Skip to Content

Discovering the Value of the 1954 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Discovering the Value of the 1954 Lincoln Wheat Penny

The 1954 Lincoln wheat penny was minted in large quantities at all three U.S. Mints. Enough coins survive at all but the highest grades, so that collectors can find many nice examples at every grade and price point. At the same time, comparatively few examples of 1954 Lincoln wheat pennies remain at the very highest uncirculated grades, and the very best specimens command correspondingly good prices at auction. Also, a die variety exists which is highly collectible and eagerly sought after. Experienced collectors can find challenges, while beginners should have no problem building up circulated specimen collections on a very modest budget.

Production of the 1954 Lincoln Wheat Penny

DatePhiladelphiaDenverSan Francisco
1954 Proof233,30000
Source: Red Book

Values for the 1954 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Besides the number of coins minted, the condition of a coin, or grade, significantly affects its value. Grading coins is a complex subject, but there are many good references which can provide a basic understanding of the topic if you are looking to start a collection of wheat pennies, or sell some specimens you have gathered.

1954 Penny Value Chart
Business StrikeGrade
Uncirculated MS63Uncirculated MS65Uncirculated MS67
1954 1C BN$0.40$2.15$47.25
1954 1C RB$2.65$6.75$61.00
1954 1C RD$4.05$16.20$9,750.00
1954-D 1C BN$0.40$2.15$47.25
1954-D 1C RB$0.55$4.05$61.00
1954-D 1C RD$0.80$10.80$390.00
1954-S 1C BN$0.80$3.38$49.95
1954-S 1C RB$0.90$4.05$63.00
1954-S 1C RD$1.35$10.80$108.00
Proof StrikeGrade
1954 1C RD$33.75$47.25$195.00
1954 1C CAM$81.00$260.00$1,500.00
1954 1C DCAM$585.00$1,150.00$11,200.00
Source: CDN CPG® (Retail)

Values for Circulated Grades of the 1954 Lincoln Penny

Image credit: PCGS

Circulated 1954 wheat pennies are quite common and readily available at all grades and from all three mints. Most of the 1954 wheat penny production came from the Denver Mint, and these coins are the cheapest in the circulated grades. Collectors should expect to pay between $0.18 and $0.21 for any circulated 1954-D penny. Pennies from the San Francisco Mint are the next most plentiful minted in 1954, and prices are similar, ranging from $0.20 to $0.33. Philadelphia produced the fewest Lincoln pennies in 1954, but prices still range from $0.18 to $0.21.

Values for Uncirculated Grades of the 1954 Lincoln Penny

Image credit: PCGS

Uncirculated or “Mint-State” coins are those which have never been used as money in commerce. Such coins have no wear, although they may have small nicks and scratches from shipping. Uncirculated bronze coins like the penny may also be subject to oxidation or other corrosion, and so can lose some of the new penny “shine.” Coins that have lost most of this original luster are referred to as “brown,” while those which retain it are referred to as “red.”  Intermediate specimens are called “red-brown.”

The lowest uncirculated grades of the 1954 Lincoln penny, between MS-60 and MS-63, sell for prices scarcely above those for circulated pennies. Thus, brown MS-63 wheat pennies can be found for between $0.40 and $0.80. Nicer red examples at that grade could cost anywhere from $0.80, for a 1954-D MS-63 RD penny, to as much as $4.05 for a 1954 MS-63 RD penny.

Moving into the intermediate mint-state grades, like MS-65, values still remain highly affordable for the 1954 Lincoln cent, unlike many earlier penny issues. Prices of $2.00 or $3.00 for brown Lincoln pennies in that grade are typical, while prices of between $10.00 and $16.00 are reasonable for red wheat pennies.

Moving up only one grade point, to MS-66 RD, increases the price, but not vastly. In November 2023, a 1954 wheat penny, graded MS-66 RD, sold for $78.00. A 1954-S penny, graded MS-66 RB sold in November 2021 for $169.00.

It is only at the highest grades that prices become expensive for the 1954 wheat penny.

In November 2023, a MS-67 RD 1954 wheat penny sold for $10,200 at Heritage Auctions. The catalog entry for the coin explained that the coin, “while plentiful overall due to it being saved in roll quantity at the time of issue, has yielded a remarkably small population of coins worthy of the MS67 Red grade.”

While this sale may have reflected an unusually fine specimen, or an unusually eager collector, other similar coins have fetched prices of over $1,000. In April 2021, a different MS-67 RD 1954 penny sold for $2,640. A third example, sold in April 2023, realized $1,740.

The 1954-D Lincoln penny, having vastly more examples minted, is also somewhat expensive at the highest Mint-State grades. In June 2021, an MS-67+ RD 1954-D wheat penny sold for $960. Prices for MS-67 RD 1954-D pennies ranged from $150 to $340 at recent auctions. 

The price of 1954-S Lincoln pennies exhibits similar patterns. In May 2022, an MS-67+ RD 1954-S Lincoln penny sold for $660.00. A year earlier, a similar coin had sold for $408.00.

Were Any 1954 Proof Lincoln Wheat Pennies Produced?

Image credit: PCGS

The Philadelphia Mint produced 233,300 proof Lincoln Wheat Pennies in the year 1954. Proof coins are minted using specially made dies that have been carefully crafted, polished and treated to create specimens which have a brilliant mirror-like finish on lower recessed surfaces, and a frosted “cameo” finish on higher raised surfaces. The minting process for proof coins places much higher pressure on coin dies than the ordinary strikes used to make circulating coins. As a result, proof coin dies wear out much more quickly than regular coin dies. Unless the dies are changed frequently, only a tiny fraction of proof coins struck will have a “cameo” finish, although by definition, proof coins ought to have a mirror-like finish over the coin.

Proof coins are thus evaluated based upon the quality of the surfaces. At the lowest level, “brilliant” proofs, the most common sort, simply show a reflective surface. “Cameo” proofs, of higher value, show at least some frosting on the raised images of the coin, though this need not always be evenly distributed across all the coin. “Deep Cameo” proofs show the entire image to be frosted. These can be quite valuable and command high prices.

Bronze proof coins, like the wheat penny, are also subject to oxidation over time, and thus can be either brown, red-brown, or red. They are also graded using the 1 to 70 numerical scale, though any proof coins with a rating of less than 60 are referred to as “impaired proofs” and command far lower prices. Brown 1954 proof wheat pennies can be found in the marketplace for prices ranging from $5.00, for coins graded PR-63 BN to as high as $33.75, for coins graded PR-67 BN. Red-Brown 1954 proof wheat pennies are more valuable, and have prices ranging from a little over $8.00 for pennies graded PR-63 RB to just over $40.00 for pennies graded PR-67 RB.

Proof coins from 1954 are sufficiently old that many have deteriorated and lost their red tone. Those that remain in top condition can fetch considerable sums. Among recent sales, one of the most expensive proof 1954 wheat pennies is a PR-67+ deep cameo, which sold at Heritage Auctions in September 2023, for $2,520. The auction description called the coin rare for the condition, It also noted that finer coins were “out of reach” for most collectors. At the same auction, a slightly less well-graded PR-67 deep cameo sold for $930. In October, 2020, a PR-67 deep cameo 1954 wheat penny sold for $870.

“Cameo” proof 1954 wheat pennies realize lower prices at auction, and are more common, although the finest specimens still command higher prices. In December, 2020, a PR-68 cameo 1954 wheat penny fetched $690 at auction, a price not far different from the deep cameo coins described above.  Coins only slightly lower in grade realized far lower prices.

Thus, in November 2022, a PR-67 cameo 1954 wheat penny sold for $159.00 at Heritage Auctions, and a similar specimen sold for $149.00 at the same sale.  In May 2022, a PR-66 cameo 1954 wheat penny sold for $77.00.

Brilliant proof 1954 wheat pennies, showing none of the special features of cameo proofs, sell for still less. In November 2023, a PR-68 coin sold for $180; other similarly graded coins have sold for approximately the same price or even less.

Error Values for the 1954 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Many collectors specialize in errors, defectively struck coins which have somehow escaped the U.S. Mint quality control processes. These coins, which can often circulate for some time before their flaws are detected, are avidly sought after, and can have values considerably higher than ordinary wheat pennies of similar grades.

The 1954-D/D/D Repunched Mint Mark.

Image credit: Heritage Auctions

Until recently, the U.S. Mint relied upon a multi-stage process for manufacturing coin dies. The completed die was manufactured. In a separate step, an engraver used a punch to add the date. Then, in yet another step, a different punch was used to add the mint mark if one was called for.  Ideally, the engraver would hold the punch in exactly the same spot on the die. If the punch ended up striking different spots, two or more images of the date or mint mark would appear, and any coins made with that die would contain the defective date or mint mark.

In 1954, an engraver adding the Denver mint mark “D” mis-struck a wheat penny die not once, but twice, resulting in a triple image, described as the “1954 D/D/D repunched mint mark.” The extra mint marks appear above and below the main mint mark. The variety is listed in the Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins, the standard reference on the subject, which says “this 1954 wheat penny is a very popular rpm.”

In November 2023, a 1954 D/D/D wheat penny, graded MS-65 RD (which looks in the photo as though it is starting to lose some of its luster and deteriorate into a red-brown coin) sold for $99.00. A similar 1954-D wheat penny, with no repunched mint mark, should probably cost around $10.00 or a little more, according to the value chart.

Off-Center Strikes and Broadstrikes of 1954 Lincoln Wheat Pennies

During the minting process, ideally, a coin blank or planchet falls directly onto the stationary “anvil” die, where it is held in place by a retaining collar.

Sometimes the planchet falls off center, and the collar doesn’t hold it in place.  The moving, or “hammer” die then strikes the planchet, but leaves only part of the image. The result is a defective coin known as an “off-center strike.”

At other times, the planchet falls correctly onto the anvil die, but the collar doesn’t function. In this case, the hammer die still strikes and creates a centered image, but the coin blank is free to spread into a larger shape than an ordinary coin. The result is a defective coin known as a “broadstrike.”

Both off-center strikes and broadstrikes are sought by collectors specializing in errors, and both can command higher prices than normal coins.

A recent example of the sale of an off-center struck 1954 wheat penny is this 1954-D Lincoln cent, struck 60% off-center and graded AU-58. It sold in January 2022 for $159.00. A similarly graded 1954-D wheat penny with no defect would be worth between 20 and 40 cents.

broadstruck 1954-S wheat penny graded at MS-65 BN sold for $63.00 on March 8, 2021 at Heritage Auctions. An ordinary coin of that grade should sell for slightly less than $3.50.

Occasionally, coins will be struck repeatedly while in the coin press. It is unlikely the coin will remain in position between strikes, and so the two strikes usually show two different images. These double struck coins are also sought by error collectors. A 1954-D wheat penny, double struck, graded MS-65 RD, sold for $139.00 in March 2023. An ordinary mint-state coin of the same grade, from the Denver Mint, would sell for about $10.80 according to the chart.

Technical Specifications of the 1954 Lincoln Penny

The 1954 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 that year, the design of the coin was 45 years old, having been introduced in 1909 as part of a larger effort to update and beautify American coinage. The Lincoln design proved immediately popular from the moment of its introduction, and eventually became the longest running American coin pattern.


Overall, the 1954 Lincoln wheat penny is a fairly unremarkable issue. Specimens are not especially valuable, or rare for any of the mints or in any of the circulated grades. Uncirculated specimens are pleniful at the lower “mint-state” grades, and correspondingly inexpensive. Collectors on a budget will find many very nice examples which they can add to their collection, and be justly proud of.

Only the very highest grades of uncirculated coins seem hard to come by. Also, the unusual 1954 D/D/D repunched mint mark variety is highly sought after, and may prove challenging for collectors to find, especially in higher collectible grades.