The penny is famous because of the face of the 16th president of the United States. Popularly called the Lincoln cent or Lincoln wheat penny, the coin is bright and good to look at, but it is also low on the rarity scale. So, how much is the 1969 penny?
The value of the 1969 penny is a little more than the face value, which is one cent. However, there is no way to tell how much this coin can get you because a few factors can add to or remove from its worth.
Nevertheless, in circulated conditions, the 1969 penny is not worth much. If you have one or more of these coins, this article is a clear guide on how to know their actual worth using the mint mark, mintage, coin condition, and errors, among other factors.
1969 Penny Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1969 No Mint Mark Penny Value||$0.10||$0.25||$0.25||$0.50|
|1969 ‘D’ Penny Value||$0.10||$0.25||$0.20||$0.40|
|1969 ‘S’ Penny Value||$0.10||$0.25||$0.40||$0.60|
The 1969 penny was struck at three mints, so you will find that some of the coins have mint marks, while others do not have this distinguishing marker. The San Francisco mint, which is one of the mints that struck the penny that year, also struck Proof pennies.
Proof coins are struck on burnished planchets with special dies to create extremely clear and mirror-like coins. This type of clarity increases the coin’s value, although the price difference is not much in this case. 1969-S Proof coins may only be worth about $1 or a little more.
The penny has a long and interesting history. Before 1969, the coin was minted to celebrate the 100th birthday of the beloved but assassinated president Abraham Lincoln. Prior to that time, the penny had other designs, but the image of the 16th president was the first time an actual person was going to be used on any coin.
On the obverse, the profile of the president is visible and the reverse shows two wheat stalks, giving the coin its popular name. This reverse design lasted many years until 1959 when it was redesigned to feature the Lincoln Memorial Hall instead of the wheat stalks. Frank Gasparro was the designer of the later reverse image.
As mentioned, the San Francisco mint struck some proof pennies, almost three million of them. However, those coins never circulated. The United States Mint officials kept the coin for themselves and some collectors who were lucky enough to get their hands on them.
Two things affect the worth of the proof coins. One is the mintage, which is 2,934,631, and two is the circulation. While it is hardly in circulation, the number of minted coins is high enough to lower it on the rarity scale. However, its lack of circulation can also affect its value on the open market.
To determine the true value of a coin, you must know the coin’s condition or grade. The condition of a coin is the state in which it is at the time of purchase or sale. It can be uncirculated, which is mint state +, and in this condition, the coin is without any damage or degradation.
Uncirculated coins usually fetch good money, especially if they are high on the grading scale. Next on the list is the extremely fine coin, which is clean but not as clean as an uncirculated coin. The details are still in sharp relief and the luster is there, but it is not as bright as when first minted.
But if a coin is in fine or good condition, it usually does not fetch much money. This is because such a coin is circulated, and handling it causes damage. Because of this, such a coin does not attract much value. The 1969 penny in the circulated condition is worth only about 20 cents.
1969 No Mint Mark Penny Value
The Philadelphia mint is the main mint in the United States Mint. It struck about 1,136,910,000 of the over 5 billion pennies minted in 1969. It is a large number which means the Philly coins are abundant on the rarity scale.
The number in circulation affects the value placed on the Philly coins. In other words, they have little or no value over their face value. For most of them, the value on the open market is only about $0.10 for the circulated coins and about $.0.50 for the uncirculated coins.
Another factor is that the Philly coins have no mint marks. This further affects the value of the coin since collectors prefer these marks on their coins. Nevertheless, these coins are not always of low value. A rare error may increase its value to hundreds of dollars, depending on who is buying it.
The 1969 penny has the profile of President Abraham Lincoln on the obverse, with his face to the right. At the top of the coin, around the image of the president, is the United States motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The words lie flush against the rim of the coin.
To the left of the coin, right at the center, is the word LIBERTY. It is behind the image of the president, over his shoulder. And in front of the image, just under the president’s chin, is the mint date. These are some of the details that remain in sharp relief if a coin is said to be in a mint state.
The reverse of the 1969 penny has the image of the Lincoln Memorial Hall. The image is in sharp relief and you can see a clear silhouette of the president seated between the porticos. That is the actual image of the real-life Memorial Hall, with a 19-foot statue at the top of the steps.
E PLURIBUS UNUM is struck on top of the building, and the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA appear at the top of the coin, around the rim. At the bottom of the image is the coin’s denomination ONE CENT, struck close to the rim.
Some of the coins feature the initials of the designers. The designer of the obverse, Victor David Brenner, has his initials VDB under the shoulder of the president’s image. The designer of the reverse in the latter years, Frank Gasparro, has his initials FG at the bottom right of the Memorial hall.
1969 D Penny Value
The D-penny of 1969 was minted in the Denver mint; the coins from this mint bear the D mint mark. And while Denver is not the main mint whereas the Philadelphia mint is, Denver struck more pennies in 1969 than the Philly mint, a little over 4 billion of them.
The number of minted coins from this mint affects its overall value, placing it below the value of the coins from the Philadelphia mint. This does not mean that all the coins have little value; some of them are valued high because of possible rare errors and unique markers.
The mint mark is on the obverse of the coin, just under the mint date. This is the only difference between this coin and a coin from the Philly mint. Every other aspect is the same unless the coin does not have the designers’ initials.
You must also consider the condition of the coin as it adds value or removes from its value. If a 1969-D coin is in mint state and has rare errors or unique markers, it may be worth a good amount of money. But in circulated condition, the coin may be worth less than $1, even with a mint mark.
1969 S Penny Value
The San Francisco mint struck a significant amount of pennies in 1969, although it minted the lowest number for that year. It struck about 544,375,000 coins, apart from the Proof coins. If you add the Proof coins to this number, you will have well over 3 million coins from this mint.
This low number makes the 1969-S penny the most valuable of all the coins on our list. But while it is the most valuable, the price is not significantly high. Circulated S coins are the same price as no mint mark or D coins in many places.
The Proof coins have the best value; they can cost as much as $1 or higher if they are in mint state. Collectors typically look for that mirror-like luster and shine when choosing Proof coins, which can increase the value considerably.
1969 Penny Grading
The grade of any coin is crucial to its value. It is not only about the condition, which is the first appearance of the coin. It can be in good condition, which is the lowest point where most of the details are gone and there is no luster. The coin can be in fine condition, which is slightly better than the former one.
It can also be in extra fine or uncirculated condition, which are conditions you want for a coin you plan to sell. However, within each condition are levels under which a coin can fall. For example, an uncirculated or a mint state coin can be between 63 and 70. This is based on the Sheldon scale that grades a coin from 1 to 70, with 1 being the worst and 70 being the best.
This video explains coin grading, using older Lincoln pennies as examples.
Rare 1969 Penny Errors List
So, there are a few errors on this penny from 1969 that make it more valuable than others without errors. Some collectors are particular about seeing errors. Therefore, only a few are currently available because most of these coins have been snapped up and hoarded.
1969 Penny Missing Details and Floating Roof Errors
On some 1969 pennies, you may notice that the roof appears to be floating. In other words, the roof appears to be separate from the building. This is probably because of over-polishing the coin, which removes some of the details.
The same polishing issue may have affected the initials on the reverse of the coin. Frank Gasparro’s FG initials on the reverse, just below the Memorial hall, are missing on some coins due to over-polishing. However, this error makes the coin even more valuable than other coins.
1969 Penny Doubled Die Error
Some 1969-S pennies have doubled die errors on the obverse and reverse. The errors appear on the legend LIBERTY, the mint date, and the country’s motor at the top of the coins.
A doubled die error is a doubling or tripling of certain details on the coin. This may be due to the planchet shifting between strikes, causing the details to appear in twos or threes. You may also notice a doubling on the Memorial hall’s pillars and the ears of the president.
A few decades ago, a 1969-S coin with these errors sold for about $16,700 which is the lowest amount ever collected for it. Recently, it sold for about $70,000.
1969 Penny FAQs
What makes a 1969 penny rare?
The rareness of a 1969 penny lies in its availability. And if that is the case, the Proof coins are the rarest ones. The other coins are not rare because of their abundance on the rarity scale. But the Proof coins never circulated, so they are very valuable.
What is the most expensive 1969 penny?
The most expensive 1969 penny is an S penny with a doubled die obverse and reverse errors. Some collectors value it at about $70,000, while others value it at $100,000.