The Lincoln penny has been in circulation in the United States for well over 100 years, but it is the earlier versions of the coin that have been a big hit with collectors. Though collectors desire the most well-preserved pieces, these coins are so valuable that they are sought after in any condition. Being that they were minted so long ago, there are only a limited quantity left, so now is the best time to get your hands on one.
The obverse of the Lincoln penny is dominated in the center by the image of President Abraham Lincoln. To the left of the President’s image is a raised inscription which reads “Liberty.” To Lincoln’s right is a raised marking indicating the 1939 year of minting. Finally, arching overtop of the obverse side is an inscription which reads “In God We Trust.”
The coin’s reverse has two inscriptions dominating the central aspect. The inscriptions are raised from the face of the coin and read “United States of America” and “One Cent” respectively. To both the left and the right of the central inscriptions are depicted two stalks of wheat, one on each side. This is why the Lincoln penny is sometimes referred to as the “Wheat Penny.” The Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” is seen arching overtop of the reverse.
When it comes to the condition of the 1939 Lincoln, collectors do not mess around. They prefer to have their coins graded, which means that the condition has been assessed by a certified professional. Grading is customary for coins that are as old as the 1939 Lincoln. The following will present you with an outline of the different coin grades as well as what they will mean for the appearance of a 1939 Lincoln penny.
Uncirculated: A coin that is graded as being Uncirculated is one that never spent any time circulating on the open market. These coins will be free of any and all blemishes and will appear as they did the day they were minted. The color of these coins will have faded to some extent, but the raised images and lettering will have been perfectly preserved.
Extremely Fine: A coin that is determined to be of Extremely Fine grade is one that will have a few minor imperfections. Though there are flaws on the coin, they will be quite small and difficult to make out with the naked eye. All things considered, the condition of these coins is quite excellent.
Fine: Fine is the grade given to coins that have definitely been circulated, but have managed to avoid incurring a lot of damage during that circulation. These pieces will show signs of smoothing and some scratching thanks to the exchanging of hands over the years, but their imagery and lettering will still easily be able to be deciphered.
Good: Good is the lowest grade and indicative of a coin that has been circulated extensively. There will be heavy scratching on the surfaces and damage so significant that some of the raised lettering and imagery might have been worn away. Despite the wear and tear, these Lincoln pennies are still valuable to collectors.
As for the value of a 1939 Lincoln, this is something that depends upon a few different factors. For one, there were 3 types of Lincolns minted most years. Understanding this, the value of the coin will differ depending upon the type. In addition, the condition the coin is in goes a long way in determining its value. Below you will find a chart outlining the different values of graded 1939 Lincoln pennies.
|1939 Lincoln Penny||$0.15||$0.20||$0.50||$1|
|1939 Lincoln Penny (D)||$0.50||$0.65||$1.25||$3|
|1939 Lincoln Penny (S)||$0.15||$0.30||$1||$2.50||Source: Red Book|