At first glance, you might not be able to immediately tell the difference between a Lincoln penny from 1914 and a penny that was minted last year. With that being said, the two different coins are entirely different. For one, the 1914 penny is about one thousand times more desirable than modern day pennies. As a result, the value of these coins often greatly exceeds the 1-cent face value. Even in the worst condition, these coins are sought after in large numbers by collectors.
As for what the coin looks like, you will find that the obverse is none too different from the obverse of the modern day penny. In the central part of the obverse side you will find the raised profile image of former President Abraham Lincoln. Arching above the former President’s bust will be the raised words “In God We Trust.” Much smaller inscriptions reading “Liberty” and “1914” will be found on the left and right side of the President’s image, respectively.
The coin’s reverse has a raised inscription in the center. The inscription is two-parted and reads “United States of America” as well as “One Cent.” Being that a 1914 Lincoln Penny might sometimes be referred to as a “wheat” penny, it makes sense that on either side of the inscriptions are two single stalks of wheat. Finally, the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” is arching over the top of the reverse side.
When it comes to a penny as old as the 1914 version, the condition the coin is in means everything to collectors. As a result, most of these coins have been graded by a professional coin-grading organization. Their final grade is the culmination of close inspection on the part of a professional who knows what to look for. Below is a listing of the different grades as well as what they might mean for the penny’s appearance.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated 1914 Lincoln penny is one that spent absolutely no time exchanging hands on the open market. As such, all of its raised wording and imagery will be kept perfectly intact with not so much as the slightest imperfection apparent. It goes without saying, but these are the absolute most sought after versions of the Lincoln penny.
Extremely Fine: A Lincoln penny that has been given a grade of Extremely Fine is one that might have spent a short time on the open market, but was quickly thereafter preserved. Under extremely close inspection these coins will show minuscule signs of damage, but to the naked eye will appear to be mostly pristine.
Fine: If a coin has received a grade of Fine, this means that it has spent its fair share of time being circulated, but is still in mostly good shape. Though the central image and wording might show some signs of wear, the coin will look to be in decent shape. None of the damage you notice will be considered to be significant in any way.
Good: A coin that has been graded as being Good is one that has spent most of its existence exchanging hands. As a result of this, there will be major signs of damage, from chipping, to scratching, and even the complete smoothing of some aspects of the coin. The wheat stalks, for example, might be almost completely worn away.
If we are talking about the price you might be asked to pay for a 1914 Lincoln penny, this is something that can be determined by both the grade the coin has received as well as the type of penny it is. In some years there were up to 3 different varieties of Lincoln pennies produced, and each of these have different values. Below is a chart that will shed some light on the value of a 1914 Lincoln penny given its type and grade.
|1914 Lincoln Penny||$0.75||$2||$20||$40|
|1914 Lincoln Penny (D)||$200||$300||$875||$1500|
|1914 Lincoln Penny (S)||$24||$30||$85||$175||Source: Red Book|