Are you a hunter of rare American coins? Then you most probably have the Lincoln penny on your wishlist. Why? Well, this coin which has been in circulation for more than a century, is a must for any passionate collector.
If you do not want to spend a fortune, don’t worry, as the 1923 cent value is lower than that of the cent struck just one year before. The reason for that is that there were around 83 million pennies minted in San Francisco and Philadelphia – an incredible mintage which means many of these pennies are still around today.
To give you a quick idea of their value, the price for a 1923 Lincoln penny can range from 50 cents up to hundreds of dollars based on their condition, rarity and mint marks.
Let’s discuss the topic more in-depth so you can understand all the essential information about the 1923 penny, from valuation of such a coin to their history, design features, and mint marks…
The 1923 Lincoln Penny History
The US Mint began the Lincoln penny production in 1909 due to Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to refresh to the coinage. The main purpose was to honor the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.
Take a look at the chart below which highlights the mintage (number of coins minted) based on each minting location.
|Philadelphia||1923||Almost 75 million pieces|
|San Francisco||1923 S||8.7 million pieces|
So the total number of minted coins in 1923 was 83,423,000! Quite impressive, right?
The honor of creating the new Lincoln cent design went to the engraver Victor Brenner, who brought two innovations to this penny. The first was to integrate the President’s image on the obverse of the coin for the very first time in American history. Additionally, the engraver was free to add his initials (VDB) to the reverse. Until then, the coin designers could only write the initial of their last name.
However, the initiative to inscribe the full initials was not well received and they were almost immediately removed. Since only a small amount of 1909 S VDB Lincoln penny coins were actually released, this makes them rare and expensive coins today.
Like modern varieties, the 1923 Lincoln coins display the image of Abraham Lincoln’s bust in the center while the date is inscribed on the right. Above the president’s head is written IN GOD WE TRUST, while the word LIBERTY is inscribed to the left.
On the reverse side of this coin, you can find the words ONE CENT and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The letters are positioned in the center, surrounded by two stalks of wheat to the left and right. This is why the Lincoln cent is also referred to as the Lincoln wheat penny. Last but not least, the E PLURIBUS UNUM motto is inscribed along the top of the coin.
Dimensions and Composition
For a better overall picture and to check the authenticity of the 1923 cent, have a look at these basic details:
- Face value: $0.01 (one cent)
- Coin Weight: 3.11 grams
- Coin diameter: 19 mm
- Thickness: 1.52 mm
- Shape: round
- Edge: plain
1923 Penny Value Guide
Whether you are looking to buy or sell 1923 pennies, you have to make sure you can determine their key features and condition. This is something that can be learned and mastered. Once you have some experience, these signs can quickly tell you whether a 1923 old penny is valuable or not.
Grading System For The 1923 Lincoln Penny
When it comes to coin collectors, they are usually aiming to find Lincoln cents in mint or uncirculated condition. Simply put, the coin’s condition is a real game changer.
1923 pennies are quite old and have been in circulation for a long time. Thus, most of them carry flaws and wear. Collectors will grade them to establish their precise condition and final value.
When we refer to the grade, we are talking about the coin’s condition and state of preservation. Below we have listed the basic grading system for 1923 pennies.
If you have an uncirculated 1923 penny, you can consider yourself to be a very lucky person. Since these coins have never been in circulation, you can expect them to be flawless and worth much more.
These coins have been most likely kept in coin rolls or protected where exterior factors couldn’t damage their condition.
When looking at such a coin, you should expect not to find any damage or signs of wear on its surface. In other words, the uncirculated grade 1923 pennies are in almost perfect condition, like they were minted yesterday.
For instance, look at this spectacular uncirculated penny from 1923.
Extremely Fine Condition
When we talk about a coin that is in extremely fine condition, we refer to those that might have very minor signs of damage and wear. Usually, these little flaws come in the shape of tiny scratches or a little wear on the most raised parts of the coin’s design. However, it is hard to notice these flaws with the naked eye. Experts use magnifying glasses and specialist equipment to determine the exact grade accurately. Finding 1923 Lincoln cents in extremely fine condition might be challenging and their value is likely to be relatively high.
1923 pennies in fine condition may have spent some time in circulation but were not badly damaged. The signs of usage and wear are pretty clear, considering they were exchanged between many hands over time.
Scratches or chips are the main signs of usage. However, the images and lettering should have been preserved well enough so they can be clearly seen.
Good condition describes Lincoln pennies that have spent most of their existence in the open market. Due to the hundreds of exchanges, these coins will have acute signs of damage, such as scratches and complete smoothing of details. It will be hard to spot the most detailed elements of the design, as they are probably gone from the coin’s surface.
The Complete 1923 Penny Value Chart
Have a look at the chart below and compare the average values of 1923 pennies based on their condition. Please note that these values are correct at the time of writing, according to the USA Coin Book. Prices are subject to change depending on supply and demand, and coin condition and rarity. Ensure you conduct thorough research into true current values based on coin condition and variety by checking the online auction prices.
|1923 no mint mark Penny Value||$0.4||$0.5||$0.7||$5.7||$10||$17||$34|
|1923 S Penny Value||$4.5||$6||$7.9||$45||$102||$242||$435|
1923 Lincoln wheat cents with no mintmark were minted in Philadelphia. Those with an S mintmark, which can be found below the date on the obverse of the coin, were minted in San Francisco.
1923 cents without a mintmark are more common and therefore usually not as valuable even in uncirculated condition. However, the auction record for a no mint mark 1923 Lincoln cent with the grade MS67 was $11,500 in 2005! The auction record for a 1923-S Lincoln cent with the grade MS65+ was a whopping $67,562.50 in 2019!
Now, a great concern regarding coin condition is the method of preservation. If you want to start this hobby, you should know that keeping the coins in a dry, protected location is vital for maintaining the value.
Since copper is prone to develop dark shades on its surface due to humidity, you want to be 100% sure that this doesn’t happen. Therefore, you should consider storing your precious pennies in an airtight container lined with soft material, which keeps the coins separate from one another.
1923 Lincoln Penny Errors
Several errors found on the 1923 Lincoln wheat pennies might affect their value. Here are the most intriguing ones you should know about:
You should expect copper to quickly discolor when in contact with oxygen. In time, the coin will lose the initial shine and divide into three types:
- red coins that still have the original luster (these are the most valuable)
- red-brown coins
- brown coins (these are typically the least valuable)
Errors in the production of the coins can be rare and actually raise the value of coins over time. Rare usually equals more valuable, so make sure to look out for these notable errors you might find on 1923 pennies:
- The 1923 Lincoln penny with die cracks
- The 1923 off-center Lincoln penny
- The BIE error in LIBERTY
- The rarest error of them all is the doubled President’s eyelid. This kind of coin can be extremely valuable.
Q: Is there a mintmark on the 1923 Lincoln coin?
A: Yes, there can be a mintmark on the 1923 Lincoln cent depending on where it has been minted. Expect to find the mint mark right under the date.
- An “S” on the Lincoln 1923 penny indicates the coin was produced at the San Francisco Mint.
- On the other hand, if you don’t see any mintmark, it means the 1923 wheat penny was made in the Philadelphia Mint. This mint used to skip putting their mintmark on the coins they crafted before 1942.
Q: How much does a 1923 penny value in average circulation grade?
A: If you have your own coin in average circulated grade, here are the rough prices you can expect:
- 1923 Lincoln cent with no mint mark: from $0.70 to $1.50
- 1923-S Lincoln cent: from $3 to $5 and upwards.
Q: What is the most expensive 1923 Penny ever sold?
A: The most expensive 1923 penny was a 1923-S Lincoln cent in MS65+ condition. It was a red coin and considered to be extremely rare. It sold for $67,265.50 in 2019!
Q: Are there any fast solutions to determine the 1923 Penny Value?
A: If you want to determine the actual value of a 1923 Penny without going to an expert, we recommend using a coin magnifier. Furthermore, we strongly suggest you look into the U.S. Coin Grading Standards book as well.
Also Read: 1923 Silver Dollar Value Chart Guide: How Much Is A 1923 Silver Dollar Worth Today?