Coin Value Finder » 1948 Wheat Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1948 Wheat Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

Do you have a 1948 wheat penny? Are you interested in its value?

The 1948 wheat penny may not be as rare as the 1893 Morgan silver dollar, but it’s worth more than its face value. That rings true, especially for mint state and professionally graded pieces.

Today, we’ll explore the world of the 1948 wheat penny, including its value, design elements, varieties, and errors. So, if you want to learn more about 1948 wheat pennies, join us!

1948 Wheat Penny Details

1948 Wheat Penny Details

  • Category: Lincoln Cents, Wheat Reverse (1909 -1958)
  • Mint: Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City
  • Designer:Victor D. Brenner
  • Metal Composition: Copper and Tin and Zinc
  • Fineness:9
  • Diameter: 19.05mm
  • Weight:11 grams
  • ASW:7734oz
  • Edge: Plain

The Obverse Side

In 1909, the U.S mint hired sculptor Victor David Brenner to design a new cent to commemorate the 100th birthday of America’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Brenner worked on both the obverse and reverse sides of the coin.

On the obverse, the designer included a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, hence the name “Lincoln cent”. Coin numismatics believe Brenner based the Image on an 1864 photo of Abraham Lincoln taken at Mathew Brady’s studio.

Besides the portrait, the 1948 wheat penny obverse features the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” above Lincoln’s head. The inscription “LIBERTY” falls on the left side of the president’s shoulder, while the production date “1948” lies on the right side, just below his neck.

The Reverse Side

As for the reverse, the 1948 wheat penny depicts two ears of durum wheat. The Latin motto “E Pluribus Unum” arches overtop, while the inscription “United States of America” and the denomination “One Cent” fall in between the wheat stalks.

The first wheat pennies featured Benner’s initials “VDB” on the reverse. But they got removed a few days after the coin’s release. In 1918, the designer’s initials got restored on Lincoln’s shoulder.  

Although Brenner’s design for the reverse side remained the same for 50 years, it changed in 1959 to depict the Lincoln Memorial. Frank Gasparro designed the Lincoln Memorial reverse.

Additional Details

The 1948 Lincoln cent comprises 95% copper and 5% tin (and zinc). But this was not always the case. In 1943, the U.S. mint used zinc-platted silver because copper played an important role in the war (World War II).

With that in mind, the 1948 wheat pennies from Denver and San Francisco mints feature mint marks just below the production date. The cent also weighs 3.11 grams (0.109702 ounces) and has a diameter of 19.05 mm.

1948 Wheat Penny Value Chart

Mint Mark  Condition
  Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated
1948 “no mint mark” Wheat Penny Value $0.05 $0.05 $0.10 $5 – $1800
1948 “D” Wheat Penny Value $0.05 $0.05 $0.10 $5 – $625
1948 “S” Wheat Penny Value $0.05 $0.05 $0.10 $5 -$264

1948 Wheat Penny Value and Varieties Guide

In 1948, the US mint produced three varieties of the Lincoln cent, including the 1948 “no mint mark”, 1948- D, and 1948-S. These coins got struck in three locations, namely Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.

The minting centers minted approximately 571,942,500 coins. While this mintage might seem impressive, it’s low compared to previous years. That’s because America underwent an economic recession from 1948 to 1948, forcing the U.S mint to reduce coinage.

Now, let’s break down the 1948 wheat penny varieties.

1948 “No Mint Mark” Wheat Penny Value

1948 “No Mint Mark” Wheat Penny

  • Type: Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark:  No Mint Mark
  • Place of Minting:  Philadelphia
  • Year of Minting: 1948
  • Face Value: 1 Cent
  • $ Price: $0.05 – $12.50(or more)
  • Mintage:  317,570,000
  • Designer: Victor D. Brenner

In 1948, the Philadelphia mint struck the most wheat pennies. It produced over 317 million pennies, and most entered circulation. Despite the high mintage, only a few coins survive today, especially in top grades.

While average mint state specimens are not uncommon, most come with spots and light stains. This problem usually relates to the planchet preparation and cleaning method used.

As for their value, 1948 “no mint mark” wheat pennies cost anywhere between $0.05 to $9 in circulated condition. Pieces in excellent condition might fetch a higher price tag.

1948 “no mint mark” wheat pennies at mint state 65 and above are rare. It’s estimated that only 10 pieces of these Lincoln cents exist today. Because of their rarity, these coins usually have a higher value. In fact, a specimen with a grade of MS67 sold for $10,350 in 2012 at Heritage Auctions.

1948 “D” Wheat Penny Value

1948 “D” Wheat Penny

  • Type: Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark:  D
  • Place of Minting:  Denver
  • Year of Minting: 1948
  • Face Value: 1 Cent
  • $ Price: $0.05 – $32.50(or more)
  • Mintage:  172,637,000
  • Designer: Victor D. Brenner

The minting center in Denver produced over 172 million wheat pennies in 1948. However, most coins had poor strike quality because the minting facility used worn dies. Even pieces in excellent condition come with spots and stains.

Because of high mintage, 1948-D pennies are common in most grades. But those at higher mint states, like MS64 and above, are limited and expensive.

In the current market, a circulated 1948-D wheat penny costs between $0.05 and $20. However, uncirculated specimens in a higher mint state can sell for much more. For example, a 1948-D with an MS67+ sold for $3,000 in January 2022 at Heritage Auctions.

1948 “S” Wheat Penny Value

1948 “S” Wheat Penny

  • Type: Wheat Penny
  • Edge: Plain
  • Mint Mark:  S
  • Place of Minting:  San Francisco
  • Year of Minting: 1948
  • Face Value: 1 Cent
  • $ Price: $0.05 – $25(or more)
  • Mintage:  $81,735,000
  • Designer: Victor D. Brenner

The San Francisco mint produced the least amount of wheat pennies in 1948. It only minted 81 million pennies.

Because of the low mintage, you might think 1948-S coins might fetch a high price. However, that’s not the case since most 1948-S pieces display poor details from damaged or worn dies.

At the time, the minting facility kept the dies until they were heavily damaged. When that happened, the center re-polished them. As a result, they produced pennies that appeared proof-like but displayed shallow design details and distorted peripheral inscriptions.

According to NGC, 1948-S in circulated condition sell from $0.05 to $5. But in uncirculated conditions, these specimens can fetch as much as $1,998. The same applies to 1948-S with errors like re-punched marks or off-center strikes.

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

1948 Wheat Penny History

In an attempt to re-vamp U.S. coinage, the 26th president of America, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1904, asked Treasury Secretary Leslie Mortier Shaw to engage external artists to create new coin designs.

In response, the U.S. mint hired sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and asked him to create new designs for the double eagle, eagle, half eagle, and quarter eagle. The coins had maintained the same design for 25 years, and they were due for a re-design even without the Congressional act.

Before his death in 1907, Saint-Gaudens had re-designed the four gold denominations. But he never got to submit his design for the cent. That’s where Victor David Brenner comes in.

With the 100th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln fast approaching, many Americans wrote to the Treasury Department asking for a Lincoln coin.

 At first, most people proposed a Lincoln half dollar. But since the coin had gotten a re-design in 1892, it was difficult to alter its design without the approval of congress. Fortunately, the cent was up for a re-vamp.

In 1908, Roosevelt had a meeting with sculptor Victor D. Brenner. While the details of the meeting never came to light, Brenner was tasked with the role of designing the cent.

In early 1909, the designer submitted his design for the coin to the Mint. For the obverse, Brenner opted for a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. As for the reverse side, he incorporated two wheat stalks.

Production began on August 2nd of the same year. The new cent comprised 95% copper and 5% tin and zin. This composition remained the same until 1943 when the U.S. mint used zinc-steel planchets. The cent later reverted to copper until 1982.

In 1948, the mint produced over 570 million wheat pennies in three minting centers: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. Pieces from Philadelphia mint had no mint marks. But those from Denver and San Francisco had the “D” and “S” mint marks under the production date.

1948 Wheat Penny Grading

Grading offers coin collectors an effective way of determining their coin’s value. It involves assessing the coin’s condition and assigning it a grade. The 1948 Lincoln penny gets graded into several categories, including:

  • Good: The circulated specimen is in poor condition with scratches and spots on the surface. Coins graded as good also come with barely visible inscriptions and denominations.
  • Fine:1948 wheat pennies, in fine condition, show a few signs of damage, and some of their design details are visible. The words in “Liberty” as well as the denomination remain visible
  • Extremely Fine: These coins didn’t stay in circulation for long. As a result, all design elements are visible. Also, the finer details are clear, but you might observe signs of wear on high points.
  • Uncirculated: As the name suggests, these coins never entered circulation. That means the coins maintain their original bold texture and luster. They also have no scratches or severe contact marks.  

1948 Wheat Penny Errors

It’s no surprise that some 1948 wheat pennies come with errors, considering the high mintage. Below, we’ve highlighted the most common errors in 1948 pennies.

1. 1948 Wheat Penny Clipped Planchet Error

This error results in coins with clipped sections. The clipped planchet error occurs when a blank planchet is not aligned properly with the press machine, resulting in straight clips.

Sometimes, the clip might assume a curved shape. This occurs when the movement of the planchet into the machine does not match the cutting speed. As a consequence, the equipment makes circular planchets out of a section in the metal that has already been cut.

2. 1948 Wheat Penny Lamination Error

1948 Wheat Penny Lamination Error

Another planchet error worth checking out is the lamination error.  Coins with this error usually have chipped or cracked sections.

Lamination errors are caused by foreign materials stuck inside the blank planchet. When the planchet gets struck, these materials can cause the coin’s surface to lift and crack.

3. 1948 Wheat Penny Double Die Error

1948 Wheat Penny Double Die Error

Not to be confused with the double-struck error, the double-die error results from a faulty die. If a minting facility uses a coin die with a partial or fully doubled image, the minted coin will have double images that are slightly offset.

In 1948 wheat pennies, the double die can occur on the obverse or reverse side of the coin. On the obverse side, you might see some doubling on Lincoln’s eyelids. Doubling on the reverse might present itself on wheat ears and stems.

4. 1948 Wheat Penny Off-Center Error

The off-center error is among the most sought-after errors in 1948 wheat pennies. It occurs when the coin die strikes the blank planchet off-center. When this happens, only a section of the coin gets struck.

The value of the coins might vary depending on the degree of off-center. Coin collectors prefer pieces with full dates to those without a date or other details.  

1948 Wheat Penny FAQ

How much is a 1948 wheat penny worth?

Currently, a 1948 “no mint mark” wheat penny in extremely fine condition sells for $0.01. In an uncirculated state, its value can range from $0.75 to $2.50.  1948 “no mint mark” pennies at mint state 65 and above can fetch anywhere from $5 – $1,800.

The 1948 -D in circulated condition can cost between $0.10 to $2.50. Those in uncirculated condition and higher grade can sell for as much as $3,000.

The 1948-S wheat penny in the circulated state sells for around $0.10 in extremely fine condition and $0.20 in about circulated condition. Uncirculated pieces at mint state 65+ can be worth $1,998 or more, depending on their rarity.

How do I know if my 1948 wheat penny is valuable?

There are several factors that can help you determine the value of a coin. But perhaps the most important one is condition or grade.

Circulated 1948 wheat pennies have a low value because they show significant signs of wear and damage. However, uncirculated or mint state pieces fetch higher prices because they maintain their original texture and luster.

The variety of the 1948 penny also determines its value. Those with errors like double die, re-punched mint marks, or off-center often cost more than regular strike, error-free coins.

Are 1948 wheat penny rare?

Yes, and no, the U.S. mint produced an abundant number (over 500 million) of 1948 wheat pennies, and most entered circulation. Therefore, circulated and average-grade 1948 wheat pennies are common. However, pieces in mint state 65 and above are rare and can sell for upwards of $3,000.

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