Lincoln Cent 1976

1976 was an important year in American Numismatics. The Bicentennial quarter, half dollar and dollar had been released, featuring Jack Ahr’s drummer, Seth Huntington’s view of Independence Hall and Dennis William’s Liberty Bell, respectively.

But from the start, United States Mint Director Mary Brooks was against the idea of changing the designs of all six coins then in circulation and so, when she finally changed her mind and supported the idea of circulating commemoratives for the Bicentennial, the Lincoln cent was not among the celebratory denominations.

As the Mint entered the 1970s, mintages for Philadelphia (no mint mark) and Denver (D) business strike Lincoln cents were getting larger and larger. Frank Gasparro’s Lincoln Memorial reverse, which debuted in 1959, saw mintages go from the hundreds of millions to the billions by the mid-’70s. There was a relative dip in production for 1975 and 1976, but mintages were back on the upswing going into the ’80s.

The San Francisco Proof mintage, however, numbered in the millions.

Better minting technology had also been adopted by this time, which meant that cents from the 1970s tended to come nicer than those from previous years, and the strike on the 1976 Lincoln cent is, therefore, sharper on the whole. And thanks to the massive production numbers just mentioned, it is not a difficult prospect to find decent circulated specimens with original luster. Typical Uncirculated examples are worth a very small premium over face value. Examples that sell for premiums are those that are certified in high Mint State grades by either PCGS or NGC.

Uncirculated Brown Philly business strikes in High Mint State (above MS-65) can sell for anywhere from $10 to $20; Red Brown can go as high as $40, and cherry Red examples in MS-66 and above can sell for $30 to almost $90. Denver strikes seem to max out between $10 and $40, going from Brown to Red. Proofs in the highest grades (MS-68 and above) and with especially nice Cameo can garner $40-$100.



The obverse of the 1976 Lincoln cent was designed by Victor David Brenner and appears largely as it did when the type was first minted in 1909. The main difference between the 1976 obverse and the 1909 version is the location of Brenners’ initials, V.D.B., which were added under President Abraham Lincoln’s bust in 1918 after their removal from the reverse in late 1909. The date 1976 appears to the right of Lincoln and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears above the president. On the left of the 16th president is the word LIBERTY.


Frank Gasparro designed the 1959 Lincoln Memorial reverse that replaced the original 1909 Brenner wheat stalk design (the Wheat Cent). Gasparro’s initials FG appear on the lower-right side of the Lincoln Memorial. Below the edifice and along the rim are the words ONE CENT, while the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA run along the top half of the reverse along the rim. Between the top of the Lincoln Memorial and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscription is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.


The edge of the 1976 Lincoln Cent is smooth or plain and without reeding, as are all other Lincoln cents.


Lithuanian-born coin designer Victor David Brenner is best known for his iconic design for the Lincoln cent (1909-Present) (View Designer’s Profile). Frank Gasparro was an American medalist and coin designer (View Designer’s Profile).

Coin Specifications

Country:  USA
Year Of Issue:  1976
Denomination:  One Cent
Mint Mark:  P, D, S
Mintage: 4,674,292,426 (P), 4,221,592,455 (D), 4,149,730 (Proof; S)
Alloy:  95% copper, %5 tin and zinc
Weight:  3.11 g
Diameter:  19.05 mm
Edge: Plain
OBV Designer  Victor David Brenner
REV Designer  Frank Gasparro
Quality: Business Strike, Uncirculated, Proof


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    • As the article notes, over 10 *b*illion were minted and many are still available in high-grade circulated or low-grade uncirculated conditions. A check of various online values sites shows retail prices of a nickel or less, even in MS60.

    • As the article notes, they remain very common because so many were minted. Current retail prices are less than a nickel even in MS60.

      P.S. “a lot”. Hope that helps!

  1. I have a 1975 no mint penny that has a liberty bell and the united states stamped on either side of Lincoln bust and right under the liberty bell it says the word liberty. I’m trying to find out if it is a error or if it is suppose to be like that?

    • Like those “Lincoln facing Kennedy” pennies, it’s a novelty item made by using a punch to alter standard pennies. There are a few “niche collectors” who look for these coins but from a numismatic standpoint they’re considered to be damaged goods with no added value.

      *supposed to

    • It’s a novelty item made by using a punch to add the Liberty Bell image to a standard cent. Numismatists consider these and similar things to be altered / damaged coins, so it unfortunately doesn’t have any added value.

    • As the article notes, over 4.67 billion were minted. Unless it’s uncirculated it’s only worth face value to 5¢ because they’re so common.

    • 1944 cents are still common enough to not warrant a significant premium. A coin shop may charge a few cents over face value for one in typical circulated condition.

  2. I have found a Philadelphia minted 1976 Penney unlike the others that I have.
    It has an impressed shape of the state of Mississippi with the letters MS in it.
    Is this what someone may have altered?

  3. I have a 1976 D penny that looks to have been copper clad but I started cleaning it up and is silver tone/ color doesn’t stick to a magnet


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