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HomeUS Coins1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent : History and Value | CoinWeek

1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent : History and Value | CoinWeek

1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent with Doubled Die Obverse.
1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent with Doubled Die Obverse.

Why Do People Collect the 1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent?

The 1969-S Lincoln Memorial cent is collected by many people for many reasons.

Among Lincoln cent enthusiasts, the coin is, at the very least, coveted for its merits as a business-strike and Proof issue produced by the San Francisco Mint and serves as a necessary addition to a date-and-mintmark series collection.

For die variety aficionados, the 1969-S Lincoln cent is the canvas for one of the most popular and scarcest doubled die varieties ever produced.

For others still, the 1969-S Lincoln cent is a relic from a year that saw the famous Woodstock music festival in upstate New York, the landing of the first men on the Moon, and intense battles in the Vietnam War.

What is the Value of a 1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent?

As a regular-issue business strike, the 1969-S Lincoln cent is not a particularly scarce issue and because of this, the run-of-the-mill example that one finds in change is not that valuable.

More than a half-billion 1969-S Lincoln cents were struck and released into general circulation, where they are found in dwindling numbers today. Many individuals who are not aware of this coin’s high mintage believe the 1969-S cent is a rare coin mainly due to its seemingly unusual “S” mintmark – something most non-collectors would not typically encounter.

Expect to pay $2.00 to $3.00 for a run of the mill Brilliant Uncirculated example with full red color. Examples that have been professionally graded by CAC, NGC, or PCGS will command more significant premiums as typically only Gem Uncirculated (MS65RD) or better coins are submitted. A recent sale of a PCGS MS65RD 1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent on eBay sold at the Buy It Now price of $14.95.

Beware, unknowledgeable (or unethical) sellers on eBay will list Brown coins as red, Proof coins as Uncirculated, run of the mill strikes as rare doubled dies. Occasionally, unsuspecting and unknowledgeable buyers will pay exorbitant sums for coins that are worth no more than a $1.00. In the past thirty days, we’ve noticed sales of low value 1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cents on eBay for sums over $1,000. eBay should do a better job in regulating its collectibles category, as these egregious listings occur frequently. Counterfeit coins are also a problem on this platform and ETSY as well.

Even in circulated grades, the 1969-S Lincoln Memorial cents are worth more than face value. This is not due to collector interest, but due to the fact that the coin’s intrinsic copper content is worth more than face value. At present it is not legal to melt down copper cents to extract copper bullion, but it is worth noting that all pre-1982 copper cents are worth more than two cents in the bullion perspective.

The 1969-S Doubled Die Lincoln Cent

There is one 1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent that stands out above all of the rest and it is the 1969-S Doubled Die. A doubled die is a mint error caused when the image on the die is misaligned during the hubbing process. In the case of the 1969-S Doubled Die Lincoln Cent, the impressions were slightly rotated, leaving a doubled image that is visible to the naked eye.

1969-S Lincoln Cent, with the Doubled Die Obverse
1969-S Lincoln Cent, with the Doubled Die Obverse. Unless the coin is certified by CAC, NGC, or PCGS, we advise against buying.

When it comes to this category of mint error, the more obvious the doubling, the more interesting it is to collectors. Beyond the interest level, the 1969-S Doubled Die is exceedingly rare.

According to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), it is believed that approximately 100 of these doubled die cents were released into circulation. On authentic 1969-S doubled die coins, doubling will be seen on the date and most areas of lettering, most especially in the inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. One area of the obverse where one doubling will not be seen is in the “S” mintmark, which was punched onto the die separately.

Circulated 1969-S doubled die cents are generally worth $10,000 USD and up, while uncirculated specimens typically sell for $35,000 to $50,000 or more. The highest price realized to date is $126,500 – the amount paid during a Heritage Auctions event in January 2008 for a Red, Mint State 64 specimen of this highly sought-after variety. Several counterfeit specimens of the 1969-S doubled die cent were produced in 1969, and some may still survive.

It is therefore recommended that individuals who believe they possess a 1969-S doubled die Lincoln cent should have their coin certified to verify its authenticity. Similar suggestions apply to those who wish to buy a 1969-S doubled die Lincoln cent. In today’s world of convincing counterfeits, there is no good reason that any authentic 1969-S doubled die cent should ever be bought or sold unless encapsulated in sonically sealed plastic from a major, reputable third-party coin certification service.



The obverse of the 1969-S Lincoln cent was designed some 60 years earlier by sculptor Victor David Brenner, whose initials VDB appear in tiny print under the shoulder of Abraham Lincoln’s bust (which clearly dominates the front side of the coin). The right-facing profile of Lincoln shows the 16th president during his time as the nation’s commander in chief at the height of the Civil War, which spanned from 1861 through 1865, the latter being the year President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

To the right of Lincoln is the date 1969, and centered under the date is the “S” mintmark of the San Francisco Mint. Behind Lincoln’s head is the inscription LIBERTY. Centered along the upper rim of the coin, in an arc over Lincoln’s head, is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.


1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent Reverse.
1969-S Lincoln Memorial Cent Reverse.

The reverse of the 1969-S Lincoln Memorial cent is anchored by an elevation view of the iconic Washington, D.C. memorial dedicated to the iconic president. The relatively high detail of the Lincoln Memorial design is sharp enough to reveal a tiny visage of Lincoln sitting in his chair, replicating the 19-foot-tall statue visitors will encounter inside the actual monument, which was dedicated in 1922.

Below the image of the Lincoln Memorial is the coin’s denomination, ONE CENT, and along the top center of the rim is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed in two lines under the legend and above the Lincoln Memorial design. Designer Frank Gasparro’s “FG” initials are seen at the bottom right of the Lincoln Memorial just above a shrub.


The edge of the 1969-S Lincoln Memorial cent is smooth, without inscriptions.


Victor David Brenner was a notable sculptor and engraver who emigrated to the United States from Lithuania (View Designer’s Profile).

Frank Gasparro was the 10th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1965 to 1981 (View Designer’s Profile).

Coin Specifications

Country:  United States
Year Of Issue:  1969
Denomination:  1 Cent
Mint Mark:  S (San Francisco)
Mintage:  544,375,000 (Business Strike); 2,934,631 (Proof); 100 (Doubled Die, estimated)
Alloy:  95% Copper, 5% Zinc
Weight:  3.11 grams
Diameter:  19 mm
Edge Smooth, Plain
OBV Designer  Victor David Brenner
REV Designer  Frank Gasparro
Quality:  Business Strike, Proof



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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  1. I have a double Rim 1969 S penny i want to know its value. And who i can send it to to be graded? Thank you Diana Stafford. I can send pictures. And maybe someone can let me know if i should send it to get a pro grader.

    • Hi Diana . Did any one get back to u on that amazing fiend . If so please get back to me. I also have found the same one . My name is Lino .. hope to here good news …thank you an have a good night an happy coin hunting

      • What are the e odds of someone getting back in lose change a 1969S double die obverse Lincoln penny? Because it happened to me.! Okay, what are the odds of someone later on in life getting lose change and gaining a SECOND 1969S double die Lincoln penny? This time its a red cent! I have two 1969s Lincoln penny s that I’m sure you or anyone in your company will be interested in! If took upon consideration please reply to

      • No I did not should I send it in to get graded I have no idea what to do we were so excited my husband gave up lol thinks I don’t know anything about coins

      • Hey there so from reading all the great news from everyone’s stores on the same thing I have who do we or how to go about this find I have .

  2. I’m not sure if my other post even posted but I have a 1969 s marked double die penny with an error within the 1 in the numbers 1969 need info please help

  3. Clinton Elswick- I Have a 1969 S penny double die circulated not to familiar but has doubling in the S for sure. Need info wat to do. Who to talk to

    • its prob a repunched mint mark…they did the mint separate and by hand if it didnt take properly the first time they guys at the mint wound hammer it again

  4. I, have a 1969 s that is d.d I thank and a good 1958, &1957 that I, know is d.d but I,have to many to list could someone please tell me how to get them graded all together I, would say I have 600 to 1000 coins I have collected in the past 15 years thank you for your time. Jerry Cantrell / Dalton, Georgia

    • If that 1958 is a San Francisco mint and DDO it is worth more than the 69. Double the value depending on grade. Just call PCGS and they will walk you through the grading process

      • Thank you Robert for that information. I have been novice collecting error pennies for some time. I’m planning to get graded and put on market soon. What kind of price ranges should I expect from a reputable grader. And where or whom should I contact to find one in my area.
        Thank u for any advice u can share with me

      • ??? NO 1958 coins carry an S mint mark. Circulation coinage was phased out over 1954-55 and didn’t resume until the mid-1960s, although without a mint mark during 1965-67.

    • You can get it graded through any coin grading service that’s reputable and certifies their findings. There are several out there…just Google them. I hope you’re right and you have one of the 100 they estimate are actually in circulation. I hope it works out for you my friend. Good luck!

  5. If I take a picture of 1959 s looks doubled on date and s mint mark who do I send picture alot of non professional coin colkecters don,t have the money to get it graded or don,t know enough about process Danny g

    • Please check your coin again. As I noted in my response to Robert Smith, no coins were struck at San Francisco from 1956 to 1964.

  6. Hello . I found an 1935 with D mint mark. .in coin roll hunting like a month ago. I tried to get it graded PCGS cuz I have membership
    with them but they said that they can’t cuz it’s not in the cherries picker guide. So i think it nite be a discovery coin of an wheat penney. Can any one help me . want to know where I. Can take it. Too see if I found a discovery coin , very close to mint condition

  7. Download PCGS’s app coinfacts. It’s a very informative guide to errors and varieties that they except plus highest grade and price of all us coins. I have a membership too and I use that app religiously. 1935 Denver mint in a 66 is worth about $135, not worth sending off if to me

  8. I have just found 2 1969 pennies…one has the ‘s’ and the other has a ‘d’. I am very curious to see if I have found a pretty penny lol . How do I go about finding out?

    • Only the S-mint doubled die is rare. Unless you have one of those or either coin is a high-grade uncirculated piece, I’m afraid all you have is 2¢. Over half a billion 1969-S cents were minted and over FOUR billion were struck at Denver.

  9. Hey everyone, two weeks ago I found 2 1969 s penny’s in 1 roll along with a few others worth keeping.
    Who would be the best to have these looked at ?
    Where I live I don’t really trust the coin dealers around here.

      • You’re going to have to have the penny graded in order to realize any real profit from it. You need to find good references and photographs of an actual double die 1969 as mint mark penny and compare yours by the photographs if you believe them to be a match then it’s worth having graded if not save your money. And don’t worry if you have it graded and it’s a 1969 has to double die the buyers will find you

  10. I have an unopened uncirculated roll of 1969s pennies. Do I open the roll to check each one? I also have an unopened uncirculated roll of 1974 pennies. I would appreciate someone letting me know what to do.

  11. John m. I have a 1969-S DDo (date and S only.). I had a coin shop look at it and they said it would grade MS .They started writing up the description to send it to NGS. I decided to wait and do it myself. In there description they described my coin as a (1969-S DDO wheat Cent) with a note to NGS- “Please check for mint error and Date” ??? I am confused…..

    • Something is very wrong if it was described as a wheat cent. Except for one suspected transitional error strike, the last wheat cents were minted in 1958.

  12. The other point about the 1969 cents is that the dies were recut to give a sharper portrait. Look at the 1968 cent, Lincoln resembles a chocolate bunny left on the oven.

    • I found 4 69-S Pennies and about 15-20 69-D in the last week and not sure who to contact about them. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

  13. Well id like to say I have a 1969 wp I just cant exactly the mint is A D or S I also have 1919 1939 19301926 1930 no mints wp 1942 p 1942 d 1944d 1946 no mint 1947 s wp 1949 d 1951 d 1958 4 of them with d mint mark 1980 no mint 1987 no mint Are this worth anything?

  14. I also have the 1919. 1934 ,4 44,s. 3 46,s. 55 58 all the sixty,s all the seventies n eighty, s. Got like six of the 1982 penny’s. All with the funky. 8 and 2. In the date.

  15. Go to coppercoins.com and get in touch with John Wexler….I think he does all the new discoveries….just go on the site and find his email address….he should be able to answer your questions..

  16. Dear folks I have so many coins with mint marks smalls s 1969 ,Buffalo nicklele 3 1/2 leg bicenentral Quaters , half dollars Kennedy. Hundred of wheat penny’s. Can sell to collector its a a big hipe. Dealers tell me they can buy bags full for a few dollars. Very disappointing. I’ve really belive no one sell coins for the prices they say on I internet.

  17. Hello I have a double die 1969 s penny. Very obvious in the N and W. I have another that isn’t double die. But it’s noticeable theost in those two letters. How would I get this coin and other appraised or at least looked at to determine the double die?

  18. I have one of these, not in the same exact quality , as it circulated, clear stamped… The coin shops nearby couldn’t find value. How do i get a buyer?

  19. Hi my name’s Mitchell I have a 1969 s mint mark penny not quite sure if it’s double died but anyone take a look at it and give me their opinion

  20. I have a 1969s and it doesn’t have the fg on the back of it. Does that make it worth getting graded or do I not bother?

  21. Salve celo anche io la moneta one cent 1969s dove poso valutare grazie mille cio anche altre date dal 1922 fino 2009 mi manca cualche sono intorno 2000 mila grazie mille

  22. Hello all coiin collectors I am sorry to say this but I am one of you guys when started collecting coins ,spent hours to look for rare coins.It was fun when you find error coin, but in reality it doesn’t matter if you find a 1969 S 1955 and 1958 which is difficult to find one .
    Circulation coin when you find one of them will not give you much money to sell.The coin that will have value is the coin highest graded which is you are not gonna find at circulation coin.
    The only 6 coins have value from circulation
    1943 bronze penny 1944 steel penny 1974 D aluminum penny.1982 d small number and 1992 d close AM you will find it at the reverse from America.If you want to have a good coins you have to buy mint set proof set to have a high grade.Thank you all and good luck.

  23. @Janis:
    /* Dear folks I have so many coins with mint marks smalls s 1969 ,Buffalo nicklele 3 1/2 leg bicenentral Quaters , half dollars Kennedy. Hundred of wheat penny’s. Can sell to collector its a a big hipe. Dealers tell me they can buy bags full for a few dollars. Very disappointing. I’ve really belive no one sell coins for the prices they say on I internet. */

    In an effort to unpack your post … Remember, dealers are in business to make a profit. They’re of course only going to pay the wholesale prices for coins they accept, not the retail prices you’ll find posted at most “whatzit worth” sites. Also depending on the amount of organization in your collection they’ll want to allow for the time it takes them to separate and grade everything. Bottom line, on a good day the buying price may be only 60-65% of the selling price.

    Finally, many of the coins you mention _are_ considered to be common. People saved oceans of Kennedy halves on speculation, often erroneously including post-1971 issues that are made of cupronickel and have no added value. Ditto for Bicentennial* quarters* which were saved as keepsakes, then were spent when no market developed. They (very) occasionally still show up in change. As for the pennies*, unless the boxes include older “wheaties” (from around 1935 or earlier) the majority be only worth 5 to 10 cents each and will end up in the store’s grab-box.

    (*) I think you meant “Bicentennial”, “quarter”, “nickel”, “hype”, “pennies”, and other things that Spellcheck should catch.

  24. I have what I think Is a triple die 1969 s penny. Outer rim of penny looks like Three steps.
    I also came across a1917 no mint Mark Penny .
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks Guys. Shane

  25. I agree I’m still learning and will always be learning and I recently has started getting on eBay after I accumulated some extras and every offer that I get they asked me to get a gift card. Believe me I haven’t I know that’s a scam and a big red flag and to be honest, sometimes I just use eBay to show off some of my stuff before I get things authenticated and it’s me just letting go of the items for that long period of time because I do have a 1969S that has been struck twice DDO strike through and only way I can get validation is through a third-party and I’m in Georgia California is a long way, but those are the people to go too.. that coin has been featured on America most wanted, which is interesting for the two gentlemen making counterfeits. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

  26. Ok I have a circulated 1969 S U.S penny faintly floating roof but the other thing is the I in liberty is missing any help on what the price would be ty…not graded

  27. hello everyone. I too have a 1969-S coin DD, but I have a definite ODDITY on the back side of my penny. The word OF is not there, it skips the entire word. If you look very close with a mag, glass, you can see where it is imprinted ever so lightly.Also the word UNUM only the UN is present. Anyone else have these same traits? Ill be glad to send photos

  28. I actually just found on and looked it up. It really worth 100 something thousand dollars? How do I trade it? Where do I go?


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