Skip to main content

Lincoln cent prices vary in MS-60 grade

Even though the 1909, 1913, 1914 and 1924 Lincoln cents have similar mintages, they widely vary in MS-60 prices. Since the 1909 was the first issue, it was heavily saved and is more available today.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

? The 1909, 1913, 1914, and 1924 Lincoln cents each have a mintage of about 75 million, but they are worth widely varying prices in MS-60 grade. Why the difference?
Mintage figures are often only part of the story. For instance, because it was the first year of issue many more of the 1909 cents were saved, so there are more available now, especially in the higher grades. Note that there are plenty of 1913 and 1914 low grades available, so they are much lower in value. This is also true of the 1924, which jumps sharply in value in the higher grades.


? Over the centuries there have been numerous instances of one country counterfeiting the coins or paper money of another as a ?legitimate? weapon of warfare. Did this happen with the Spanish coins during the height of the Spanish expansion around the world?
There are well-documented reports of several countries issuing their own coins patterned on the Spanish, such as England, the Netherlands and Denmark. Less well-known is the fact that some or all of these countries also struck identical copies of Spanish coins in deliberately debased alloys. They were secretly introduced into trade, especially in the Far East, wherever they would embarrass the Spanish.

? Why is there such a narrow spread in circulated prices for 1931-S cents?
Everybody knew at the time that the 1931-S was a low mintage coin. Its mintage is just 866,000, or about twice that of the 1909-S VDB cent. The coins were offered by the Treasury at face value for two years after they were struck. This resulted in an unusually large number of the coins being saved in higher grades.

? What can you tell me about ?Becker Reproductions??
The original Becker was a notorious German counterfeiter who made museum-quality reproductions of Greek and Roman coins and more modern issues.

Becker Reproductions was a company doing business in New York City in the 1960s. Besides copying the Becker forgeries, it also made copies of early American coins by the hundreds of thousands. The copies are made of an alloy of 80 percent lead, 12 percent tin and 6 percent antimony.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to