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1917 Wheat Penny Value (Major Varieties & Rare Errors)

1917 Wheat Penny Value (Major Varieties & Rare Errors)

The 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny was produced during the penultimate year of World War I. But unlike pennies produced in 1943 (during World War II), these coins retained their 95% copper composition.

Consequently, they have a metal-based value of about $0.02, making them more valuable than their listed denomination! That said, the high copper content isn’t the primary reason these pennies are valuable.

In this article, we’ll delve into the 1917 Wheat Penny value and discover just how much these antique pennies are worth.

1917 Lincoln Wheat Penny Value Chart

1917-P BN$30$55$260
1917-P RB$32$80$225
1917-P RDNone$125$550
1917-P DDO BN$3,750$7,750None
1917-P DDO RBNone$8,000$12,500
1917-P DDO RDNone$8,500$26,500
1917-D BN$100$135$500
1917-D RBNone$275$700
1917-D RD$110$350$1,600
1917-S BN$115$200$675
1917-S RB$135$335$1,200
1917-S RDNone$600$10,500

1917 Wheat Penny: History

The 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny (also called the 1917 Wheat penny or 1917 Wheat cent) is essentially identical to all Lincoln Wheat pennies released from 1910 onwards.

The Lincoln Wheat penny was introduced in 1909, and the first batch of these pennies featured the initials of the man who designed this penny; Victor David Brenner. These early Lincoln Wheat pennies are commonly called VDB pennies.

However, by 1910, these three letters had disappeared from the obverse (front) face of U.S. one-cent coins. From that point forward, all Lincoln Wheat pennies retained the same set of characteristics, including:

  • A composition of 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin
  • A weight of 3.11 grams (about 0.11 ounces)
  • An unchanged obverse and reverse design (Wheat Reverse)

The only aspect of the Lincoln Wheat penny that changed between 1916 and 1917 was the date pressed into the coin’s obverse face. Apart from that, the 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny was virtually an unchanged version of all wheat pennies that came before it (the only major exception being 1909 VDB pennies).

1917 Wheat Penny: Design

The 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny features a design created by Victor David Brenner. Brenner, better known by his initials VBD, created this design in late 1908.

To identify a 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny, you’ll need to examine both the front (obverse) and back (reverse) sides of a penny. You can confirm the coin as an authentic 1917 Lincoln Wheat cent if they have the markings described below.


photo source: PCGS

The obverse side of a 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny features:

  • A raised relief (device) showing President Abraham Lincoln’s face in profile (facing right)
  • An arched motto along the top of the coin (IN GOD WE TRUST)
  • A flat legend on the lefthand side of the coin (LIBERTY)
  • A “1917” date on the lower righthand side of the coin, slightly below Lincoln’s bow tie


photo source: PCGS

The reverse side of a 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny features:

  • An arched motto along the top of the coin (E PLURIBUS UNUM), separated by interpoints
  • A large denomination marking in the center of the coin (ONE CENT)
  • An inscription beneath the denomination marking (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
  • Two devices depicting wheat stalks (reflecting one another), one on either side of the denomination and issuing nation inscription, curving upward toward the motto

1917 Wheat Penny: Features and Specifications

All 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies feature the same design (the only exception being error coins) and are composed of 95% copper. However, these one-cent coins can vary in three significant ways, and these differences greatly influence a penny’s value.

So, let’s briefly touch on the most vital features of the 1917 Wheat penny, including:

  • Mint marks
  • Coloration
  • PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) grading

Three Possible Mint Marks

In 1917, three U.S. Mint facilities were responsible for producing pennies:

  • The Philadelphia Mint
  • The Denver Mint
  • The San Francisco Mint

The location that produced the most pennies in 1917 was the Philadelphia Mint. This facility struck more than 196,000,000 pennies in 1917.

The Denver Mint produced significantly fewer pennies that year, only about 55,000,000. Still, the San Francisco Mint struck the least amount of pennies, producing only about 32,600,000 in 1917.

Consequently, pennies featuring the “D” or “S” mint mark are often more valuable than those without a mint mark.

1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies that lack a mint mark were produced at the Philadelphia Mint facility. This facility only branded pennies with a “P” mint mark in 2017. So, if you find a 1917 Wheat penny without any mint mark, just know that it was struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Three Different Colors

Freshly-struck pennies tend to have a red sheen that darkens to a muddy brown over time. This is true for pennies minted today and pennies minted a century ago, including 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies.

Consequently, most pennies are divided into one of three color categories:

  • Brown
  • Red and Brown
  • Red

Red (RD) pennies are the rarest and most valuable, while brown (BN) pennies tend to be the most common and least valuable. Naturally, a penny’s grade (condition) also affects its price.

But not all 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies have the same grade range.

Significant Grading Differences

Few 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies have a PCGS grade of MS-66 or higher.

Consequently, pennies that earn a grade of MS-66 or higher can sell for much higher prices than those with lower grades. This is true of all 1917 Wheat pennies, regardless of their coloration.

For example, there’s only one PCGS-graded 1917 BN (Brown) Lincoln Wheat penny that’s earned a rating of MS-66, and it sold for $1,125 in 2021. But there are more than 100 PCGS-graded MS-64 1917 BN (Brown) Lincoln Wheat pennies, and the average estimated value for these coins is a much less impressive $120.

So, when estimating how much a 1916 Wheat penny is worth, it’s crucial to consider its grade in addition to the mint mark and coloration.

How Much Is a 1917 Wheat Penny Worth?

1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies have a value ranging between $0.35 and $135,000 (for DDO MS67+).

The least valuable 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies are heavily circulated specimens in good condition (PCGS G-4), while the most valuable are red (RD) mint-state uncirculated (MS-68) double die obverse (DDO) specimens. Almost uncirculated (AU) coins have an average value of about $16.

The most common 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies are those that lack a mint mark (produced by the Philadelphia Mint), while Denver Mint (D) and San Francisco Mint (S) versions are far rarer.

In 2006, an MS-68 RD (Red) 1917 Lincoln Wheat cent sold for $38,813. No other error-free 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny has sold at auction for a higher price. However, PCGS estimates that other specimens of a similar grade and coloration could sell for as much as $82,500 (specifically a red 1917-S Wheat penny).

The most expensive 1917 Lincoln Wheat cent ever sold at auction is an RD MS-67+ DDO coin. This penny sold for $120,000 in 2019.

The least valuable DDO 1917 Wheat pennies are brown (BN) specimens with an about good (AG-3) rating. These have an estimated value of $70.

1917 Wheat Penny: Value Comparison

The value of a 1917 Wheat penny can vary wildly depending on its coloration and grade, as well as which U.S. Mint facility produced it. Let’s quickly compare the values of these antique pennies to discover which are the most (and least) valuable!

1917-P Wheat Penny Value

photo source: PCGS

The 1917-P Lincoln Wheat penny (also called the 1917 Wheat cent) lacks the “P” mint mark indicating that it was struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

So, if you have a 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny that doesn’t have a mint mark, you’ve got one of these coins. Unfortunately, this type of 1917 penny is the most common, making its average value less than the average value of “S” or “D” one-cent coins from the same year.

However, the value of the 1917-P Wheat penny varies significantly depending on its coloration and condition. Errors also play a role in pricing.


Brown (BN) pennies are the least valuable of all penny colors.

A brown 1917-P Lincoln Wheat cent in top-notch condition (MS-66+) can sell for between $500 and $1,125. Those in good condition (G-4) have an estimated value of only $1, while those in about uncirculated condition (AU-55) have an estimated value of $24.

Although it’s estimated that about 19 million of these coins have survived to the present day, fewer than 2,000 of these brown pennies are likely grade MS-65 or higher.

Red and Brown

Pennies that still retain some of their original red coloration but have dulled slightly to a brownish hue are called red and brown (RB) pennies. Notably, these types of pennies are almost always mint-state specimens.

An MS-62 RB 1917 Wheat penny has an estimated value of $44. The most expensive RB 1917 Lincoln Wheat cent ever sold was an MS-66 coin that sold for $1,293 in 2013.


The most valuable type of penny produced by the Philadelphia Mint in 1917 is the red (RD) one-cent coin. This coin is so-called because it looks almost new, featuring the bright red copper sheen associated with recently struck coins.

Only an estimated 3,000 red 1917-P Lincoln Wheat cents have survived to the present day. Of these, less than half are thought to be of MS-65 (or higher) quality. In fact, PCGS has only awarded two RD 1917-P Wheat pennies with an MS-68 grade.

An MS-68 RD 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny has an estimated value of $78,000! However, this copper-red coin isn’t the priciest 1917 Wheat penny.

1917-P DDO Wheat Penny Value

photo source: PCGS

In 1917, the Philadelphia Mint produced a few hundred double die obverse (DDO) pennies, approximately 300 of which have survived to the present day. These error coins were likely the result of a centering mistake during the planchet pressing process, resulting in a doubling of specific design elements along the front (obverse) sides of the pennies.

Notably, no other U.S. Mint facilities produced DDO coins in 1917.

These incredibly rare and valuable coins take the cake in terms of pricing, with even low-quality specimens (good or about good) selling for higher prices than other similarly-graded 1917 Wheat pennies (even those minted in San Francisco).

Still, as with other Lincoln Wheat cents, coloration significantly impacts value.


A brown (BN) 1917 DDO Lincoln Wheat penny has an estimated value ranging between $70 (AU-3) and $10,000 (MS-64+).

The most ever paid for one of these error coins is $7,200. This Heritage Auctions sale occurred in 2021 and was for an MS-63 specimen.

Red and Brown

Red and brown (RB) 1917 DDO Wheat pennies can be worth anywhere between $8,000 (MS-63) and $22,500 (MS-66).

That said, the highest price ever paid for one of these red-brown error coins is $14,950 (an MS-65 specimen sold in 2010). This is far less than the estimated value of a true red (RD) 1917 DDO penny.


The red (RD) 1917-P DDO Lincoln Wheat cent is the most valuable 1917 penny.

An MS-67+ specimen sold for $120,000 in 2019, quickly setting a new record for 1917 DDO pennies. Only 40 RD 1917 DDO pennies exist, and the lowest-quality (AG-03) specimens can sell for $70 apiece.

1917-D Wheat Penny Value

photo source: PCGS

1917-D Lincoln Wheat pennies are so-called because they were struck at the Denver Mint. These coins are scarcer than their Philadelphia Mint counterparts. It’s estimated that just over 5.5 million of these pennies have survived to the present day.

As with every other 1917 Wheat penny, the most valuable of these coins are mint-state (MS) red specimens.


There are more brown 1917-D Lincoln Wheat pennies than red-brown (RB) or red (RD) ones, making them comparatively less valuable than the reddish versions.

A brown (BN) 1917-D Lincoln Wheat cent has a value ranging from $1 (fair, FR-2) to $2,750 (mint-state, MS-66+).

Red and Brown

Because red and brown (RB) pennies retain some of their original mint luster, they’re rarely ever discovered in non-mint condition. Consequently, these coins can sell for between $185 (MS-62) and $2,800 (MS-66).

Notably, an MS-66 specimen broke estimate expectations in 2021, selling for $3,600 at a Stack’s Bowers auction.


Red (RD) 1917-D Lincoln Wheat pennies are the rarest of the Denver Mint 1917 one-cent coins. These copper-colored pennies have an estimated value ranging from $110 (MS-60) to $40,500 (MS-66+).

1917-S Wheat Penny Value

photo source: PCGS

Because the San Francisco Mint struck the least amount of pennies (out of all three U.S. Mint facilities) in 1917, 1917-S Lincoln Wheat pennies are some of the most valuable one-cent coins dating to that year. The primary exception is DDO coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint facility.

Still, if you own a 1917-S Wheat penny, you might be surprised to find out just how valuable that one-cent coin has become!


Although an estimated 3.2 million brown (BN) 1917-S Wheat pennies exist, only about 70 of these coins are believed to be MS-65 or higher.

As a result, the value of a BN 1917-S Lincoln Wheat cent varies between $2 (good, G-4) and $9,500 (mint-state, MS-66+). In fact, PCGS has yet to award a condition grade of more than 65+ to any BN 1917-S penny.

Red and Brown

Red and brown (RB) 1917-S Wheat pennies are worth between $135 (MS-60) and $3,600 (MS-65+). So, somewhat counterintuitively, these red-brown coins have a slightly lower value than their brown (BN) counterparts.


When it comes to non-error coins, the most valuable 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny is the red (RD) 1917-S cent. This coin has an estimated value ranging between $360 (MS-62) and $82,500 (MS-66).

In 2007, one of these pennies sold at auction for $36,800.

1917 Wheat Penny: Rare Errors

Although U.S. Mint facilities strive for perfection at every turn, there are occasional mistakes that result in rare and valuables coins. When it comes to the 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny, there are two errors to watch for:

  • Doubled die obverse (DDO) errors, and
  • Struck-through errors

Let’s discuss these rare errors and their impacts on 1917 Wheat penny prices.

1917 Wheat Penny Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error

photo source: PCGS

The 1917 Wheat Penny Double Die Obverse (DDO) is the most valuable 1917 Wheat penny. Mint-state red specimens can sell for more than $100,000, with one RD MS-67 DDO specimen selling for $120,000 in 2019.

You can identify these coins by their doubled date and motto (IN GOD WE TRUST). However, this doubling is quite subtle, so the average beginner numismatist may not notice it.

That said, reputable coin graders like PCGS are sure to spot this die doubling.

1917 Wheat Penny Reverse Struck-Through Error

photo source: eBay

Another type of 1918 Lincoln Wheat penny error you might find is a strike-through. That said, struck-through 1917 pennies are far rarer than DDO ones.

A strike-through happens when an object gets caught between the coin die (press) and planchet (metal disc), resulting in an unintended impression.

While some strike-through impressions are obvious, creating a marred image or jagged dip in a coin’s face, most struck-through 1917 Wheat pennies feature subtle impressions that are almost invisible to the naked eye. Still, these error coins can sell for hundreds of dollars, regardless of their overall condition or grade.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a few additional questions regarding 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies? If so, check out these frequently asked questions. The answers you’re looking for could be just below!

How Much Is a Wheat Penny 1917 Worth?

A 1917 Wheat Penny is worth between $0.35 and $120,000. The highest price ever paid for a 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny is $120,000 (for a rare MS-67+ red DDO specimen).

Mint location, coloration, and grade are the three most significant factors impacting a 1917 Wheat penny’s value, although errors can also influence price.

What Makes a 1917 Penny Rare?

Several factors contribute to a 1917 penny’s rarity. Some of the most crucial include condition, coloration, and mint marks. The rarest 1917 Lincoln Wheat pennies are red San Francisco Mint (S mint mark) coins with a PCGS grade of MS-66 or higher.

That said, errors can also make a 1917 Wheat penny rare. DDO (double die obverse) and struck-through specimens can be just as valuable (if not more valuable) than standard red mint-state pennies.

What Year Is the Rarest Wheat Penny?

Rarity doesn’t always translate to value, so the rarest Lincoln Wheat pennies aren’t always the most expensive. That said, the rarest Lincoln Wheat penny is probably the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Wheat penny. The San Francisco Mint only produced about 484,000 of these coins.

Final Thoughts

The 1917 Lincoln Wheat Penny could be worth as little as $0.35 or as much as $135,000, depending on its condition, circulation status, coloration, and mint mark. For example, in 2006, an MS-68 1917-P RD 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny sold for $38,813.

However, rare errors can also make a 1917 Lincoln Wheat penny valuable. In fact, the most expensive 1917 one-cent coin ever sold at auction was a red MS-67+ DDO penny that sold for $120,000 in 2019.

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