People searching for antique coins to trade for dollars still find the 1951 Wheat Penny in uncirculated MS+ condition interesting and valuable. These coins are part of the Lincoln penny series designed by Victor Brenner to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.
The 1951 Wheat Penny is worth $0.05 in fine condition and can be worth $0.79 to $2.28 or more in its uncirculated (MS+) mint condition. As with Proof coins, they are worth up to $74.
This article will cover the 1951 Wheat Penny value, its history, unique features, and everything in between.
- 1951 Wheat Penny: What Is It?
- What is the History Behind the 1951 Wheat Penny?
- What are the Common Features of the 1951 Wheat Penny?
- What is the Value of a 1951 Wheat Penny?
- What are the Factors Affecting the 1951 Wheat Penny Value?
- How Many Were 1951 Wheat Pennies Minted?
- What is the reason for the 1951 Wheat Penny Mintage?
- Is 1951 Wheat Penny Collectible?
1951 Wheat Penny: What Is It?
Also referred to as the 1951 Lincoln Penny, the 1951 Wheat Penny is part of the Lincoln wheat penny series. The coin is one of the one-cent coins designed by famous sculptor Victor Brenner in 1909.
After its official issue in 1951, the 1951 Wheat Penny was put into circulation. It is called “wheat penny” due to its two wheat stalks feature on the reverse side.
What is the History Behind the 1951 Wheat Penny?
The wheat penny series was first introduced in the early 1900s when President Theodore Roosevelt was concerned about the coins’ lack of artistic appeal.
During those times, there was also no congress ban restricting new coin designs. In return, the US mint, alongside the treasury, hired a sculptor to redesign the eagle gold, double, half, and quarters coins. This also happened to the cent coins.
Sculptor Victor Brenner grabbed the chance to design the Lincoln wheat cents. His designs got the approval of the treasury for the official release.
The US experienced a cash crunch because of the massive financial investment caused by World War I in the mid-1930s. Therefore, the US government decided to require more money necessary to support the increased population.
The dramatic increase in the Lincoln penny production is due to the cash crunch. So, all US mint produced around 1.05 billion pennies in 1951, known as the 1951 Wheat Penny.
What are the Common Features of the 1951 Wheat Penny?
The 1951 Wheat Pennies are among the most outstanding one-cent coins ever struck in the US. They come with unique features, including:
This 1951 one-cent coin features former President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait.
The obverse face of the coin features Lincoln’s profile bust facing right. The president wears a bow tie and a coat. He appears shoulder-high at the coin’s center.
Above the president’s profile is the “IN GOD WE TRUST” inscription along the upper edge. The “LIBERTY” inscription is close to the left margin. The official issue date is written as “1951” in a straight line and appears to the right.
The coin’s reverse face features two wheat stalks to the left and right margins. The “E PLURIBUS UNUM” inscription is in block letters and appears along the upper rim. Three conspicuous dots separate those three words.
Under the Latin inscription, the coin’s value is written as “ONE CENT.” Then, below the coin’s value are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”
The 1951 one-cent penny features 3 slogans in both obverses and reverses faces.
The “IN GOD WE TRUST” slogan is a religious connotation, symbolizing the religious beliefs of the people of America.
The “LIBERTY” slogan is a founding value that symbolizes freedom from colonial and historical civil wars. You will also notice that the symbolic goddess “Miss Liberty” appears on the pennies.
In 1776, the US approved and adopted the “E PLURIBUS UNUM” slogan. This Latin phrase means “OUT OF MANY, ONE,” which symbolizes the nation’s formation out of many states.
- Mint Marks
The 1951 Wheat Penny series comes with two mint marks that show the origin of the mint that struck the coin. In addition, you will find D (Denver) and S (San Francisco) mint marks on the coins.
On the other hand, coins struck at the Philadelphia mint have no mint marks. If a mint mark is present in a coin, it appears under the issue date on the obverse side.
- Dimensions and Weight
Each 1951 Wheat Penny has a 19.05 mm diameter and weighs 3.11 grams.
- Metals Used
The 1951 penny is made of dominant copper content. Specifically, each composite currency contains 5% of zinc and 95% of copper.
What is the Value of a 1951 Wheat Penny?
Like other wheat pennies, the 1951 Wheat Penny has a lower resale if it is in a lower grade. On the other hand, it can reach a higher price in excellent condition due to its high copper content.
In a fine condition, the 1951 Wheat Penny is worth $0.05, while the value can be $0.79 to $2.28 or even higher in uncirculated mint condition. If you have Proof coins, expect their value to be $79 or more.
In the numismatic market, the standard value for a wheat penny is around 15 cents, which coin trackers gave.
When it comes to the metal value in the 1951 Wheat Penny, the melt value depends on the current copper spot price. The penny is made of 95% copper, and its melt value is around $0.0278 at the numismatic market.
1951 Wheat Penny Worth Based on Grade
|(VG-8) Very Good||–|
|(VF-20) Very Fine||$0.11|
|(EF-40) Extremely Fine||$0.28|
|(AU-50) About Uncirculated||$0.39|
What are the Factors Affecting the 1951 Wheat Penny Value?
Several factors impact the 1951 Wheat Penny value, regardless of the origin of the mint. These factors include:
· Grade (Condition)
If a coin is in excellent condition, it offers a higher value in the market. You can determine the 1951 penny with the following grading:
- Very Fine
A 1951 Wheat Penny in very fine condition has wear on both sides and visible scratches. Likewise, the jawbones and cheeks on Lincoln’s portrait show wear signs.
- Extremely Fine
If you see that a 1951 penny has slight wear signs on both sides, but the details are still intact, it is considered an extremely fine coin.
- Uncirculated (MS 63RB)
The coin has a slight luster appeal and still has the reddish-brown appearance in the uncirculated (MS 63RB) condition. You will also see a few blemishes and contact marks on the prominent features.
- Uncirculated (MS 65RB)
The penny’s highest grade is the uncirculated (MS 65RB). A coin will pass this condition if it has a prominent luster and a strong appeal, the same as its condition at the time of striking.
In this condition, the coin should also have a reddish-brown color and very few contact marks – almost unnoticeable to the naked eye.
- Collectible Error
The same with other 1951 Lincoln pennies, this one also has errors. These errors include double strikes missing dates and visible lamination breaks.
- Mint Marks
The mint mark found in the 1951 pennies is a critical determinant of the coin’s value. It details the mint and its issue date. The mint mark can be equivalent to a better value if it is still visible.
How Many Were 1951 Wheat Pennies Minted?
Three mints produced the 1951 Wheat Pennies, each with specific production numbers. For example, the Denver Mint produced 625,355,000 wheat pennies in 1951. The Philadelphia Mint produced a total of 284,576,000 coins.
The San Francisco Mint produced fewer coins than the two mints at that time, with only 136,010,000 Lincoln coins.
While 1951 Pennies are common in circulated grades and nearly all Mint State grades, finding coins without wear and spots are always challenging. In fact, uncirculated coins will require extra effort to find them. But, on the bright side, eye appeal and resale value are all worth it.
What is the reason for the 1951 Wheat Penny Mintage?
The 1951 Wheat pennies were produced out of necessity, similar to other wheat pennies. The primary purpose of the mintage is to commemorate former President Lincoln’s 100th anniversary. The drive to honor the president came from the citizens who proposed producing unique Lincoln coins.
No coins have ever used the president’s portrait before the Lincoln pennies. So, these coins have changed the US currencies significantly.
Is 1951 Wheat Penny Collectible?
Many coin collectors consider the 1951 Wheat Penny a critical collectible item. Aside from being one of the US’s most unique coins with rich history, the coin’s value also rises day by day.
While the coins are not rare, finding the ones with the highest can be challenging. However, this challenge affects the coin’s supply and demand as many collectors are interested in the coins and hunt for them, and the demand increases while the supply decreases.
The PCGS graded the 1951 Lincoln penny with 45, making the coins among the highest-valued in the US. The coin is over 70 years and is one of the most prized US coin collections.
Initially, the design on the coin was also a former president, George Washington. However, the 1951 Wheat coin was the first to be released. This makes it the first-ever commemorative coin ever minted.
The 1951 Wheat Penny plays a critical role in the US currencies and the nation’s entire history. If you plan to make it part of your coin collection, hopefully, the ideas above helped you.