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HomeUS Coins1938-D Lincoln Cent - A Collector's Guide

1938-D Lincoln Cent – A Collector’s Guide

One of two previously graded NGC MS68RD 1938-D Lincoln Cents. Image: Stack's Bowers.
One of two previously graded NGC MS68RD 1938-D Lincoln Cents. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

The United States Mint in Denver struck 20,010,000 Lincoln Wheat cents dated 1938. This mintage is the median for all Denver issues in that decade, with production figures at all Mint facilities picking back up after the lows seen at the beginning of the Great Depression.

Historical Pricing for the 1938-D Lincoln Cent

To get a sense of pricing for rolls of the 1938-D Lincoln cent after its release but before the advent of commercial third-party grading in 1986, consider the following:

Dealer Lu Riggs offered uncirculated rolls for $2.75 in the August 1948 issue of The Numismatist.

Dealer Bob Creps offered uncirculated rolls for $120 in the January 1965 issue of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine.

Denver, Colorado-based dealer Dan Brown offered uncirculated rolls of the 1938-D Lincoln Wheat penny for $62.50 in the February 1974 issue of The Numismatist.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

In 2005, the MS-68RD population at NGC was comprised of two coins that were submitted in the same order (certification numbers 120027-001 and 120027-002). Both coins had auction appearances between 2005 and 2011 before disappearing from the condition census–likely crossing over to PCGS at a lower grade, perhaps MS-67+RD.

In 2023, different coins accounted for the NGC population of two, one of these selling recently at GreatCollections. At the time of writing, this population has increased to three.

The three PCGS MS-68RD coins have no recorded public auctions to report, but the pieces are described in our table. All three coins have been imaged by PCGS and are plated on PCGS CoinFacts.

  • NGC MS-68RD #6678343-002: GreatCollections, April 16, 2023, Lot 1341537 – View.
  • PCGS MS-68RD #42486753: Glassy Lincoln, many scattered dark spots throughout the surfaces of the obverse and reverse. Unsightly copper spot between E and N in CENT.
  • PCGS MS-68RD #50230754: Thin scratch on cheekbone, Small hit on the top of O and the bottom on N. Whispy discoloration on reverse. Beautiful coin.
  • PCGS MS-68RD #40019027: Later die state than the other two PCGS MS-68RD coins. Scattered hits in Lincoln’s hair, specifically one below D in GOD. Tony hit above E in ONE.
  • NGC MS-68RD #120027-001: Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2007, Lot 1838 – $4,312.50; “The Brenda John Collection”, Heritage Auctions, June 3, 2010, Lot 166 – $3,593.75; Stack’s Bowers, January 4, 2011, Lot 208 – $4,000 Reserve Not Met; Stack’s Bowers, August 13, 2011, Lot 6432 – $4,250 Reserve Note Met. Vivid red coin with strong eye appeal. Hairline scratch to the right of Lincoln’s chin. Two tiny hits on E of CENT. Tiny hit between the ends of the two wheat stalks with a die gouge above. Flecks of discoloration on the reverse. Certification number no longer active.
  • NGC MS-68RD #120027-002: Heritage Auctions, February 23, 2005, Lot 5541 – $4,036.50; Heritage Auctions, December 2, 2010, Lot 3268 – $2,990; Stack’s Bowers, June 14, 2011, Lot 543 – $4,000 Reserve Not Met. Tiny tick below eye and another one between the eye and ear. Small depression on the shoulder. Three hits on the N of ONE. Small discoloration spots localized on the left wheat stalk and above NE. Certification number no longer active.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1938
Denomination: One Cent (USD)
Mint Mark: D (Denver)
Mintage: 20,010,000
Alloy: 95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc
Weight: 3.11 grams
Diameter: 19.00 mm
Edge Plain
OBV Designer Victor David Brenner
REV Designer Victor David Brenner
Quality: Business Strike


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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

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  1. I have 1909 VDB Lincoln wheat penny in very great condition like maybe grades an MS 67 or 68 from compared to the condition of other coins that I have seen online. It’s a shiny golden tan in color doesn’t have a mint mark so probably a Philadelphia and wondering how much it might be worth

  2. I have a 1964 Jefferson nickel no steps on Monticello but on the reverse it has just the U and the N in full view of United States of America and the the rest of the letters are only shown half of the top of them until the C and A are shown and they are in full view again. Never seen or heard of one like this and wondering what it could be worth

  3. I’ve got a 1938 D in good condition, along with many others that are said to be “rare” or “sought” after. Of course nothing has ever come from any. They are all worth exactly what their
    face value is.

  4. I need to take pictures of my coins, but I tried everything but they don’t seem to be clear enough,I need to put my coins on line so I can sale them, I have 1938 penny d mint, I have Jefferson nickels, 2009 Penny’s, to many to many to is there some way to get this done? Thank you


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