Lincoln’s portrait on the wheat penny is a common sight for many collectors. This coin design was minted from 1909 to 1958. So, having a wheat penny in your pocket is no big deal.
But, if you have specific wheat pennies from 1944, you might be owning valuable assets right now!
In today’s guide, we will talk about the 1944 wheat penny value in great detail. From its different varieties to rare errors, we will discuss everything to understand the actual worth of these vintage treasure troves. Let’s get started!
1944 Wheat Penny Value Chart
|1944 No Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value||$0.05||$0.15 to $0.20||$4||$200 to $300|
|1944 D Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value||$0.05||$0.20||$6||$500 to $1000|
|1944 S Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value||$0.05||$0.30||$8 to $10||Up to $3000|
|1944 Steel Wheat Penny Value||–||–||$40,000+||Up to $500,000|
1944 No Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value
In 1944, the Philadelphia mint struck 1,435,400,000 wheat pennies and crossed the 1 billion mark. It was the first time any coin series crossed this mark and also the highest number in the wheat design series.
Given the stats, the 1944 no-mint mark wheat penny is not so rare, but there is still a high demand for high-grade pennies in mint condition.
Furthermore, the easiest way to identify this variation of the 1944 wheat penny is to check for the mint mark. If there is none, the penny is from Philadelphia.
The most fascinating part about the 1944 Penny is that it was manufactured from recycled ammunition shell metal. Plus, Victor David Brenner designed it, marking the return of Lincoln pennies with copper material.
The 1944 no-mint mark wheat penny consisted of copper and zinc only, unlike its previous counterparts, which also had tin.
Since it is the most common of the four variations, the typical value of an unmarked 1944 wheat penny is between two to four cents. It can also range from $1.75 to $2, depending on the condition, market, and the coin itself. Most times you can get it for more than its face value.
According to PCGS, the auction record for the 1944 unmarked wheat penny value of CHBU grade is $22000. A CHBU grade, or a CHOICE BU grade, refers to uncirculated coins in perfect mint condition. Coins with this grade are not spotted or toned but are hand-picked from rolls and other sources based on their beauty.
1944 D Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value
The 1944 D Mint Mark Wheat Penny has a little “D” mark on them, meaning that the penny was minted at the Denver mint. It struck around 430, 578, 000 coins, marking the eighth-highest year of production and making it a not-so-rare collectible. It has smooth corners.
The obverse side of the coin features Abraham Lincoln facing right, with the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” arching over the top. On his backside, the word LIBERTY is written, and on his front, the year. The reverse side depicts two stalks of wheat, hence the “wheat penny” name.
Since the 1944 penny was minted during WW2, the government did not use copper to save resources to make weapons for the war. However, the public was unsatisfied and complained that the penny was corroding too fast. Some people also complained that it was indistinguishable from a dime, and they couldn’t tell apart the difference from afar.
To solve this issue, the government started minting coins composed of copper. Now, the coins didn’t rust quickly and were easily distinguishable.
The 1944-D wheat pennies are readily available in average condition and can cost around fifteen cents. As the condition gets better the price increases and can go up to $2. Sometimes, if two buyers have their eyes set on the same coin, it can cause the price to increase— in a similar manner to an auction. The cost can go up to $6 depending on its condition.
According to PCGS reports, the auction record for 1944 D Mint Mark Wheat Penny stands at $22,425.
1944 S Mint Mark Wheat Penny Value
The San Francisco mint produced the lowest number of wheat pennies in 1944. Its total mintage was 282,760,000. That’s way less than Philadelphia and Denver mintages!
But this doesn’t mean finding a 1944 S mint mark wheat penny is a big challenge. You can easily find it on online e-commerce stores like eBay and Etsy. However, if you want to get a hold of authentic, high-value coins, auctions are the place to go.
A 1944 S mint mark wheat penny follows the same design pattern as the others. It has an Abraham Lincoln portrait on the obverse side. There’s also the phrase In God We Trust on the top.
On the reverse, the face value of the coin is embossed along with the country’s name and the famous Latin inscription. As mentioned before, this masterpiece was created by Victor David Brenner back in 1909.
The worth of a 1944 S mint mark wheat penny is also similar to other variants in circulated condition. A good-condition coin will sell for $0.05, whereas an extremely fine coin will sell for $0.30.
That’s quite affordable, which is why many newbie collectors start their collection from these circulated coins. If you want to have a valuable specimen, look at the uncirculated coins that have an MS grade.
At MS-67, the price of a 1944 S mint mark wheat penny is between $120 to $200. However, at auctions, the price hikes up to thousands of dollars. PCGS auctioned a 1944 S mint mark wheat penny MS-67+ for $3290 in 2016!
1944 Steel Wheat Penny Value
The 1944 steel wheat pennies were an accident. There was no intent to produce a variant with a different material than the regular 1944 wheat pennies. However, when leftover sheets of steel got mixed in with brass sheets, these pennies were minted.
In terms of appearance, the obverse and reverse side of the 1944 steel wheat penny looks just like a regular one. There is Lincoln’s side portrait, the phrase In God We Trust, and all other typical wheat penny features.
The only difference is the material. While all 1944 wheat pennies are made from copper and zinc, this variant was minted in pure steel.
It is estimated that there are around 30 to 40 specimens of the 1944 steel wheat penny. The majority are the ones without a mintmark, which suggests that they were minted at the Philadelphia mint.
You will also find a few coins with S or D. Depending on the mint mark, you can identify whether the coin was struck at San Francisco or Denver mint.
With all that said, the worth of a 1944 steel wheat penny is enormous. Since there were only limited quantities produced, people collected and maintained them all these years. These well-preserved coins start at $40,000 per piece!
If you go to higher MS grades, the value further increases to six figures. For example, PCGS auctioned a 1944 D mint mark steel wheat penny (MS-63) for $115,000. It sold another S mint mark specimen (MS-66) for an amazing $408,000!
1944 Wheat Penny Grading
If you want to know the true worth of an antique coin, it is important to check its grade. This may appear as good, XF, MS-66, or any other combination. But what do they mean?
First of all, you should know that these grades are part of the 70-point Sheldon Grading Scale used by professional coin gradings organizations like NGC and PCGS. Each grade defines a particular condition of the coin. Here are some examples:
- Good – the coin is heavily damaged due to circulation. Most of its details have faded, but the lettering and overall design are visible.
- Extremely Fine (XF) – the high-relief parts of the coin have flattened. However, the majority of details are evident.
- Uncirculated (MS) – the coin is very well-preserved with little to no damage to the features.
Check out this useful video to learn more about coin grading!
Rare 1944 Wheat Penny Error Lists
1944 Penny D/S Mint Mark Error
One of the most significant errors to exist in 1944 wheat pennies is the D/S mint mark. When the coins were being produced at the Denver mint, a die with S was used to punch them. This was an accident that nobody noticed until some wrong coins were minted.
Then, the S mint mark was replaced with a D. However, the workers must have not buffed out the S properly because some specimens still have a D/S mint mark. You can see the traces of S over the D.
Since this is a very specific and unique error, the value of this coin is quite high. At MS-63, PCGS auctioned the coin for $676. At MS-67+ grade, the same coin was sold for a whopping $49,938!
1944 Penny Die Break Error
Die break refers to the actual cracking of a die. When the same cracked die is used to mint coins, it leaves a raised line on the finished coin metal. You can find this error in 1944 wheat pennies too.
However, it is more common in San Francisco mintage than others. Some coins may feature cud die breaks (which involve part of the coin rim and a bit of design). The average value of these coins is $155.
1944 Penny Double Eyelid Error
The double eyelid error in 1944 wheat pennies is due to double die. This happens when the same die strikes the coin twice. As a result, there are overlapping lines and slightly distorted images.
In this case, you will find a double eyelid on Lincoln’s face. Its value will be between $10 to $20+. Although that’s not premium, several collectors look for this specimen due to its rarity.
1944 Penny Planchet Error
The planchet is the metal sheet placed between die machines. If this sheet has a crack, chipped corner, or any other defect, it is likely to show up on the minted coin. Unfortunately, this was a common issue in the 1900s coins.
So, there’s no wonder that 1944 wheat pennies have planchet errors too. However, what makes each coin unique is the type of planchet error. Some specimens have a chipped surface, some have cracks, and some have specks.
The value of such coins depends on their condition and rarity. If the 1944 planchet error penny is very rare and in pristine condition, it can sell for hundreds. Otherwise, expect the value to be under $100.
Check out this insightful video to learn more about 1944 wheat penny errors!
1944 Wheat Penny FAQs
How much is a 1944 wheat penny worth today?
The worth of a 1944 wheat penny greatly depends on its variant, condition, and rarity. On average, a 1944 wheat penny is worth between $0.05 to $10. However, in higher MS grades, the values can reach up to $3,000.
If you have a 1944 steel wheat penny, it is worth $40,000 to $500,000. You can expect an even higher selling price at auctions.
What makes a 1944 wheat penny rare?
There are 3-features that make a 1944 wheat penny rare, which includes:
- Condition – high-grade pennies sell for higher values in the open market.
- Composition – steel wheat pennies are worth more than regular ones.
- Error – wheat pennies with errors, like repunched mintmark, are highly sought-after by collectors.
If your vintage 1944 wheat penny has any one of these features, it’s best to consult a professional and learn the true value.
What’s the most expensive 1944 penny?
The 1944 steel wheat pennies are the most expensive variety. Only a limited number of these steel coins were produced, which makes them of high interest and value amongst collectors.