1937 Wheat Penny Value: How Much Is It Worth Today?
As the lowest-valued coin, it is easy to underestimate the simple penny coin. But throughout history, they have slowly grown in value, and collectors are wising up to their high potential at auction.
The 1937 wheat penny is a prime example of how trash can become a treasure, as these “worthless” coins can quickly sell for thousands of dollars at auction.
So what exactly makes a 1937 wheat penny a one-of-a-kind coin?
This article will explain the 1937 wheat penny value in full. We’ll explain all of the different variations found, including their average value, and highlight unique errors and editions to keep an eye out for.
1937 wheat penny value chart
|1937 No Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value||$0.17||$1.16||$15 to $41||Up to $7,200|
|1937 D Wheat Penny Value||$0.17||$1.16||$9 to $50||Up to $17,250|
|1937 S Wheat Penny Value||$0.17||$1.16||$15 to $69||Up to $2,350|
|1937 No Mint Proof Wheat Penny||–||–||Up to $1,763||Up to $24,675|
1937 No Mint Wheat Penny Value
Philadelphia produced over 309,170,000 wheat pennies in 1937. You can quickly identify if you have one of these pennies if there is no mint mark on the obverse side of the coin.
Like other Lincoln wheat pennies, this coin features the original designs of 1909, designed by Lithuanian sculptor Victor David Brenner. The obverse is a famous portrait of 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, thought to be heavily inspired by Matthew Brady’s photograph of a beardless Lincoln, shot in 1864.
The coin’s reverse shows two sheaves of durum wheat, giving rise to the nickname ‘wheat penny’ in the series. The standard text ‘E Pliruibus Unum’ (Out of Many, One), ‘One Cent,’ and ‘United States of America’ are also featured.
Like other pennies in the series, the 1937 no mint penny is made primarily of copper (95%), with the remainder of zinc (5%). As such, the pennies came in three variations: red, brown, and a mixture. The red penny is arguably the most common, and most auction data used in this article uses this color variation.
Because of their high copper composition, wheat pennies have a slightly higher melt value of $0.027, which makes them worth more than their 1-cent face value. Generally speaking, this means you will almost always make some small profit on owning one.
Between 1937 and 1944, wheat pennies were made of incredibly high quality, meaning there was a larger-than-expected amount of uncirculated condition coins. While finding high-quality coins can be easier, it can subsequently reduce their value, too.
As Philadelphia produced the most pennies by a considerable margin, the 1937 no mint wheat penny is considered very common. It is generally only worth between 17 cents to $2 in good or fine condition.
That said, pennies can become heavily worn throughout the years, and an exceptionally well-preserved wheat penny can still attract thousands of dollars at auction.
Using data from the coin auction site PCGS, the highest recorded sale for a 1937 no mint wheat penny was $7,200. This high premium sale is due to the coin’s condition – it had a sharp strike and copper-orange luster with no abrasions.
1937 D Wheat Penny Value
The Denver mint produced the second largest record of wheat pennies in 1937, at about 50,430,000. You can quickly identify these coins by a ‘D’ mint mark on the coin’s obverse side, located just under the coin’s date.
Similar to the no mint penny of that year, the 1937 D wheat penny came in three different colors; red, brown, and a combination. Red is the coin’s most common (and most valuable) edition found today.
Because of its high 95% copper composition, the 1937 d wheat penny has a higher melt value of $0.0272 than its 1-cent face value. This makes them an attractive investment in any condition, as they will most often turn a small profit.
Despite fewer pennies produced, which would make them rarer in normal circumstances, the 1937 D wheat penny is still considered quite common by collectors’ standards. In most instances, this makes it a low-value coin, fetching, on average, between 17 cents to $1.16 in good or acceptable condition.
That said, auction site PCGS has stated a high demand for 1937 D wheat pennies that are MS67+ or higher. If your penny is pristine, it may break all of your expectations.
To give you an idea of its potential, one 1937 D wheat penny sold for an impressive $17,250 in 2016. It sold far beyond the market valuation of $11,000, proving the high demand for these coins centers on their high mint state.
1937 S Wheat Penny Value
In general, San Francisco produced lower numbers of coins each year – and 1937 is no exception to this pattern. The mint only produced 34,500,000 wheat pennies, making it the least commonly found penny of that year in circulation.
You can identify these pennies by their ‘S’ mint mark below the date on the coin’s obverse side. Like the other variations, it also has the original designs of Abraham Lincoln on the obverse and the sheaves of durum wheat on the reverse.
As they are made of 95% copper, the penny has a higher melt value of $0.0272, making them a safe investment in any condition. The coin comes in three color variations red, brown, and a mixture, with red being the most commonly found at auction.
Despite being the lowest-produced penny of that year, the 1937 S wheat penny is still considered a coin of low value. That’s because, overall, so many 1937 pennies are still circulating. In average or fine conditions, it will only fetch a modest sum of between $0.17 to $1.16.
Wheat pennies may only be deemed valuable if well preserved at MS67+ or higher. In truth, only a few coins have ever reached a high standard, meaning there’s not much market data to go from.
That said, the highest recorded sale for a 1937 S wheat penny occurred in 2014 for an impressive $2,350. The listing highlighted the coin’s immaculate preservation and original luster still intact.
1937 No Mint Proof Wheat Penny
1937 marked the second year the US Mint produced brilliant proof of Lincoln cents for collectors. These were all made in Philadelphia and, as such, have no mint mark located on them. Only 9,320 coins were struck, making them some of the most scarce in coin history.
Generally speaking, these coins will only sell at high mint states. There are many different variations, including red, brown, red, and brown, as well as cameo and deep cameo effects.
Most 1937-proof wheat pennies sell for a couple of hundred dollars, though some exceptional quality coins have been known to sell for thousands. The highest recorded sale was for $24,675 in 2019. The listing noted the coin’s “superb clarity” and “immaculate mirror” finish.
1937 Wheat Penny Grading
The only way to determine the actual value of your 1937 wheat pennies is to grade them. Many collectors use the Sheldon coin grading system, which has over 70 points that help classify a coin’s quality, condition, color, luster (sheen), and more.
Rare 1937 Wheat Penny Error List
Errors can make generic-looking coins become incredibly valuable. That’s because, in the eyes of a collector, mistakes make a coin almost like a one-of-a-kind.
And while the condition is often the primary way of grading a coin, you should also be aware of rare errors that can turn your 1937 wheat penny from trash to treasure.
1937 Wheat Penny Off-center error
Off-centering is a standard error across all coins, especially wheat pennies when the stamp used in production is not aligned correctly with the coin before striking.
The result is the coin’s design is struck at an angle, which can appear skewed, distorted, or partially missing from the coin.
We measure off-centering errors in percentages, with higher rates being more valuable. This 1937 no mint wheat penny has a 20% off-center error, which sees the Lincoln portrait partially missing from the coin. It sold for over $126 at auction in 2019.
1937 Wheat Penny struck on a foreign planchet
The US Mint produced many different coins for other countries. As such, there is a common error that saw wheat pennies struck on a planchet meant for foreign currencies.
While the value of this error can depend on the planchet struck, and how this affected the wheat penny’s design, these coins generally sell for more than a few hundred dollars.
Although this 1937 S wheat penny only has a grade of ‘Fine,’ it sold for an unprecedented $228 in 2021. It was struck on a planchet meant for a different coin series entirely. Its skewed design and letter distortion were said to be unique for the coin.
1937 Wheat Penny Double Strike error
Quality control was not always adhered to, especially when low-value coins like pennies were concerned. One of the most common errors is the double strike, when the penny stays in place after striking, and is struck again.
This error creates a “double image” effect, where some or all of the coin’s design appears twice. Sometimes, the error can make parts of Lincoln or the durum wheat very pronounced and detailed, while other times, it distorts them completely.
Although this 1937 no mint wheat penny is largely unrecognizable, its double-strike error increased its value to $190 at auction in 2000.
1937 Wheat Penny with clipped error
Clip errors are another common fault that can transform seemingly worthless pennies into something more significant. This error occurs when the coin is struck on a clipped or damaged planchet, and a section is cut off the coin.
These errors range in size and angle, including curved, straight, irregular, and bowtie shapes. Generally speaking, curved clipping errors are the least valuable and will only fetch you $4-5 at auction.
Straight clips are arguably the most valuable, and the more extreme the cut-off, the better. This 1937 no mint wheat penny only has a small cut off the top of the coin but is still valued at over $119 at public auction.
1937 Wheat Penny Broadstruck error
To make the 1937 wheat penny, minters used a series of collars to ensure the coin remained a perfect circle and thickness. But given their high production numbers, there were times when the collar came off, ultimately distorting the penny’s shape, texture, and weight.
While broadstruck errors aren’t deemed rare, they can help increase your wheat pennies’ value regardless of their mint state. This 1937 S wheat penny sold for an impressive $99 in 2020, with its obverse side distorted due to a collar malfunction.
1937 Wheat Penny FAQ
What makes a 1937 Wheat Penny rare?
Because of their high production numbers, the majority of 1937 wheat pennies are considered standard and low in value. Demand centers primarily on finding pennies of high mint state of 67+.
What material is a 1937 Wheat Penny made from?
Like many Lincoln wheat pennies, the 1937 edition of the coin consists of 95% copper and 5% zinc. This high copper composition means the 1-cent coin has a higher melt value of $0.0272.
Which is rarer, a 1937 no mint, D or S Wheat Penny?
Although the place of production usually greatly influences coin values, in most cases, there is no difference between a 1937 no mint, D, or S wheat penny. They will sell on average for between 17 cents to $1.16.
The reason pennies sell for thousands of dollars is more so their mint state than their place of origin.
Why is the 1937 penny called a ‘Wheat Penny?’
Although officially a Lincoln memorial penny, the 1937 penny is also part of the ‘wheat penny’ series. This nickname rose from the reverse design of durum wheat. The coin’s reverse was redesigned in 1959, replacing the wheat with the Lincoln memorial.
What is the highest recorded sale for a 1937 Wheat Penny?
As per PCGS, the highest public auction recorded a 1937 no mint proof wheat penny, which sold for $24,675 in 2019. The coin had unparalleled clarity, sparkle, and thick frosted luster.