Are you a hunter of rare American coins? Then you most probably have the Lincoln penny on your wishlist. Why? Well, because I honestly believe that this coin which has been in circulation for more than a century, is a must for any passionate collector.
Now, even though these coins were minted in 1923 when it comes to their design, they are pretty similar to modern ones in design. Yet, a trained eye will realize in just a second that they are actually slightly different.
If you do not want to spend o fortune, don’t worry, as the 1923 penny value is lower than the one struck one year before. The reason for that is very easy to understand. As a matter of fact, there have been around 83 million pennies minted in San Francisco and Philadelphia; hence it is pretty impossible not to find some pieces in those states.
To give you just a quick glance at what you should expect moneywise, you should know that their value ranges from 50 cents to even hundreds of dollars. But this is based on their condition and mint marks.
However, I suggest we go on and discuss the topic more in-depth so you can really understand everything about the 1923 penny. From the ways to measure the value of such a coin to their history, design features, and mint marks, I have all prepared for you today. So let’s not linger any more and begin!
The 1923 Lincoln Penny History
The US Mint, began the Lincoln penny production in 1909 due to Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to bring a new blast to the old coinage. The purpose was to mint the coin in honor of Lincoln’s 100th birth anniversary.
I suggest you take a look at the chart below, as it highlights the number of coins based on each mint.
|Location||Year||Number of minted coins|
|Philadelphia||1923||Almost 75 million pieces|
|San Francisco||1923 S||8.7 million pieces|
By making just a quick calculation, we can easily say that the total number of minted coins in 1923 was 83,423,000. Quite impressive, right?
The honor of creating the new coin 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 all his initials (VDB) to the reverse. Until then, the coin designers could only write their last name’s initial.
However, the initiative to put the full initials was not so well received; therefore, they were immediately removed. Consequently, since only a small amount of 1909 S VDB Lincoln penny coins were actually released, this made them become expensive items. Simply put, these coins are the ones coin passionate are looking for.
Long story short, some years later, the US Mint brought these coins back and struck the initials under President’s shoulder. Yet, this time they used a much smaller font.
Like modern varieties, the 1923 Lincoln coins have the image of Abraham Lincoln bust right in the center while the date stands in front. Above the president’s head is written IN GOD WE TRUST, while the word LIBERTY is noted in the back.
On the reverse side of this coin, you can find the ONE CENT and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA engravings. The letters are positioned right in the center, surrounded by two stalks of wheat on the left and right. If you have ever heard collectors talking about the wheat penny, now you know where this name comes from. Last but not least, I need to mention the E PLURIBUS UNUM Latin phrase, which stands along the top of the coin.
Shape, Compound, and Materials
For a better understanding and overall picture of the 1923 penny’s actual value check these basic details regarding the look of these precious coins:
- Face value: $0.01 (meaning once 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 own the skill of determining their features. But fear not. This is something that can be learned and mastered. As a matter of fact, these are the signs that can tell you whether a 1923 old penny is worth some money or not. Let’s see:
Grading System For The 1923 Lincoln Penny
When it comes to passionate collectors, they are always concerned about how the 1923 penny looks. Simply put, the coin’s condition is a real game changer.
And I cannot claim that they are wrong to be interested in the looks. No. Any coin’s condition is the one that mostly dictates the price. So why this particular case be any different?
Anyhow, the 1923 pennies are usually old. Thus, most of them carry a few issues; hence, collectors will grade them to establish their precise condition and final value.
But what exactly does grading a coin mean? Let me introduce you to the different coin grades and their meaning when it comes to establishing the 1923 penny’s value.
When we refer to the grade, we refer to the coin’s state of preservation. Thus, there’s no wonder that this is actually a defining term in any collector’s vocabulary. So you better remember it if you want to be a player in this game.
Below I have listed the complete grading system for 1923 pennies and the main signs to tell from which state your coins are.
Uncirculated Grade Of 1923 Penny
If you have an uncirculated 1923 penny, you can consider yourself to be a very lucky person. As a matter of fact, since these coins have never circulated within the market, you can expect them to be simply flawless. Thus, they should be worth so much more.
When talking about uncirculated coins, it is safe to say that these pieces have been most probably kept in safe spaces, where exterior factors couldn’t affect their look.
So 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, looking like they were minted yesterday.
For instance, look at this spectacular piece of uncirculated penny from 1923.
Extremely Fine Condition
When we are talking about a coin that is in extremely fine grade, we refer to the ones that might have only minor signs of damage and wear. Usually, these little flaws come in the shape of tiny scratches or minor chips. However, it is quite hard to notice all these flaws under the naked eye. Only experts will know to tell you about them. And that is only after using specialized magnifiers. However, the 1923 pennies are quite rare. This means that finding them in extremely fine condition might be challenging.
1923 pennies in fine condition may have spent some time in circulation but were not fully damaged. Nevertheless, the signs of usage and wear are pretty clear, considering they were exchanged by many hands over time.
Scratches or chips are the main signs of usage. However, the images and lettering should have been preserved from most outdoor factors.
The good grade is offered to those Lincoln pennies that have spent most of their existence within the open market. Due to the hundreds of exchanges and possessors, these coins will have acute signs of damage, such as scratches to complete smoothing of details. It will be hard to spot the little design details, as they are probably gone from the coin’s surface.
The Complete 1923 Penny Value Chart
Just have a look at the chart below and compare the values of 1923 pennies based on their condition. Just to make sure about the true values, also check the online auction prices.
|1923 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|
Now, a great concern regarding the coins’ condition goes to preservation. Yet, only a few experts are pointing to this essential habit. However, if you want to start this hobby, you should know that keeping the coins in a dry location is vital for maintaining the true value of an old piece.
Since copper is prone to develop dark shades on its surface, sometimes truly dark due to humidity, you want to be 100% sure that this doesn’t happen. Therefore, you should consider storing your precious pennies in a container that closes all tight. This way, you will ensure your coins have a clean and beautiful look
1923 Lincoln Penny Errors
As previously mentioned, old coins are rarely in perfect condition. However, what I haven’t told you till now is that several errors found on the Lincoln pennies might affect their value in time. 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:
- the red coins that still have the original luster;
- the red-brown ones;
- the brown coins.
Missing Dates and Letters
Another error that can be observed on many 1923 Lincoln pennies is the missing letters and numbers. Such coins have a different value based on the error’s gravity. Hence, the excessively worn coins that have visible signs of usage will have a lower price than the regular ones. Some of these pennies are full of grease and dirt and may lack some letters. However, you may sell them reasonably, ranging from $50 to $150.
When it comes to the final selling prices, they might vary a lot based on the missing parts. For instance, the worn pieces with visible lettering will value much less than the higher-graded coins. On the other hand, the pennies with a lot less pressure than the regular ones can reach even $500.
Other errors you might find on 1923 pennies can be:
- The 1923 Lincoln penny with die cracks. This one will cost around 3 dollars;
- The 1923 off-center Lincoln penny has a selling point between $10 and $50;
- The BIE error in LIBERTY will affect the final value the most. Therefore, this kind of coin will not value more than 15 dollars;
- The rarest error of them all is the doubled President’s eyelid. This kind of coin can cost from 25 dollars to 100 dollars.
A passionate collector won’t stop their research only at the information above. Therefore, I want to clarify all of your dilemmas regarding the 1923 penny features. Check the questions and answers session below to find more about your favorite precious coins.
Q: Is there a mintmark on the 1923 Lincoln coin?
A: Yes, usually there is a mintmark on each Lincoln cent. Expect to see a little letter right under the date. Here is what you should expect to notice on these coins:
- The “S” on the Lincoln 1923 penny indicates the coin was marked at the San Francisco Mint.
- On the other hand, if you don’t see any mintmark, it means the 1923 wheat penny was most probably made at Philadelphia Mint. This mint used to skip putting their mintmark on the coins they crafted before 1942.
While many beginners in collecting valuable old coins think the absence of a mintmark letter is an error, well, this is not true. As a matter of fact, some no mint mark 1923 pennies are more valuable than the regular ones.
Q: How much does a 1923 penny value in average circulation grade?
A: If you have your own coin in average circulated grade, let’s say that type of coin that has been in a lot of pockets and has very few flaws, like no holes but signs of cleaning, here are the prices you should expect for:
- 1923 Lincoln cent with no mint mark: from 70 cents to $1.50
- 1923-S Penny- from $3 to $5 and even more.
Q: What is the most expensive 1923 Penny ever sold?
A: Have you ever been curious to know what was the most expensive 1923 penny ever sold? Well, breathe deeply because the numbers you are about to see might match your car’s price. So, the most expensive and precious Wheat Penny ever sold was in 2018, for $66.000. Well, this is quite impressive and expensive.
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 but still make it like a pro with little resources, I recommend using a coin magnifier. Furthermore, I strongly suggest you look into the U.S. Coin Grading Standards book as well.
In a Nutshell
It is safe to say that the history of 1923 pennies is quite impressive. Even though it can be considered the most popular American coin ever, passionate collectors should not worry about getting a really valuable one.
The specialized market is full of circulated and flawless coins. Hence if you are interested in getting such a coin, there are a lot of options to choose from based on your budget. So, all you have to do is look for the right specimen for you.