US Coins

No 1959-D Lincoln cent is graded higher than this one

With continuous production over more than a century, the Lincoln cent is the longest-running U.S. coin and definitely one of the most popular.

Both Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. offer registry sets where collectors can enter their coins and compete for best collection honors. This has put pressure on common modern coins in the top grades, including Lincoln cents.

But as more modern coins are certified over time, the prices of some pure condition rarities may decline, unless there is an influx of new collectors to increase demand. 

Here is one of three notable Lincoln cents we’re profiling in a three-part Market Analysis:

The Lot:

1959-D Lincoln cent, Mint State 67+ Red

The Price:


The Story:

In 1959 Victor David Brenner’s “Wheat” reverse, which had been in use since 1909, gave way to Frank Gasparro’s Lincoln Memorial reverse. The change honored the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, and the reverse would change again in 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary and again in 2010, to a new regular design.

Lincoln cent

Lincoln cent:  The popular Lincoln cent has gone through several reverse updates since it was introduced in 1909 to honor the nation's 16th president on the 100th anniversary of his birth. How much are Lincoln cents worth?

As a new type, 1959 Lincoln cents struck at both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints were saved in large quantities. The 1959-D Lincoln cents become rare in the highest grades, as shown at a February 2016 auction by GreatCollections when the online auctioneer sold a 1959-D Lincoln cent graded PCGS MS-67+ red for $3,432.

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While PCGS has graded nearly 80 1959-D Lincoln cents in MS-67 red and these sell for around $200, the absence of any PCGS MS-68 examples puts pressure on the three MS-67+ red examples that are the finest currently certified by PCGS. It’s curious to think what would happen to the price of these three if PCGS were to certify an example graded MS-68 red.

More high-grade, high-priced Lincoln cents:

1997 Lincoln centOne 1997 Lincoln cent recently sold for $763; here’s why:Less than 20 years old, this 1997 Lincoln cent graded MS-68 red by PCGS is a reminder that we should always be watching our pocket change.

1979 Lincoln centWhy a few ‘tiny ticks’ didn’t keep this Lincoln cent from bringing a high price:The average person would find it hard to accept that a 1979 Lincoln cent — a coin with a mintage of just over 6 billion — can be worth thousands of dollars.

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