In 1925, the United States Mint struck a total combined mintage of 188,909,000 Lincoln cents across all three of its main 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 simply adjusting production to match the nation’s demand for coinage.
While coin collecting didn’t really begin to permeate into the mainstream consciousness of America for another several 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 titled “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, 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.
Today, despite the 1925 Lincoln cent being quite common into 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, the vast majority of these coins are well-struck with sharp details. Bu there are a few known varieties. Firstly, as Philadelphia cents struck between 1923 and 1929, the type is known as 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.
The 1925 Lincoln Cent in Today’s Market
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).
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 MS 60 until MS 64 BN, 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. Top population Red Brown coins, on the other hand, can bring in between $200 and $500. In fact, an MS 67 RB auctioned in 2003 by Heritage Auctions brought in $503.
Even though 24.28% of PCGS and NGC’s total certified population for the 1925 are MS 65 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 MS 67 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 MS 67+ RD, this type regularly brings in between $2,500 and $5,500. In fact, the auction record for this type was set at $5,520 in 2021 by Heritage Auctions.
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, in front of Lincoln’s portrait, on the coin’s right side. While Lincoln cent mint marks appear below the date, there is no mark here since this coin was struck in Philadelphia.
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.
The edge of the 1925 Lincoln cent is smooth or plain, without reeding or edge lettering.
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).
|Year Of Issue:||1925|
|Denomination:||One Cent (USD)|
|Mint Mark:||None (Philadelphia)|
|Alloy:||95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc|
|OBV Designer||Victor David Brenner|
|REV Designer||Victor David Brenner|
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Bowers, Q. David. A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents. Whitman Publishing. (2021)
Lange, David W. The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents. Zyrus Press. (2005)
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