1925 represented a 31% drop in output from the previous year’s total production at the Philadelphia Mint. Despite producing a fraction of the previous year’s coinage, demand for the cent remained quite high. While continuing to strike coins, the Philadelphia Mint installed two new automatic weighing machines in 1925 to help increase production speed. As a result, the Mint struck the largest Lincoln cent mintage since 1920. The official mintage figure of 139,949,000 coins makes this year the 16th smallest Philadelphia mintage of the series. Interestingly, due to the vicissitudes of coin survival, the 1925 is currently the 10th-rarest Philadelphia cent of the series in MS 67 or higher – the 1916 being the ninth, and the 1928 being the 11th.
According to the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint, the United States Mint spent roughly $47,000 in distribution costs for minor coinage, which included the Lincoln cent. These funds were taken from the Government’s seigniorage, or profit made by producing a coin for less money than it is worth in face value.
Despite die wear resulting in some fine detail loss on the 1925 cent, it is still quite common to find examples in high grades with full detail. There is, however, only one recognized variety produced in 1925, ODV 010, called the “Flat Foot” G of GOD.
The 1925 Lincoln Cent in Today’s Market
When not accounting for color designation, this coin is most frequently found in MS 64. However, the MS 65 Red (RD) is the most common grade and color designation combination awarded by both NGC and PCGS, with 790 pieces or 24.28% of the total certified population. In this grade and color designation, a collector can expect to spend between $230 and $250. But a top population example, graded MS 67+ RD, can fetch between $2,500 and $3,000. The auction record for this type was set by an MS 67+ RD at $5,520 in a Heritage Auctions 2021 sale. One half grade lower (straight MS 67 RD), the coin sells for an average of $850. Nevertheless, one eBay sale in 2020 closed for only $18. So there is a high level of variability for this type in high grades. MS 66 RDs sell for an average of $450, and MS 64 RDs for an average of $86.
For pieces with between 10% and 90% of the original red coloration remaining, designated as Red Brown (RB), the prices are dramatically lower than those with the RD designation. Only one sale record exists for an MS 67 RB. Auctioned in 2003, this coin brought in $503 in a Heritage Auctions sale. MS 66 RBs are worth approximately 50% of the same grade in RD and sell for an average of $220. The divide between RB and RD grows in MS 65, with RB examples selling for between $80 and $90. Roughly 30% to 35% of the value commanded by RD examples in the same grade. For all RB examples between MS 64 and MS 60, the price fluctuates between $50 and $60.
Brown (BN) examples are by far the color designation least commonly sent in for grading and are therefore underrepresented in the official census. This is due to the fact that in all grades below Mint State, the coin is worth less than the cost to grade. For example, AU coins sell for $20 to $25, VF pieces for $5 to $10, and lower grades for $1. In MS 60 to 64, BN examples do fetch $40 to $50, only slightly less than RB designated coins. Coins certified as MS 65 BN are lucky to sell for $80 to $90, and the top population BN examples sit at an average of $140.
Designer Victor David Brenner’s portrait of the beloved 16th 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 letters, sans serif, 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.
Victor David Brenner, born in Lithuania in 1871, immigrated to New York at the age of 19. The classically trained sculptor built a group of clients, which included the future president Theodore Roosevelt. Having previously created a medallion of Lincoln, Brenner was contracted by Roosevelt in 1908 to use one of his previous images of the 16th president for a new design of the 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|
|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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