Coin Value Finder » 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

Easily mistaken for the modern-day penny because of the portrait of Abraham Lincoln on its obverse, the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny is one coin that was produced in bulk quantity, mainly owing to the economic boom of the time. 

The value of each coin from this series varies today as the presence or absence of mint marks, errors, and the coin’s grade plays a role in determining if it will sell for $0.28 or go for as high as $210 in coin collectors market.

This article provides an extensive guide to help you identify the details that distinguish the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny from others in the series. Here, you’ll also learn factors that determine the value of the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny.

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value Details

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny

  • Category: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Marks: D, S, or none
  • Year of Minting: 1920
  • Face Value: 1 cent
  • Dollar Price: $0.28 – $210
  • Melt Value: $16.50
  • Quantity Produced: 405, 665,000
  • Diameter: 1.52mm
  • Composition: 95% Copper, 5% Zinc, and Tin
  • Weight: 3.11g
  • Obverse and Reverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner

To successfully understand the process of coin valuation, getting acquainted with the coin’s details is paramount. Like other coins, the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny has distinct physical features that determine its value in the coin market. Hence the reason why we need to get you acquainted with its details.

The Obverse

Victor D. Brenner’s Obverse of the 1920 wheat penny spots an elegant design and a modern-day finish. At the center of this masterpiece, the obverse offers a right-looking profile of the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, with the inscription “LIBERTY” running from the rim of the coin to the nape of  President Lincoln’s jacket. 

Here, you will also find the inscription “1920” in front of the president’s bust while the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” hangs directly over his head. 

Depending on the coin’s origin, it may also have a “D” or “S” mint mark engraved beneath the year of production, “1920”. This tells you the mint responsible for its production and circulation, where “D” means Denver and “S” San Francisco.  

N.B.: If you notice that your wheat penny has no mint mark, it is from the Philadelphia mint.

The Reverse

While its obverse spots a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the reverse comes with bold lettering of the “ONE CENT” denomination. This inscription is centered and appears directly above the “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” engraving.

The central composition is bounded by two large wheat ears running along either side of the coin, thus earning it its name “Wheat Penny.” The Latin word “E PLURIBUS  UNUM” is engraved atop the inscription and along the top coin rim.

The Lincoln Wheat penny has a plain edge, 3.11g of copper, and a Zinc-tin alloy. This one-cent coin is marked by an edge thickness of 0.05984 inches and a standard diameter of 0.74 inches.

1904 Silver Dollar Value Chart

Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated
1904 Silver Dollar $40 $51 $73 $1977
1904 Silver Dollar(O) $40 $51 $57 $256
1904 Silver Dollar (S) $69 $99 $395 $8,722

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value and Varieties Guide

In this section of the article, we discuss the varieties of the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny. We’ll look at situations surrounding their production, the presence or absence of a mint mark and how the tone of the coin increases or decreases its value

1920 “No Mint Mark” Lincoln Wheat Penny Value

1920 “No Mint Mark” Lincoln Wheat Penny

  • Type: Lincoln
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark: none
  • Place of Minting: Philadelphia
  • Year of Minting: 1920
  • Face Value: 1 cent
  • Dollar Price: $0.28 – $32
  • Melt Value: $0.0268
  • Quantity Produced: 310,165,000
  • Designer: Victor D.Brenner

Of the 405, 665,000 Lincoln wheat pennies minted in 1920, a whopping 310,165,000 pennies were churned out of the Philadelphia mint. One way to distinguish 1920 Lincoln coins from the Philadelphia mint is the absence of a mint mark on the penny’s obverse. 

Since the mint produced most of the 1920 Lincoln wheat pence, you would think finding one in uncirculated mint condition wouldn’t be too difficult, but it is. The value of this coin also depends on the coin’s toning. Red pieces cost the most, brown pieces come in second, while the red-brown pieces sell for a lower price

1920 “D” Mint Mark Lincoln Wheat Penny Value

1920 “D” Mint Mark Lincoln Wheat Penny

  • Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark: D
  • Place of Mint: Denver
  • Year of Minting: 1920
  • Face Value: 1 cent 
  • Dollar Price:  $1.16 – $123
  • Melt Value: $0.0268
  • Quantity Produced: 49,280,000
  • Reverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D.Brenner

The 1920 Lincoln wheat pennies from Denver were marked with the “D” mint mark, and in comparison to the Philadelphia pennies, the mint in Denver produced only a little above 49 million coins here. 

Coins with the Denver mint mark today sell for $1.16 – $123, depending on the coin’s grade. In addition, the coin’s toning (red, brown, or red-brown) has a massive role in determining the coin’s final price.

1920 “S” Mint Mark Lincoln Wheat Penny Value

1920 “S” Mint Mark Lincoln Wheat Penny

  • Type: Lincoln Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Place of Minting: San Francisco
  • Year of Minting: 1920
  • Face Value: 1 cent 
  • Dollar Price: $2.33
  • Melt Value: $0.0268
  • Quantity Produced: 46,220,000
  • Reserve Designer: Victor D.Brenner
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D. Brenner

The San Francisco mint recorded the lowest number of Lincoln Wheat Penny produced in 1920, with a total coinage estimated at 46,220,000. Although worn and widely circulated pennies might only rake in a few dollars, a brown MS-65 went on sale for $3,120, while a reddish brown  MS-66 recorded a sale of $9,200.

Also Read: Top 20 Most Valuable Old Pennies Worth Money (Penny Collection)

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny History

Issued in late 1908, the Lincoln Wheat Penny was introduced by the then-president, Roosevelt,  to commemorate the centennial birth of the 16th American president, Abraham Lincoln. However, these garnered popularity as the “Wheat Penny ”. The plague of  Roosevelt inspired Lutheran Born American engraver, Victor Brennerthe to come up with the Lincoln Wheat Penny design.

While the Lincoln Wheat Penny has its obverse as one of the longest existing in American coinage history, its reverse is fair game; The reverse has been changed twice to commemorate the 150th and 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. 

The earliest copy of the Lincoln wheat penny held the initials of the reverse designer, “VDB,” below the date imprinted on the coin. However, the initials were noted to be quite obvious. This spurred the re-release of the Lincoln Wheat Penny, and this time, with his initials on Lincoln’s shoulders.

Although the initial motive was redesigning the cents, several citizens had written to the Treasury, suggesting a Lincoln coin. Before its issuance, the American coin had only ever had idealized concepts (Liberty). This made the Lincoln wheat penny the first coin in circulation to hold the profile of an actual person.

The Lincoln Wheat Penny has endured through centuries, growing past its initial designation as a jubilee coin into an all-time favorite amongst many Americans. 

These pennies were composed primarily of copper and a small percentage of Zinc- tin alloy until the reality of the second world war sent tin and the American Treasury with the resolve to brainstorm and find an alternative. 

Following curious and bizarre experiments, the American Treasury had decided on a zinc-coated steel coin. However, the general public raised an outcry about the quality of these coins. 

The Zinc and iron created an electromagnetic couple, which caused coins to corrode when placed in a damp environment. Although the coins would eventually be retired after the war, a few of the steel Lincoln Wheat Penny remained in circulation.

The copper would eventually be given up to meet the needs of the cruiser, destroyers, and flying fortresses. 

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Grading

Although no scientific systems have been adopted in grading coins in general and Lincoln Wheat Pennies in particular, numismatists and grading services have agreed upon a system to evaluate the coin’s grade correctly. 

To learn more about grading your 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny, watch the video below.

List of 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Errors

Error wheat pennies are hard to miss, and some Lincoln wheat pennies from 1920 are the same. Lincoln wheat pennies with errors tend to have higher than the regular mint.

Below, we highlight the 1920 Lincoln wheat Penny errors you’d want to look for when collecting collectibles.

1. 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Double Die Error

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Double Die Error 

The old minting system was more than just laborious; it was error-prone and somewhat ineffective. In minting pennies, it wasn’t uncommon for coins to require multiple strikes before creating a single impression. These coins often shift off their mark, occasioning a double indentation. 

Although this double indentation is common with the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny, you might get $65 for a double-die coin.

2. 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Lamination Error

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Lamination Error

These errors are marked by a crack in the coin’s surface or a flake on the veneer. Generally believed to be caused by contaminants in the alloy, lamination error can occur before or after a coin has been hit.

Although laminated Lincoln Wheat pennies might not be particularly valuable; they can still however fetch you anything from $5 to $100.

3. 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Off-center Error

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Off-center Error

Unlike the double die error, Lincoln Wheat pennies are struck only once. However, the punch is typically wayward, on the far left or right, hence making off-center Lincolns not rare. They make up a decent number of  1920 Lincoln Wheat pennies. These Lincoln Wheat Pennies have a distinct non-circular shape and can go anywhere from $5 to $250.

4. 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Repunched Mint Mark Error

This visual minting error is generated from two or more offset impressions of a letter punch. Although it is quite rare for the 1920 Lincoln letter punch to appear reasonably apart, they typically occur as overlapping indentations on the coin die. A concave impression on the coin’s surface is a surefire way to identify this error on your 1920 Lincoln wheat penny.

5. 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny Broad strike Error

When a coin rim fails to form into a  collar at the exact moment of a strike, the coin is said to have a broad strike error. The metal, although precisely cut,  is seen to pool outwards before squeezing together at the rim.

Depending on their design visibility and overall appeal, the broad-struck error pennies might be fancied collectibles.

6. 1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny struck on Cuba one-Centavo planchet Error 

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny struck on Cuba one-Centavo planchet Error 

Until late in the early 80s, the Philadelphia mint didn’t strike American coins alone. From the Argentina Centavos and Cuban Centavos to the Nicaragua Centavos and  Philippines Centavos, the Philadelphia mint is documented to have produced coins for over 40 governments.

Although the minting condition stipulated the separation of the cents from the Centavos, the stipulation did not preclude errors. The Philadelphia mint would eventually strike 1920 Lincoln Wheat on Centavo planchet, resulting in the rare one-centavo planchet error.

However, the 1920 Lincoln wheat penny wasn’t just comparatively larger than the Cuba one-centavo; it also came in a contrastingly different Zinc as opposed to the centavo planchet’s copper-nickel. Combined, these resulted in differently colored coins ranging from light gray to peach.

1920 Lincoln Wheat Penny FAQ

Is the 1920 Lincoln Worth Anything?

While you might be able to snag an X.F. Philadelphia mint at $20 and a reddish brown for $55, the price of the 1920  Lincoln Wheat penny varies across coin conditions and coin rarity. The price generally depends on the fineness of the indentations. 

How much is a 1920-D Lincoln Penny Worth?

With an increasing need for minor coinage came a tight operating schedule. The mill was running on a 16–24 hr strict schedule and pulling off long hours. This resulted in the Denver mint being widely circulated and consequently well-worn. Like all other Lincoln Penny coins, the  1920-D  depends on the condition of the collectible. A mint state is valued at $96; a rare red-tone mint MS-66 goes for as high as $14,000 to $16000.

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