The Lincoln penny is still being produced today, and is still one of the most recognizable pieces of US coinage. Having said that, collectors are really only interested in older versions of the coin, like the 1942 Lincoln. These pennies are collectible not only because of their age and historical significance, but because they are rare and growing rarer by the day.
The coin’s obverse features in the center the profile of former President Abraham Lincoln. Joining the image of the former President is an inscription to his left which reads “Liberty” as well as an inscription to his right which marks the 1942 year of minting. Finally, the phrase “In God We Trust” is seen arching overtop.
On the coin’s reverse, the central aspect is dominated by two inscriptions—one that reads “United States of America” and one that reads “One Cent,” the coin’s face value. To the left and right of the central inscriptions are two single stalks of wheat, which helps explain why this coin is sometimes referred to as the “Wheat Penny.” Finally, the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” is arching overtop.
For collectors, the most important aspect of a coin as old as the 1942 Lincoln is the condition in which it is in. For this reason, you will notice that any Lincoln penny worthy of a collection will be graded. Below you will find an outline of the different coin grades as well as an explanation with regard to what that grade means.
Uncirculated: A coin that is graded as being Uncirculated is one that never spent any time exchanging hands. Thanks to this, its condition has been well-preserved such that the raised lettering and imagery will remain flawless. As you might expect, these are the cream of the crop and also the most sought after Lincolns.
Extremely Fine: A coin that is determined to be of Extremely Fine grade is one that will look mostly pristine, but will feature one or two minor flaws. Usually, these flaws are small and are not easily recognizable by the naked eye. Nonetheless, they are there and that is all that matters to graders.
Fine: A coin that is of Fine grade has likely been circulated, but has also managed to avoid any sort of heavy damage. You will definitely notice some light scratching and smoothing due to years of changing hands, but the main lettering and imagery will be easily made out.
Good: Good is the grade given to the most heavily damaged Lincoln pennies. From deep scratches to the complete wearing away of imagery/lettering, these coins have definitely seen their better days. Despite this, they are still valuable to collectors of all types.
Determining a nominal value for the 1942 Lincoln is something that depends on a few different factors. First, the condition of the coin means everything. If a coin is damaged, its value will be detracted from. Secondly, the type of coin is important. There were up to 3 different types of Lincoln pennies minted every year, so the type plays a major role in determining a coin’s value. Below is a chart that will help you determine how much a 1942 Lincoln is worth.
|1942 Lincoln Penny||$0.15||$0.20||$0.50||$0.75|
|1942 Lincoln Penny (D)||$0.15||$0.20||$0.50||$0.85|
|1942 Lincoln Penny (S)||$0.20||$0.30||$1.25||$5.50||Source: Red Book|