Are you a fan of Abraham Lincoln? Do you enjoy collecting memorabilia, including coins featuring famous presidents? If so, one coin that might catch your attention is the 1969 penny. This large and impressive cent was minted in large quantities to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the late president.
The 1969 penny is not considered rare due to its high mintage. However, if you know what to look for, such as spotting errors, you can buy or sell it profitably. In fact, some of these errors can fetch hundreds of dollars!
In this article, we will explore the value of the 1969 penny, helping you make an informed decision whether you want to buy or sell this coin. So, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
1969 Penny Value Chart
Let’s start by looking at the value chart for the 1969 penny:
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|No Mint Mark Brown Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$7.50|
|No Mint Mark Red Brown Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$15|
|No Mint Mark Red Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$300|
|D Penny Brown Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$7.50|
|D Penny Red Brown Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$15|
|D Red Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$380|
|S Brown Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$7.50|
|S Red Brown Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$20|
|S Red Penny Value||$0.05||$0.05||$0.05||$400|
|S Penny Value (Proof)||–||–||–||$28|
History of the 1969 Penny
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is known for his opposition to slavery and his significant contributions to American history. To honor his memory, a coin was minted 44 years after his assassination.
The Lincoln penny was first struck in 1909 to commemorate Lincoln’s 100th birthday. Victor David Brenner was commissioned by the United States Mint to design the coin’s obverse and reverse.
The obverse features a right-facing portrait of President Lincoln, with the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” around the coin’s rim at the top. On the left side, behind Lincoln’s back, the word “LIBERTY” is imprinted. The date “1969” appears on the right, in front of Lincoln’s chest. In some less-worn coins, you may also notice the initials “VDB” near Lincoln’s shoulder, honoring the coin’s designer.
The reverse of the 1969 penny showcases the Lincoln Memorial Hall, built in honor of President Lincoln in 1922. Frank Gasparro designed this side of the coin. The reverse also includes the country’s name along the rim at the top, the denomination “ONE CENT” at the bottom, and the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” at the top of the Memorial Hall. Near the stairs, you can find the initials “FG,” honoring Frank Gasparro.
The 1969 penny is made of 95% copper and 5% zinc. It weighs 3.11 grams and has a diameter of 19.00 millimeters. The coin’s color can vary from brown to red, depending on wear and exposure to the elements. Some coins bear a mint mark “D” to indicate they were struck in Denver.
Features of the 1969 Penny
Now, let’s explore the unique physical characteristics of the 1969 penny:
The Obverse of the 1969 Penny
The obverse side of the coin features a right-facing portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, designed by Victor Brenner. The words “IN GOD WE TRUST” appear around the coin’s rim at the top. On the left side, behind Lincoln’s back, the word “LIBERTY” is imprinted. The date “1969” can be found on the right, in front of Lincoln’s chest. In some less-worn coins, you may notice the initials “VDB” near Lincoln’s shoulder, honoring the coin’s designer.
The Reverse of the 1969 Penny
The reverse side of the coin showcases the Lincoln Memorial Hall, built in honor of President Lincoln in 1922. Designed by Frank Gasparro, this image portrays a seated Lincoln, representing the 19-foot statue inside the actual Memorial Hall in Washington, D.C. Apart from the Memorial Hall, you can find the country’s name along the rim at the top, the denomination “ONE CENT” at the bottom, and the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” at the top of the Memorial Hall. Near the stairs, you will notice the initials “FG,” honoring Frank Gasparro.
Other features of the 1969 penny include its composition of 95% copper and 5% zinc, its weight of 3.11 grams, and its diameter of 19.00 millimeters. The color of the coin can range from brown to red, depending on wear and exposure. Some coins bear the mint mark “D” to indicate they were struck in Denver.
1969 Penny Value Guides
The U.S. Mint produced a large number of Lincoln pennies in 1969, with more than 5 billion pennies struck by the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints combined. So, how much is the 1969 penny worth? Let’s take a look at the value of each variety:
1969 No Mint Mark Penny Value
Approximately 1,136,910,000 Lincoln pennies were struck in Philadelphia in 1969, making this a large mintage. Many of these coins were released into circulation, making them easily accessible. While you can easily find a 1969 Lincoln penny graded MS65, the coins become scarce as you reach higher grades, like MS68.
In circulated condition, a brown 1969 no-mint mark penny is worth about $0.05. The value increases slightly in mint state, with coins graded MS65 fetching $2.50 and those graded MS67 reaching $7.50. A red penny is more desirable, with fewer dings and scratches, and can fetch as much as $300 at grade MS67. The most expensive 1969 red penny, graded MS67, was sold for $5,750 in 2010.
1969 D Penny Value
The Denver mint struck a staggering 4,002,832,200 pennies in 1969. With such a large mintage, 1969 D pennies are extremely common and unpopular among collectors. Additionally, the quality of these coins is generally lower, as they were poorly struck like most Lincoln pennies from the 1960s. Finding mint state coins in good condition is quite rare.
In circulated condition, a brown 1969 D Lincoln penny is worth $0.05. The few existing mint state specimens are less profitable as well. At grade MS65, you can expect just $2, with a maximum of $7.50 for a coin graded MS67. The most expensive brown 1969 D penny, graded MS67, was sold for $191 at a 2020 online auction. Red 1969 D pennies are scarce, with mint state coins worth about $15 at grade MS66. In 2010, a super-rare MS67 specimen was sold for an impressive $7,475.
1969 S Penny Value
The San Francisco mint struck both regular pennies and proofs in 1969. Approximately 544,375,000 regular Lincoln pennies were struck at this facility, making them quite common. In circulated condition, a brown 1969 S penny is worth $0.05. Mint state coins are more accessible compared to the no-mint mark and Denver varieties. However, they still become scarce at higher grades, such as MS68.
At grade MS67, a brown 1969 S Lincoln penny can fetch $7.50. Red pennies are harder to find in circulated condition but more common in mint state. Mint state coins can reach up to $400 for MS67 pennies.
1969 S Penny Value (Proof)
In addition to the regular strikes, the San Francisco mint produced about 2,934,631 proof Lincoln pennies for collectors in 1969. These coins have a satin finish, brilliant contrasts, and a frosted texture, making them visually appealing to collectors.
The 1969 S-proof pennies are found in red, cameo, and deep cameo varieties, with deep cameo being the highest grade. A red Lincoln proof penny graded PF69 is worth about $28, while a rare example graded PF69 fetched $230 at an online auction. Cameo Lincoln proofs are slightly more valuable, with PF69 coins fetching up to $65. A deep cameo (DCAM) can be sold for up to $625.
When grading 1969 pennies, you should consider the coin’s luster, contact marks, color, and wear and tear on the high points. Uncirculated coins should have a luster, indicating a satin appearance. Contact marks are normal in uncirculated coins and are caused by coins being packed together in rolls or bags. The color of the coin can range from brown to red, with red pennies being more desirable. Finally, check for signs of wear and tear on the high points of Lincoln’s hair, cheeks, and lower shoulder.
Rare 1969 Penny Errors
Although 1969 Lincoln pennies are not particularly valuable in the open market, some error coins from this series can be extremely profitable. Let’s explore a few 1969 penny errors that are worth money:
1969 S Double Die Obverse Penny Error
This is one of the most famous and sought-after errors in the Lincoln coin series. Discovered by collectors Bill Hudson and Ceil Moorhouse in the 1970s, this doubled die error has been the subject of many forgery attempts. It is extremely rare today, with only about 40 to 50 known examples. Visible doubling can be seen around the words “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and on the date. Graded as MS-64 Red by the PCGS, one example was valued at an impressive $126,500.
1969 D No FG Penny Error
Frank Gasparro designed the reverse of the Lincoln Memorial pennies and placed his initials, FG, near the Memorial Hall staircase. However, due to minting errors, some 1969 D pennies do not include these initials. These unique coins are known as 1969 D No FG pennies and can be worth up to $210, depending on their grade.
Is a 1969 penny valuable?
A 1969 penny is worth its face value of $0.05, more or less. This coin is not particularly valuable, especially in circulated condition. However, mint state pennies from this year, especially if they are in gem condition, can be rare and worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you happen to find a red penny in excellent condition, it is advisable to have it certified by a professional coin grader.
Why is the 1969 penny considered rare?
While the 1969 penny is not rare due to its high mintage of over 5 billion coins, mint state examples in higher grades are considered rare. Most of these coins were released into circulation, making mint state coins difficult to find. Additionally, error coins from the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints are relatively scarce.
Does a 1969 penny have a mint mark?
Pennies minted in Denver and San Francisco in 1969 bear mint marks “D” and “S,” respectively, below the date on the obverse. Circulated pennies without a mint mark indicate coins minted in Philadelphia.
That concludes our exploration of the value of the 1969 D penny. If you’re interested in learning more about coins and their values, be sure to check out 5 WS for fascinating information. Happy collecting!