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1925 Lincoln Cent : History and Value | CoinWeek

A Mint State 1925 Lincoln Cent
A Mint State 1925 Lincoln Cent

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

In 1925, the United States Mint struck a total combined mintage of 188,909,000 Lincoln Cents across all three facilities. Of this, roughly 74% was produced by the Philadelphia facility. Such a large mintage was almost double that of the prior year (1924). By 1924, America was experiencing a dramatic economic boom time, and the Mint was adjusting production to match the nation’s demand for coinage.

While coin collecting didn’t permeate into the mainstream consciousness for another couple of decades, there were still more than a few individuals searching through change in search of coins. One such individual, E.S. Thresher, contributed an article entitled “Coins That Can Be Found in Circulation” to The Numismatist in which he stated that while he was unable at the time to find the 1925-D cent while searching through pocket change, he did find a nice example of the 1925-P. Twelve years later in 1937, the New York firm Stack’s released a price catalogue for uncirculated Lincoln Cents. Per this list, Stack’s valued a 1925 cent at $0.25 ($4.25 adjusted for inflation), while the 1924 was worth $0.50 and the 1926 $0.75.

Gramercy Stamp Company Lincoln Head Penny Board and Handbook. Images: Doug Plasencia for David Lange / CoinWeek.
Gramercy Stamp Company Lincoln Head Penny Board and Handbook. Images: Doug Plasencia for David Lange / CoinWeek.

Today, despite the 1925 Lincoln Cent being relatively common in Gem Mint State, it is, according to PCGS, the 10th-most-challenging Philadelphia date to collect between 1909 and 1929. Additionally, according to Q. David Bowers, most of these coins are well-struck with sharp details. But there are a few known varieties. Firstly, as Philadelphia cents struck between 1923 and 1929, the type is ODV-010 or Flat Foot to G of GOD. The numeral “5” in the date has a short tail, a design oversight that was not corrected until 1950.

Another interesting observation is that the numerals 1, 2, and 5 are quite compact and seem out of place next to the long-tailed 9.

How Much Is the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Cent Worth?

As a result of this type’s common nature, the value of the 1925 Lincoln Cent is heavily dependent on the piece’s color designation as well as base grade. Fresh-struck coins that retain at least 90% of their original coloration will be designated as RD (Red). However, as the copper metal in a coin oxidizes, the color begins to darken, and the designation is changed to RB (Red Brown). Lastly, as it reaches a dark chocolatey brown, the official designation becomes BN (Brown).

The 1925 is common in all grades, and original rolls of this issue likely survive (albeit in diminishing numbers). Coins typically exhibit above-average strikes, but the reverse dies lack the fine detail of cents struck before 1918.

There is plenty of supply, and most low-grade examples are worth at most $1, while pieces with the BN color designation in VF range from $5 to $10. The vast majority of non-Mint State examples are not worth grading. That said, from MS60 until MS64BN, this type is worth between $40 and $50.

When designated as RB, collectors should expect to pay between $50 and $60 for examples in the same grade range. On the other hand, top population Red Brown coins can sell for prices ranging from $200 to $500. An MS67 RB auctioned off in 2003 by Heritage Auctions realized $503.

Even though 24.28% of PCGS and NGC’s total certified population for the 1925 Lincoln Wheat Cent have been graded MS65 RD, these cents still retain a price of between $230 and $250.

Regardless, examples preserved in high grades with a Red color designation are where the true value of this type sits. While straight MS67 RDs have been known to regularly sell for between $800 and $900, one example sold for $2,400 in August 2022. With only a handful of coins graded higher, that piece is one of the nicest examples available on the open market. At one-half grade higher in MS67+ RD, this type regularly brings in between $2,500 and $5,500. The auction record for this type was set at $15,172.88 when the Stewart Blay coin sold in January 2023.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

As of April 2023, PCGS reports one coin in MS68RD; we have not seen this coin appear at auction. NGC reports three examples in MS67+ RD; likewise, we could not confirm auction appearances of these three coins.

The first PCGS MS67+ RD coin to be certified would later become known as the Jerald Martin specimen. This coin was likely certified in 2015. A year later, PCGS would certify their first MS68 RD. Since the Martin specimen earned its 67+ grade, PCGS has continued to add MS67+ RD at a brisk pace of about three per year.

The Stewart Blay example brought an eyebrow-raising $15,172.88 in January 2023. The buyer likely viewed this coin as a strong upgrade candidate.

  • Top Population: PCGS MS68RD (1, 5/2024), NGC MS67+RD (4, 5/2024), and CAC MS67RD (17:0 stickered:graded, 5/2024).
    • PCGS MS67+RD CAC #21463373: “Stewart Blay’s Red Copper Collection of Lincoln Cents,” GreatCollections, January 15, 2023, Lot 1272853 – $15,172.88.
    • PCGS MS67+RD CAC #46479217: GreatCollections, January 15, 2023, Lot 1270169 – View.
    • PCGS MS67+RD CAC #38287083: “The GL & SL Stonebarger Collection,” Heritage Auctions, June 18, 2021, Lot 3341 – $5,520.
    • PCGS MS67+RD #39891094: Stack’s Bowers, November 12, 2020, Lot 5051 – $2,640.
    • PCGS MS67+RD #39752937: GreatCollections, August 9, 2020, Lot 832904 – View.
    • PCGS MS67+RD #39062957: Stack’s Bowers, August 7, 2020, Lot 2426 – $2,640.
    • PCGS MS67+RD CAC #35372003: Heritage Auctions, June 14, 2008, Lot 3195 – $5,280; “The Dr. and Mrs. Steven Duckor Collection of Lincoln Cents”, Heritage Auctions, April 23, 2020, Lot 3110 – $3,960.
    • PCGS MS67+RD #36183928: Stack’s Bowers, August 13, 2019, Lot 1064 – $1,800 Reserve Not Met. Pale in color with dark patches on the reverse. 
    • PCGS MS67+RD #81352305: GreatCollections, July 24, 2016, Lot 377574 – $2,004.20; “Charlie O’s Collection,” Heritage Auctions, June 7, 2019, Lot 3445 – $1,140.
    • PCGS MS67+RD #25670223: Heritage Auctions, October 30, 2015, Lot 3844 – $2,585. Top pop, pop one when sold. First PCGS MS67+RD certified. “Jerald L. Martin Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2019, Lot 4067 – $2,280. Jerald L. Martin on insert. Dark around the periphery. Splotches on the obverse. 
    • PCGS MS67+RD #25792614: Heritage Auctions, August 10, 2016, Lot 3204 – $1,997.50.
    • PCGS MS67+RD CAC #37476954: Heritage Auctions, July 24, 2016, Lot 3446 – $2,880. Brought significantly more than the “Charlie O” specimen, offered the lot before at the same sale!

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    Design

    Obverse:

    Designer Victor David Brenner’s portrait of the beloved former president Abraham Lincoln depicts the president from the shoulder up. Lincoln is dressed in a period suit and is wearing a bow tie. Brenner’s initials V.D.B. appear in Lincoln’s shoulder truncation. At the top of the design, wrapping around the rim is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. LIBERTY appears behind Lincoln’s neck, on the left side of the coin. The date 1925 appears slightly lower on the coin’s right side in front of Lincoln’s portrait. While Lincoln Cent mintmarks appear below the date, there is no mark here since this coin was struck in Philadelphia.

    Reverse:

    Brenner’s “Wheat Cent” reverse. Two sheaths of wheat wrap around the right and the left side of the coin. At the top of the design, the motto E · PLURIBUS · UNUM wraps around the rim. ONE CENT is inscribed in large sans serif letters, and the bottom arm of the E extends beyond the arm at the top. The middle arm is recessed. Beneath, in the same font but in smaller type, is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    Edge:

    The edge of the 1925 Lincoln cent is smooth or plain, without reeding or edge lettering.

    Designer

    Victor David Brenner, born in Lithuania in 1871, immigrated to New York at the age of 19. Among the classically trained sculptor’s clientele was the future President Theodore Roosevelt. Having previously created a medallion of Lincoln, Brenner was contracted by Roosevelt in 1908 to use one of the designer’s previous images of the 16th president for the obverse of a new cent. At the time of his death, Brenner had carved over 125 different medals, sculptures, and coins (View Designer’s Profile).

    Coin Specifications

    Country: United States of America
    Year Of Issue: 1925
    Denomination: One Cent (USD)
    Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
    Mintage: 139,949,000
    Alloy: 95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc
    Weight: 3.11 g
    Diameter: 19.00 mm
    Edge: Plain
    OBV Designer: Victor David Brenner
    REV Designer: Victor David Brenner
    Quality: Business Strike

     

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    Sources

    Bowers, Q. David. A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents. Whitman Publishing. (2021)

    Lange, David W. The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents. Zyrus Press. (2005)

    https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/327

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    CoinWeek Notes
    CoinWeek Notes
    CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. I am seeking a book for estimates of value for all types of coins. Please let me know if there are recommendations for such a guide..

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