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JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF/KODE) — Lincoln Wheat pennies are one of the most popular series of U.S. coins with which collectors strive to build a complete set.

Rare coins such as the 1909-S VDB and 1914-D are the “Holy Grails” of any Lincoln Wheat cent collection. Before you go down the path of building a complete set of Lincoln Wheat pennies, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

“Wheat pennies are one of the two most popular U.S. coins that are collected. The other one that’s very popular is the old Morgan Silver Dollar. Between both coins, there’s a lot of varieties, so a penny is not just a penny, they’re all unique. The value really comes down to a few qualities on the coins,” said Dave Sorrick, coin expert and collector at “In God We Trust, LLC.”

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The United States Mint first minted the Lincoln Wheat penny, or “Wheatie” as they are sometimes called, in 1909. Victor D. Brenner designed the coin under the direction of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was on a mission to redesign our nation’s coinage. Former President Abraham Lincoln was chosen as a subject for the penny to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Any wheat penny is worth at least four cents to most dealers. Given the popularity of collecting Lincoln Wheat cents, there will always be a demand for quality coins. If you’re interested in wheat pennies that are worth more money, Sorrick said you’ll need to have high-grade, quality coins.

The value of a Lincoln Wheat penny, by date, can be found at sources like

“There are millions and millions of wheat pennies and most commonly they trade for three-to-five cents a piece. If you’re looking for a particular date, it can be much, much more than that. The rarest is the 1909 VDB. Those can be worth anywhere from $700 to $1,500 depending on the coin’s grade. Now, if you’re lucky enough to have one that’s uncirculated, particularly if it’s graded by one of the major grading companies, those alone are $2,000 and $3,000 coins,” said Sorrick.

Regardless of the condition or grade, many collectors do not consider their coin collection complete without the Lincoln Wheat penny. But beware — there are counterfeit Wheat pennies floating around. So, before celebrating early retirement with your newfound fortune, it’s a good idea to have your coin collection authenticated by a reputable coin dealer.

Price guides will give you an idea of the value of collectible coins. You can usually find those online and that would give a person an idea of the coin’s value,” said Sorrick. “To determine the exact amount of worth, I would suggest you talk to a coin collector or a coin dealer.”