How Much is a 1949 Wheat Penny Worth? (Price Chart)

What is the 1949-penny value? What are your chances of getting one from a roll? Why do people collect them? The year 1949 is an amazing year to collect for many reasons. First, it’s part of the Lincoln Wheat family of pennies- the first pennies to have a president on their portrait.

The 1949-penny value is about 3 to 4 cents in good condition. Uncirculated coins fetch about a dollar. But, rare pieces with errors can cost between $100 and $100

In this article, you’ll find the prices, features, and history of the coin. Also, see the different varieties and how to identify them, so read on!

What is the 1949 Penny?

What is the 1949 Penny
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The penny is the smallest denomination of United States currency. The 1949 penny was part of the Lincoln Wheat Pennies family that features Abraham Lincoln’s image on the front. The back shows two ears of wheat and. The one-cent coin is 95% copper and 5% zinc, with a weight of 2.5 grams & a diameter of 0.750 inches.

The coins were produced at three locations across the country- Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. And, each piece costs about 1 cent to make each penny because they are composed primarily of zinc with a thin copper coating on top for coloration.

Brief Summary of the 1949 Lincoln Wheat Penny

  • Main Features: Abraham Lincoln’s portrait on the obverse and two wheat stalks on the reverse
  • Denomination: One cent ($0.01)
  • Pawnshop Value: $0.04
  • Metal Composition: 95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc
  • Diameter: 19 mm
  • Mass / Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Mint: Philadelphia (No Mintmark)
  • Designer: Victor D Brenner
  • Mintage Number: 217,775,000 coins

History of the 1949 Lincoln Penny

History of the 1949 Lincoln Penny

The 1949 wheat penny is part of the Lincoln Wheat pennies minted to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. They were first coined in 1909 and continued to be minted until 1958.

In 1949, the US and the world at large were recovering from the losses of the Second World War. There was a concerted effort to rebuild the country and recover from the economic downturn in the US. Due to the high demand for copper during the war, the US mint had to look for a substitute. In 1943, the US mint adopted steel blanks to conserve copper. The pennies made from this alloy were not slated for general use, but they used them in unique sets called ‘special mint sets,’ which contained proof-like coins. Today, the 1949 wheat pennies are mostly used as collectibles.

Reason for Minting the 1949 Wheat Penny

In 1945, copper prices rose to a point where it became necessary to reduce the size of the coin so that they could make pennies mainly from steel instead. The new penny weighed 2 grams lighter than its predecessor weigh but had almost identical dimensions otherwise.

Mintage of the 1949 Wheat Penny

1949 Wheat Penny Mint Location Pieces Minted
1949 (no mintmark) Philadelphia 217,775,000
1949-D Denver 153,132,500
1949-S San Francisco 64,290,000

1949 had no proof pennies.

 

Features of the 1949 Lincoln Penny

The ’49 wheat penny’s proximity to the end of World War II in August 1945 dramatically influences its features. The major social, political and economic events at the time changed the minting of US coins forever. And, the coin was not silver like most of its pre-war predecessors in the wheat series. Also, the post-war Lincoln cents have less copper.

The Obverse

The Obverse 1

The obverse of the 1949 Lincoln Penny displays the smallest and most detailed rendition of Abraham Lincoln’s portrait, in which almost all key features are razor sharp. The obverse legend lettering is thin and crisp, while the date digits are bold in serif patterns.

The president faces right, with his signature bowtie. At the top of the portrait is the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST. Then, the word LIBERTY appears at the left near the rim, while the right has the minting year 1949.

The Reverse

The Reverse 1

The reverse features a bald eagle with wings spread wide to reveal bold detail in its feathers. Its head is turned sharply toward the left, and its beak holds a single olive branch. On this side of the coin, inscriptions include the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM to the left of the eagle’s breast, ONE CENT below its wings LIBERTY at its top rim. The reverse legend lettering is thick and well defined, while the date digits are thin at their center and slightly bolder towards their borders.

1949-Penny Value

1949-Penny Value

The price of a 1949 wheat penny largely depends on its condition and mint Mark.  With 95% copper and 5% tin and glue, this penny is cheaper than its silver counterparts, but it only has a face value of 1 cent. It’s certainly worth more in numismatic value. The standard price for a 1949 and at the pawnshop is about $0.10 in Fine Condition.

The uncirculated pieces also cost a lot differently. For instance, the MS-63RB grade goes for around $1. Then the uncirculated MS-63RB is about $3. If you have the MS-65RB quality, then you can cash in upto$4.

Grade\Type of 1949 Penny 1949 1949 (D) 1949 (S)
Good 0.04 $0.04 $0.40
Fine $0.10 $0.10 $0.10
Extremely Fine $0.20 $0.20 $0.20
Uncirculated $0.35 $0.35 $0.35

 

Factors that Affect the Price of the 1949 Lincoln Wheat Penny

Factors that Affect the Price of the 1949 Lincoln Wheat Penny
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In 1949, the United States Mint produced more than 400 million pennies. And as is the case with many mass-produced items, collectors seek several varieties of this coin. In addition to finding variations in date placement and mintmark location, one must also look for proof coins and errors.

Here are distinct features that influence the value of the 1949 penny:

The Mint Mark

The Mint mark on the penny  is located on the reverse side of the coin – it is small and is placed under the “U” in “UNITED STATES.” If your 1949 Lincoln Wheat Penny does not have a mintmark, you can assume it was struck at Philadelphia. The 1949 penny was produced both with and without a mintmark denoting which facility struck this coin. This coin was struck at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints.

1949-S Lincoln Wheat Penny

The 1949-S penny is a scarce coin that many collectors seek. Indicating San Francisco Mint struck it. This penny is worth more than a regular 1949 Lincoln Wheat Penny, with its low mintage and “S” mintmark added value.

The rarity and errors of the 1949 Lincoln penny coin

Rare features and errors increase the numismatic value of a coin. Some of the rarer 1949 pennies feature:

  • A repunched mintmark – a slight indent is visible where the “S” was stamped into this die.
  • An enlarged or double-struck mintmark – This coin features an oversized version of the “S” mintmark, indicating that the dies may have struck it twice.
  • A doubled die – This coin has a doubling on the obverse or reverse of the coin.

The condition of the 1949 Lincoln Penny

The condition of a coin shows whether it’s Good, Fine, Extremely Fine or Uncirculated. Such a state of the 1949 Lincoln Penny will also influence its value.

  • Good: A well-worn 1949 penny may be priced at $0.50 or less, though collectors may pay more for this coin if it features an “S” mintmark or other rare feature that increases its numismatic value.
  • Fine: A detailed and lightly worn coin
  • Extremely Fine: An almost Uncirculated or “Unc” penny with light wear, most often caused by the strike.
  • Uncirculated: An Uncirculated or “Unc” penny has little wear and tear, though there may be breaks in the luster, spotted surfaces or contact marks from other coins. The strike is decisive, with full details on both sides.

Grading the 1949 Lincoln Penny

The grade of a Lincoln cent is based on the amount and type of visible wear to its surface. A 1949 penny that exhibits complete, original design shows little or no evidence of circulation in commerce and will be designated in MS (Mint State) condition. The majority of all wheat cents from this year have been through extensive circulation. So, most examples are at least slightly worn.

Most circulated specimens are found with partial date digits and major rim dings or chips. Also, most examples of this type will exhibit some flatness to their overall appearance; though, that has not precluded them from being deemed collectible. A full strike is rare but possible on wheat cents from this era. The most desirable of a given year will have a whole date number and possess a fully defined portrait, especially on the obverse.

 

1949 Lincoln Penny Value FAQs

1949 Lincoln Penny Value FAQs

What is the value of a 1949 Lincoln penny in good condition?

The value of a penny in “Good” condition is approximately $0.50 or lower.

What is the value of a 1949 Lincoln penny that has been lightly cleaned?

A light cleaning will likely decrease the value of a 1949 Lincoln Penny by about 50 percent.

How much is a 1949 Lincoln Penny worth in Extremely Fine condition?

A coin grading “Extremely Fine” may be priced at $4 or higher, though it can go as high as $30 for an “Uncirculated” penny with no signs of wear and tear.

What is the value of a 1949 Lincoln penny in Almost Uncirculated (AU) condition?

A coin grading “Almost Uncirculated” (AU) can be priced at $10 or higher. A 1949 Lincoln Penny in “Uncirculated” condition may be worth over $100.

What is the value of a 1949 Lincoln penny that has been bent and then flattened?

A bent and then flattened coin will not increase its value. Coins that have been damaged in this way sell for the price of the metal within them, such as copper and nickel (depending on their composition).

Winding Up: Is the 1949 Penny Worth it?

The 1949 Lincoln penny is an oldie but a goodie. Minted in 1949 in Philadelphia, the coin features Abraham Lincoln’s portrait on the obverse and a pair of wheat stalks on the reverse. The coin has an estimated worth of $1 to $2 if it’s in good condition or up to $4 if uncirculated.

If you’re lucky enough to have found one while hunting for treasures at estate sales, flea markets, or antique stores, then congratulations! But before you start spending your newfound wealth; be sure to know how much your 1949 Lincoln wheat cents are worth. But before selling them off, remember people have been duped into thinking theirs are valuable when they really aren’t! We can help with any questions you might have regarding the 1949 penny value and grading – contact us today!

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