite reasonable at all grades. Collectors seeking to purchase should be able to find many fine choices well within their budget.

There is one variety of 1950-S wheat penny which collectors should be aware of. The 1950-S repunched mint mark is sufficiently unusual and rare to attract attention from specialized collectors interested in coin errors.

Production of the 1950 Lincoln Wheat Penny

TypePhiladelphiaDenverSan Francisco
1950 Proof51,38600
Source: Red Book

With almost three quarters of a billion coins minted, many 1950 Lincoln wheat pennies remain available for collectors at all grades. Whether beginning collectors are seeking to fill up a blue penny folder, or advanced collectors are searching for prized uncirculated specimens with the original shiny red coloration, some 1950 Lincoln penny will be available for everyone’s taste. A few variations exist, however, which may prove a challenge for specialists.

Values for the 1950 Lincoln Wheat Penny

1950 Penny Value Chart
Business StrikeGrade
Uncirculated MS63Uncirculated MS65Uncirculated MS67
1950 1C BN$0.40$3.38$47.25
1950 1C RB$0.55$6.75$61.00
1950 1C RD$2.65$20.25$1,020.00
1950-D 1C BN$0.40$2.15$47.25
1950-D 1C RB$0.55$5.40$61.00
1950-D 1C RD$2.65$13.50$715.00
1950-S 1C BN$0.80$3.38$49.95
1950-S 1C RB$0.90$4.05$63.00
1950-S 1C RD$1.35$10.80$338.00
Proof StrikeGrade
1950 1C RD$74.00$101.00$325.00
1950 1C CAM$143.00$358.00$1,020.00
1950 1C DCAM$650.00$1,230.00$5,250.00
Source: CDN CPG® (Retail)
*Note: “BN” are brown coins, which have oxidized considerably and lost most or all of their shine. “RB” are red-brown coins which have begun to oxidize. “RD” are coins which retain most or almost all of their original luster.

With the exception of the repunched 1950-S mint mark, collectors can always find the specimens they want.

The price of Lincoln wheat pennies is usually discussed in terms of a coin’s “grade,” which can be thought of as its quality. There are many fine resources on grading pennies, and while it takes practice to become truly proficient in the subject, acquiring at least a basic knowledge of how coins are graded will help you evaluate Lincoln wheat pennies for either purchase or sale.

Values for Circulated Grades of the 1950 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Image credit: PCGS

Wheat pennies for the year 1950 are not especially scarce or valuable in the circulated grades. Coins for all three mints are routinely available, even in the highest circulated grades, for under fifty cents. Collectors aspiring to build up a set of specimens, or fill up that penny book, should have no problem finding nice coins that will serve well.

Values for Uncirculated Grades of the 1950 Lincoln Penny

Image credit: PCGS

The lowest grades of brown or red brown mint-state 1950 Lincoln wheat pennies can also be found for under a dollar. These are nice coins, even if elite collectors don’t favor them, and beginning collectors can add them to a starting collection where they will show to good effect.

Uncirculated red 1950 Lincoln pennies, in the higher mint-state grades, can command significant prices of several hundred dollars each. A 1950 Lincoln wheat penny, graded MS-67 RD, sold in November 2023 for $960. In the same month, a similar wheat penny from the Denver Mint, also graded MS-67 RD, realized $516 at auction. A 1950-S wheat penny, graded MS-67+ RD, realized $504 at auction. These may seem like high prices for beginning collectors, but for earlier years in the Lincoln wheat penny series, such high quality uncirculated coins are extremely rare, and can easily reach prices one hundred or even two hundred times as high.

Were any 1950 Proof Lincoln Wheat Pennies Produced?

Image credit: PCGS

In the year 1950, the Philadelphia Mint struck 51,386 proof Lincoln wheat pennies for sale to collectors and the general public.  Proof coins are created using a special process, and are not intended for circulation. Nevertheless, improperly stored proof coins can deteriorate and corrode in exactly the same way as ordinary circulated and uncirculated coins. Therefore, the grading system for proof coins uses the full range of numerical quality descriptions, of 1 through 70, with the abbreviation PR for “proof.” Any proof coin with a numerical grade of less than 60 is sometimes referred to as an “impaired proof.”

As with any coin, higher grades of proof coin are preferred by collectors and should carry correspondingly higher values. The bidders at any given auction can determine a higher or lower price, though, on a case-by-case basis.

In September 2023, a 1950 Lincoln wheat proof penny, graded PR-66 sold for $264 at Heritage Auctions. In May 2023, a 1950 proof penny graded PR-67 fetched $228 in a sale. At the lower end of the price scale, a 1950 proof penny graded PR-65 sold for $159, in March 2023, while at the higher end, in April 2023, a 1950 proof penny graded PR-65 sold for $720. These prices, while high, are usually within reach of many collectors, though the auction market seems somewhat unpredictable.

Error Values for the 1950 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Although the U.S. Mint exerts vigorous quality control, with so many coins struck, even a tiny percentage of errors can lead to a number of defective coins entering circulation. The year 1950 saw a number of different kinds of errors emerge from the three mints, and enter into the public sphere. Some collectors specialize in errors, and these can be more valuable than ordinary coins of the same grade.

Value for 1950 Lincoln Wheat Pennies Struck on the Wrong Planchet

Coin blanks, or planchets, exist for each kind of coin struck by the U.S. Mint. Occasionally, a Mint employee feeds the wrong planchets into a press set up for a different coin. These errors are not common, but some collectors seek them quite avidly when they appear.

At least two different types of wrong planchet errors are known for the 1950 Lincoln wheat penny.  In May 2022, two specimens of 1950 Lincoln wheat penny struck on a silver dime planchet were sold at Heritage Auctions. The first, graded AU-53, sold for $1,440. The second, graded MS-64, sold for $3,840. In January 2022, a Lincoln wheat penny struck on a silver quarter-dollar planchet, graded AU-50, sold for $1,800.

Value for the 1950-S/S Repunched Mint Mark

Image credit: Heritage Auctions

One category of errors for the Lincoln Wheat Penny and other coins issued by the U.S. Mint is the repunched mint mark. Until recently in the United States, the dies used for striking coins were manufactured in a multi-step process. The die itself was prepared. Then, in a second step, the date was added. A third step was used to add the mint marks for Denver, or San Francisco, as the case may be. In order to add either the date, or the mint mark, the engraver would use a punch, and strike the die several times to make an impression. Ideally, the engraver would hit the same point with each strike, but if he didn’t, then two or more images would appear on the die, and on every coin struck with that die.

Error collectors seek coins with repunched mint marks avidly, and a catalog of such marks, and other die variations, known as the Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins describes the known varieties. The Cherrypickers’ Guide also assigns an identification number to each variation.

In 1950, one die used in San Francisco was repunched twice, so that there are three separate images of the mint mark clearly visible.

The guide lists the 1950-S/S repunched mint mark as variation number FS-504. The mark itself, according to the guide, is one of the more sought after errors of its kind. The price of the coin is reflected accordingly at auction. In November 2023, a MS-67 RD 1950-S/S repunched mint mark Lincoln penny sold for $600 at Heritage Auctions. Coins from other San Francisco dies, without the error, would sell for under $350, according to the value chart.

Value for Off-center Strikes of 1950 Lincoln wheat pennies

One common kind of error eagerly sought by collectors is the off-center strike. Ideally, a planchet sits perfectly on one die, known as the anvil die, in the coin press during striking. If, instead, the blank is off to one side or the other, the hammer die will not fully strike the coin, and the result will be an oval-shaped coin with a partial image.

Collectors specializing in off-center strikes prefer specimens with both the date and the mint mark present. As always, higher grades lead to higher prices.

1950 Lincoln wheat penny, graded MS-63 RD, and struck 75% off-center, showing only a tiny part of the image, sold in June 2023 for $144.00 at auction. The same coin, with no defect, should sell for less than $3.00, according to the chart.

1950-D wheat penny, graded MS-64 RB, and struck 35% off-center, sold in July 2022 for $144.00.  An ordinary coin of the same grade should sell for under five dollars.

At the other end, a coin struck only slightly off center may be much less valuable, as “less defective.” An example could be this 1950-S wheat penny, graded AU-55 and struck 5% off center. Almost all of the image is present, and the coin is mostly round. Although it sold for $59, this wheat penny error realized far less than other coins further off-center.  On the other hand, the value of a properly struck 1950-S penny graded AU-55 is only thirty-three cents.

Value for 1950 Lincoln Wheat Pennies with Die Breaks

The dies used by the U.S. Mint apply and receive tremendous force when making coins. They tend to wear out quickly, and the Mint does not always retire damaged dies quickly. Occasionally, pieces of a die will break off. Any coins struck with the broken die will show lumps of metal, with no image, in the place where the die was broken. These coins can reach circulation. One example of a damaged die coin reaching circulation is this 1950-D wheat penny, graded VF-30. The penny sold in August 2021 for $35.00;

Value for Elliptical Clipped Planchet 1950 Lincoln Wheat Pennies

Another type of error sought by collectors are clipped planchets. Blanks are made from long rolled strips of metal, which are stamped with a blanking press to make round planchets. Ideally, each stamp of the press cuts one blank at a time. Occasionally, blanks are defectively struck. Usually these defects involve the coin press cutting out part of a blank in a second strike. Sometimes, however, a blank remains on the roll of metal, and is struck a second time. This creates an elliptical shape. If the defective blank is then fed into a coin press, an elliptical coin results, which sometimes reaches circulation.

In July 2022, two examples of 1950 Lincoln wheat pennies struck on an elliptical planchet sold at Heritage Auction. The first, a 1950 Lincoln penny graded MS-64 BN, sold for $576.00. The second coin, graded AU-58, realized $216.00.

Technical Specifications of the 1950 Lincoln Penny

The 1950 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.

By 1950, the Lincoln wheat penny design had been in use for forty-two years. The original coin had been introduced in 1909 for the centennial anniversary of the birth of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Victor D. Brenner, the designer of the coin, created a portrait of Lincoln for the obverse and a pair of stylized wheat stalks, surrounding the value of the coin, “one cent.” The inscriptions “Liberty” and “In God We Trust” appeared on the obverse, and the phrase “E Pluribus Unum” as well as the “United States of America” appeared on the reverse. The design of the coin was part of a larger project to improve the appearance of American coinage driven by then-President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt, who was interested in art, met Brenner when the artist created a bust of Roosevelt. The Lincoln wheat penny design was immediately popular, as it marked a break from more traditional forms of American coins, and has since become the longest running American coin design in use.


The 1950 Lincoln wheat penny is a coin with very modest value at all but the very highest grades. Collectors can find any number of specimens at low price points to fill up their collections. Errors and variations exist, and these may prove more challenging for advanced collectors.