The Lincoln Memorial pennies struck from 1959 to 2008 were popular American coins that appeared with one purpose, to commemorate 150th President’s birthday anniversary. It is valuable for collectors as the first American coin with the same figure on both sides.
The 1979 penny value depends on the mint mark and the coin condition and is relatively low in most cases. However, some specimens can reach more than you expect because of their rarity. To differentiate between two valuable types, you should pay attention to pieces produced in San Francisco.
1979 Lincoln Memorial penny value Chart
|Condition||1979 No Mint mark penny||1979 D penny||1979 S filled S penny Type 1||1979 S clear S penny Type 2|
|Mint state 63||$0.33||$0.33||/||/|
*by USA Coin Book
The 1979 Lincoln Memorial Pennies History
The first American one-cent penny was released in circulation through the Coinage Act of 1792, making this coin one of the oldest denominations in the new country’s coinage. This act established the US dollar as an American currency and allowed the US Mint establishment.
You can recognize numerous penny designs throughout the 200 years of minting, but the Lincoln penny obviously came to stay. Despite a few changes in the reverse design, the coin obverse remained untouched for over a century.
1979 Lincoln Memorial penny
|San Francisco||1979 S proof penny||3,677,175|
|Denver||1979 D penny||4,139,357,254|
|Philadelphia||1979 No Mint mark penny||6,018,515,000|
The first Lincoln pennies appeared in 1909 as the first coins in American coinage history with an American President on the obverse. In fact, it was the first time a real person was on the obverse instead of imaginary characters like Lady Liberty and the Indian chief.
Lincoln pennies from the first series had two wheat ears on the reverse, but it was changed in 1959. While the initial design commemorated the centenary of the President’s birth, the second one with the Memorial on the reverse was struck in honor of his 150th birthday.
Once the second Lincoln cent design appeared, this coin became the first in one more thing. It was the first time in American coinage history that the same person appeared on both obverse and reverse. Nowadays, these cents are widely recognizable, and Americans love them.
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The 1979 Lincoln Memorial Pennies Features
Many collectors like Lincoln Memorial pennies, making them collectible. However, those struck in 1979 don’t stand out either for rarity or price. Most modern coins are inexpensive and interesting to collectors only as part of a set.
The 1979 Lincoln Memorial pennies obverse
The 1979 Lincoln Memorial penny obverse contains the 16th American President Abraham Lincoln in the center. It is the same feature as in all others minted from 1909 to nowadays.
Victor David Brenner created this striking design to commemorate the President’s 100th birthday. It was so beautiful that no one wanted to change it.
Besides the centrally positioned bust, you can also see the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST above it and the word LIBERTY behind President’s neck. The DATE 1979 is struck on the right coin side, in front of his image.
The 1979 Lincoln Memorial pennies reverse
Unlike the obverse that remained the same for decades, the coin reverse was changed twice in its history. The Lincoln Memorial replaced two wheat stalks on this side in 1959 when Americans celebrated the 150th birthday of this great man.
Frank Gasparro designed the Memorial and added a small Lincoln statue in the building center, making this penny unique. It is still the only American coinage with the same person on both sides.
The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE CENT surround the Memorial, while the slogan E PLURIBUS UNUM is right above the building. You can also notice FG, the designer’s initials, right of the steps.
1979 Lincoln Memorial penny
|Face value||One cent ($0.01)|
|Coin weight||0.10970 ounces (3.11 grams)|
|Coin diameter||0.75 inches (19.05 millimeters)|
|Compound||95% copper (with a small percentage of tin or zinc)|
|Coin thickness||0.05984 inches (1.52 millimeters)|
Other features of the 1979 Lincoln Memorial penny
The 1978 Lincoln Memorial penny is a copper coin with a plain edge weighing 0.10970 ounces (3.11 grams). Its diameter is a standard 0.75 inches (19.05 millimeters), and its thickness is 0.05984 inches (1.52 millimeters).
The 1979 Lincoln Memorial Pennies Guides
With a total mintage of 10,161,549,429, you can expect the 1979 Lincoln Memorial penny to be inexpensive and abundant on the current coin market. Two mints produced pieces from regular strikes, while the one in San Francisco minted exclusively proofs that are available in two types.
1979 No Mint mark Lincoln Memorial penny
Since the Philadelphia mint produced an impressive 6,018,515,000 No Mint mark Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1979, their prices are low. In fact, pieces in circulated condition are not collectible at all. Be prepared that those in the mint state cost more, depending on the preservation level.
For instance, coins from MS 60 to MS 65 grades are worth a modest $0.20 to $1. Better-rating ones typically cost $11 to $45, but the best-graded specimens with desirable red toning can reach $1,000 at auctions.
1979 Lincoln Memorial penny value
|Condition||1979 RD penny||1979 D RD penny|
The most expensive 1979 MS 68 RD Lincoln Memorial penny reached a fantastic and unexpectedly high $5,463 at Heritage Auctions in 2012.
1979 D Lincoln Memorial penny
The Denver mint released slightly fewer 1979 D Lincoln Memorial pennies than Philadelphia or 4,139,357,254 pieces. Their price is the same in lower mint grades, $0.20 to $1.
Interestingly, the price of the best-preserved specimens is a bit higher than identically graded ones from Philadelphia. The typical price range is from $23 to $145.
Since coins with the D mint mark and an MS 68 rating don’t exist, the most expensive piece is the one in MS 67+ grade. One collector paid this penny $3,995 at an auction in 2016.
1979 S proof Lincoln Memorial penny
This year, the San Francisco mint produced only Lincoln proof pennies. The mintage of 3,677,175 was the lowest among the three mints producing these coins.
You can recognize two types of proof pennies minted this year. Type 1 (filled S) has the problematic S mint mark since this weird rectangle hardly resembles the letter S even under a magnifying glass.
Therefore, the US Mint changed the mint mark on these proofs in late 1979 to look like the letter S more. That made Type 2 coins with the clear S collectible.
1979 proof Lincoln Memorial penny value
|Condition||1979 S RD penny Type 1 with deep cameo contrast||1979 S RD penny Type 2 with deep cameo contrast|
Both pieces cost the same in lower grades, but the price of those with a PR 70 rating significantly varies. While the Type 1 is worth $500, you should set aside $1,800 for the coin Type 2.
On the other hand, the most pricey in the series is the 1979 S Lincoln Memorial penny Type 1 with deep cameo contrast. One collector paid $10,925 for it in 2003. The most expensive Type 2 coin was sold for $3,819 at an auction in 2013.
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The 1979 Lincoln Memorial Pennies Errors
You can’t find some exceptionally famous or highly expensive errors among Lincoln Memorial pennies produced in 1979. However, most of them will be worth more than regular cents because every imperfection is collectible. Moreover, some collectors collect only specific error coins by date, making them costly.
This error typically appeared when the die that punched coins was damaged or cracked. In such a case, it made a die break error, a small raised part on the penny surface. The most recognizable penny error occurred when this raised line was between the letters B and E in the word LIBERTY.
That vertical line resembled the capital letter I and created the BIE error when positioned this way. Even though this error type is common nowadays, some collectors collect them by date and are prepared to set aside $5 to $10 per piece.
Unfortunately, most doublings visible on pennies are machine errors, and collectors don’t consider them doubled dies. Therefore, these coins are almost worthless.
However, the 1979 pennies are well-known for doubling in the date and inscription, plus you can see these imperfections on Lincoln’s face, ear, and bowtie. Even though none of these doubled dies are dramatic, collectors like these coins and are prepared to pay about $20 to $50 per piece.
Re-punched mint mark
This error type appeared after manually punching the mint mark into the working die. When the letter D or S is wrongly positioned or struck in an inappropriate place, it is simply re-punched. The result is an error coin worth approximately $3 to $10.
When a penny is improperly positioned during the minting process, the result is a piece with an off-center error. Since it is only partially struck, you can see a crescent moon on one part instead of a standard design.
The missing design percentage indicates how drastic the error is and a coin’s price. The rule of thumb is that the most expensive are specimens with 40 to 60% off-center but with the preserved date and enough visible design to allow effortless identification.
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FAQ about the 1979 Lincoln Memorial Penny
What makes a 1979 Lincoln Memorial penny collectible?
Since the Lincoln Memorial penny mintage is high, finding a rare, collectible, and expensive specimen can be challenging. However, some proof coins produced in San Francisco in the highest grades can be attractive for collectors, although they are not particularly scarce on the market.
Which 1979 Lincoln Memorial penny is particularly expensive?
- The auction record of $10,925 went to the 1979 S PR 70 Type 1, DCAM Lincoln penny in 2003 (Heritage Auctions)
- The auction record of $5,463 went to the 1979 MS 68 RD Lincoln penny in 2012 (Heritage Auctions)
- The auction record of $3,995 went to the 1979 D MS 67+ RD Lincoln penny in 2016 (Heritage Auctions)
- The auction record of $3,819 went to the 1979 S PR 70 Type 2, DCAM Lincoln penny in 2013 (Heritage Auctions)
- The auction record of $406 went to the 1979 D MS 66 BN Lincoln penny in 2019 (eBay)
- The auction record of $215 went to the 1979 MS 66 RB Lincoln penny in 2018 (eBay)
- The auction record of $207 went to the 1979 MS 61 BN Lincoln penny in 2007 (Heritage Auctions)
- The auction record of $112 went to the 1979 D A 58 RB Lincoln penny in 2019 (eBay)
What is the 1979 No Mint mark Lincoln Memorial penny price?
Most 1979 Lincoln Memorial pennies are worth $0.20 to $1, but the best-preserved pieces can reach $11 to $45 on the coin market.
On the other hand, the most valuable are specimens in an MS 68 grade. Their average price is often over $1,000 at good days at auctions. The most pricey piece produced in Philadelphia this year is the one sold at an auction for $5,463.
Which Lincoln Memorial penny is worth the most?
The most pricey Lincoln cent with the Memorial on the reverse was the one produced in Philadelphia in 1999. This coin with MS 66 rating reached an auction record of $138,000 in 2006. The most expensive error was the 1969 S MS 64 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Memorial penny sold in 2008.
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