Skip to Content

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Value (Rare Errors & Varieties)

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Value (Rare Errors & Varieties)

When determining the 1989 penny value, there are quite a few things to keep in mind; factors like the penny’s condition (NGC or PCGS grade), coloration, and mint mark.

In this guide, we’ll explore how these qualities impact the value of a 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny. We’ll also delve into the estimated values of this coin. So, if you’re a numismatist (coin collector) hoping to buy or sell a 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny for the best price, this guide can help!

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Value Chart

1989-P Penny BN$0.75$2.5$7.5
1989-P Penny RB$2$5$10
1989-P Penny RD/$5$30
1989-D Penny BN$0.75$2.5$7.5
1989-D Penny RB$2$5$10
1989-D Penny RD/5$30
1989-S Proof Penny RDU$1$2$6.5
*by NGC Price Guide

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny: History

In 1982, the U.S. Mint made a significant change to the Lincoln Memorial penny. But unlike previous changes, this alteration had nothing to do with design or coin size.

Instead, the changes came down to:

  • Copper content, and
  • Coin weight

Copper, once seen as a somewhat common metal, was quickly becoming more valuable thanks to its use in technological manufacturing. As such, the copper used to create pennies resulted in one-cent coins that were worth more than their listed denomination thanks to their high copper content (95%).

To rectify this situation, the U.S. Mint began producing Lincoln Memorial pennies out of zinc, with only a thin copper coating to help them retain their classic appearance. This change resulted in a penny that was lighter (2.5 grams instead of 3.11 grams) and slightly less valuable (based on metal composition).

The 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny is the descendant of these earlier changes, but its design is still the classic Lincoln Memorial design instituted in 1959.

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Design

Before the Lincoln Memorial penny, the U.S. saw several one-cent coin designs and styles. And in 1959, the Lincoln Wheat (or Wheat Reverse) penny became the Lincoln Memorial penny.

This “new” coin design featured several of the same design hallmarks as its previous iteration, featuring the image of President Abraham Lincoln on its obverse (front) face. The primary change came in the form of a new reverse (back) design.

Instead of two stalks of wheat, the Lincoln Memorial’s reverse side showed a stylized image of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Created by Frank Gasparro, this new design is one of the most widely recognized, even despite its replacement in 2009.


photo source: NGC

The obverse (front) face of a 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny features:

  • The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the top of the coin, displayed in an arch that follows the uppermost curve of the coin
  • The raised image (device) of President Abraham Lincoln, extending from beneath “IN GOD WE TRUST” to the bottom lip of the coin
  • The legend “LIBERTY” on the left side of the coin
  • The year date “1989” on the lower right side of the coin
  • The mint mark (D or S) beneath the year date, or no mint mark if produced at the Philadelphia Mint facility


photo source: NGC

The reverse (back) face of a 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny features:

  • The issuing nation “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” on the top of the coin, displayed in an arch that follows the curve of the coin
  • The motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” beneath the issuing nation, separated by interpoints
  • The raised image (device) of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • The coin denomination “ONE CENT” on the bottom portion of the coin, curving upward to follow the coin’s curve

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Features and Specifications

In addition to design (the Lincoln Memorial design), pennies struck in 1989 share distinct characteristics. For example, 1989 Lincoln Memorial pennies all:

  • Weigh 2.5 grams (about 0.09 ounces)
  • Have a diameter of 19 millimeters (about 0.75 inches)
  • Are primarily made of zinc but with a copper coating
  • Have plain (non-ridged) edges

Additionally, the U.S. Mint facilities responsible for producing pennies in 1989 typically struck billions of these coins. The only exception is the San Francisco Mint, which only released about 3.22 million pennies in 1989, all of which were proof strike coins.

How Much Is a 1989 Penny Worth?

A 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny in good (G-4) or about uncirculated (AU-50) condition is worth about $0.05. 1989 Lincoln Memorial pennies in uncirculated (mint state) condition are far more valuable. An MS-67 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny is worth about $7.50, though it could be worth more if it’s a desirable color (primarily red).

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Value Comparison

If you have a few 1989 Lincoln Memorial pennies in your collection (or want to add some), you might wonder how much a particular penny is worth. After all, the values of these one-cent coins vary significantly, making it tricky to pinpoint an exact value for any given penny.

Fortunately, you can utilize this value comparison to discover the estimated worth of 1989 Lincoln Memorial pennies.

1989-P Lincoln Memorial Penny Value

photo source: PCGS

The 1989-P Lincoln Memorial penny (also called the 1989 Lincoln Memorial cent or the 1989 “No Mint Mark” Lincoln penny) is the most common type of U.S. one-cent coin struck in 1989.

These coins were produced at the Philadelphia Mint facility and lack mint marks. Notably, nearly all pennies struck at the Philadelphia Mint have no mint marks.

No other U.S. Mint facility has produced more pennies throughout the last century than the Philadelphia Mint. In 1989, this facility struck over 7 billion Lincoln Memorial pennies, about 2 billion more than the Denver Mint.

These regular strike pennies are highly circulated, and it’s not uncommon to find them in circulation today, though in-circulation examples are likely to dwindle over the coming decades.

The value of a 1989-P Lincoln Memorial penny varies between $0.05 and $1,900. Coloration and condition are the two most influential factors determining the value of one of these pennies, as you’ll see by exploring the following value listings.


When pennies are initially struck, they’re a dazzling red-copper color. This coloration comes from their copper content (or plating, as is the case for pennies produced after 1982).

But copper doesn’t stay a rich red color forever. Instead, it darkens and turns brown over time, especially when exposed to air and water. This process is called oxidization and is frequently seen with heavily circulated pennies.

Additionally, heavily circulated brown (BN) pennies tend to show more signs of wear and tear than red and brown (RB) or red (RD) pennies. For this reason, these pennies are available in a wide range of grades, from good (G-4) to mint state (MS-60 or higher).

A BN 1989-P Lincoln Memorial cent in good (G-4) to about uncirculated (AU-50) condition is worth about $0.05. But a BN 1989-P Lincoln Memorial penny in MS-67 condition has an estimated value of about $7.50.

Red and Brown

When regular strike pennies are removed from circulation somewhat early on, they can retain some of their original color but with noticeable tinges of brown oxidation. These pennies are called red and brown (RB) coins and are often available in mint state (MS) condition.

An RB 1989-P Lincoln Memorial cent is worth between $0.50 (MS-60) and $10 (MS-67).


The red (RD) 1989-P Lincoln Memorial penny is the most valuable type of Philadelphia Mint penny from 1989. Like red and brown (RB) coins, they’re often in excellent condition.

The value of an RD 1989-P Lincoln Memorial penny varies from $5 (MS-65) to $1,900 (MS-68+). An MS-67 example has an estimated value of about $30.

1989-D Lincoln Memorial Penny Value

photo source: PCGS

The Denver Mint struck over 5 billion Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1989, making the 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cent slightly rarer than its Philadelphia Mint (No Mint Mark) counterpart. But like 1989-P pennies, the value of these coins depends on their coloration and condition (grade).


Like 1989-P Lincoln Memorial pennies, brown (BN) 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cents are generally the most common and least valuable examples.

A BN 1989-D Lincoln Memorial penny in good (G-4) or about uncirculated (AU-50) condition is worth about $0.05. However, mint state (MS) BN 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cents can be far more valuable.

If you find an MS-67 BN 1989-D Lincoln Memorial penny, you can expect it to fetch about $7.50. For perspective, that’s 750 times the coin’s listed denomination ($0.01)!

Still, brown pennies aren’t worth quite as much as red and brown (RB) or red (RD) ones.

Red and Brown

A red and brown (RB) 1989-D Lincoln Memorial penny is generally a mint state (MS) coin that only exhibits light oxidation.

An MS-60 RB 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cent is worth about $0.50, while an MS-67 RB 1989-D penny is worth about $10. But, of course, if you’re looking for the most valuable type of 1989-D Lincoln Memorial penny, you’ll want to set your sights on the coveted red (RD) version.


The red (RD) 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cent is the most valuable type of penny from 1989.

An MS-65 RD 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cent has an estimated value of $5. But an MS-68+ RD 1989-D Lincoln Memorial cent is worth about $1,100!

The higher-than-average value of RD 1989-D pennies is the result of their comparative rarity, as for-circulation (regular strike) coins are rarely found in exceptional (mint state) condition.

1989-S Lincoln Memorial Penny (Proof) Value

photo source: PCGS

Unlike the Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint, the San Francisco Mint facility didn’t produce any regular strike Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1989. Instead, it struck about 3.22 million proof pennies, which are higher-quality, for-collection versions of the iconic Lincoln Memorial cent.

These pennies are generally in better condition than other types of 1989 Lincoln Memorial pennies thanks to the fact that they never entered circulation. However, they’re not the most valuable types of 1989 pennies.

For example, an PR-60 1989-S Lincoln Memorial proof penny is estimated at $0.25, while an PR-70 example is worth about $115. These values fall far below the values of similarly-graded 1989-P and 1989-D pennies, despite the fact that 1989-S pennies are far rarer.

This lower-than-expected value might stem from the fact that 1989-S proof strike pennies are expected to be in uncirculated condition, while regular strike (for-circulation) pennies from the same year that exhibit rich red coloration and near-perfect grading are unusual, and therefore, scarcer and more valuable.

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Rare Errors

By the late 1980s, the U.S. Mint’s error rate was quite low. Unlike previous decades, which saw changing machinery and coin-striking processes, U.S. Mint facilities in 1989 generally had the process of producing coins down to an exact science.

Still, there are a few error pennies dating to that year.

Many of these coins are far more valuable than the average 1989 Lincoln Memorial cent, making them worthwhile investments for collectors and investors. Some of the most notable 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny errors include the:

  • 1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Struck on Dime Planchet Error
  • 1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Die Break Error
  • 1989 Lincoln Memorial 20% Off-Center Error

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Struck on Dime Planchet Error

Planchets are small metal discs that are essentially “blank” coins. These discs become coins after being pressed with coin dies, which give the planchets their recognizable designs.

But every once in a blue moon, the U.S. Mint feeds the wrong types of planchets into the coin-minting machines. This is certainly the case for the 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny “dime planchet” error coins.

Instead of being struck on copper-coated zinc, these pennies are made of dime planchets, giving them a noticeably silver coloration. A dime planchet error penny from 1989 can be exceptionally valuable, with auction prices ranging between $700 and $2,530.

1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Die Break Error

The coin dies used to impress images into coins eventually wear out or develop noticeable signs of damage. If this happens before U.S. Mint staff can replace them, coins can end up with cracks or ridges that reflect the breaks in the die.

These error coins are called “die break” pennies, and they tend to sell for between $10 and $50, depending on their coloration and condition. One 1989 Die Break penny (an MS-63 example) sold at auction for $39 in 2021.

1989 Lincoln Memorial 20% Off-Center Error

For a coin to come out “perfect,” it needs to remain perfectly aligned beneath coin dies during the striking process. But every once and a while, planchets slide slightly. When this happens, the coin die can strike off-center, producing error coins that only show a partial design.

Although 1989 Lincoln Memorial off-center coins aren’t as valuable as dime-struck ones, they’re fairly rare. In August 2021, a 20% off-center 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny sold at auction for $89, making it more valuable than die break error pennies from the same year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a few lingering questions about the 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny? If so, review the following frequently asked questions and their answers!

How Many 1989 Lincoln Memorial Pennies Are There?

The U.S. Mint struck over 12 billion Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1989, many of which are still in circulation today. All told, there could be around 3.7 billion 1989 Lincoln Memorial pennies in circulation or private collections. As such, the 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny is far more commonplace than older pennies, particularly those struck before 1982.

What’s the Highest Price Ever Paid for a 1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny?

The highest auction price for a regular strike (non-error) 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny was $4,113, set in 2013 by Heritage Auctions. This was the final auction price for an MS-68 RD 1989-P (No Mint Mark) Lincoln Memorial cent. However, error pennies from 1989 have sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars, rivaling this record.

Are 1989 Lincoln Memorial Penny Errors Rare?

Generally, 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny error coins are rare. Some of the rarest errors are the “dime struck” coins. These silver-colored 1989 Lincoln Memorial cents can fetch thousands at auction, making them some of the most valuable 1989 pennies.

Final Thoughts

The 1989 Lincoln Memorial penny is worth between $0.05 and $3,500, depending on its mint mark, coloration, and grading.

However, the 1989 penny value is generally lower than the value of older pennies, particularly those made of 95% copper (pre-1982 Lincoln Memorial pennies). That said, 1989 Lincoln Memorial error pennies can be exceptionally valuable, with some selling for upwards of $2,500!

If you enjoyed this guide and want to learn more about the coin values, check out these related articles now!