Uncover the Value of a 1952 Wheat Penny


In 1952, the Lincoln wheat cent was minted during a period of transition in the United States. Harry S. Truman was President at the beginning of the year, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected to take office by the end. This article will explore the history and value of the 1952 wheat penny.

1. History of the Lincoln Wheat Cent

With over a dozen Lincoln-based coins in American history, the Lincoln Wheat Penny stands out as a must-have for any collector. However, it can be
difficult to determine the authenticity of this piece. To gain a better understanding of its history, let us explore further.

Prior to determining the 1952 penny value, it is important to explore the history of the Lincoln Wheat Cent. In 1909, the United States Mint replaced the Indian Head Cent with the Lincoln Wheat Cent. By 1952, the Mint had produced nearly 37 billion of these coins. The designer of the Indian Head Nickel, Earl Fraser, created a new pattern to replace existing coins.

The Lincoln Wheat Cent, featuring wheat ears on the reverse, was produced by the mint until 1959, when it was redesigned by Frank Gasparro to feature the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. This alteration was met with resistance, and the coins were never accepted. Nevertheless, the Lincoln Memorial’s reversal remained in circulation for 50 years.


In 1943, the US government altered the composition of wheat pennies, which had previously been 95% copper, 5% tin, and zinc, to 100% steel with a thin layer of zinc plating. This reduced the weight from 3.11g to 2.7g. Tin was removed from the composition in 1944, but reinstated in 1947.

In 1982, the rising cost of copper necessitated a change in the composition of the U.S. cent. The new core consists of 0.8% copper and 99.2% zinc,
with a thin coating of pure copper. This iteration of the cent weighs 2.5g.

2. 1952 Lincoln Wheat Penny Errors and Varieties

The 1952 Lincoln wheat penny saw a high volume of mass production, resulting in a variety of errors. Of particular note is the Lincoln double die,
a rare and sought-after variety. However, only one common die variety was produced that year.


3. Grading Your Lincoln Penny

Mastering the art of classifying Lincoln wheat coins is a skill that experienced coin collectors hone over many years. Coin classification is an opinion-based description of the condition of a particular coin, which is generally accepted by dealers and collectors alike.

Grading Lincoln pennies requires an understanding of the arithmetical standards used to assign a value to a coin. While not a scientific process, theorists have established criteria to assess the quality of a coin, allowing for an accurate determination of its worth.

Grading Lincoln Pennies is a subjective process, with a scale of 1 to 70. A grade of 1 is nearly unrecognizable due to wear, while a grade of 70 is a perfect, pristine example. To accurately grade a Lincoln Penny, one must become familiar with the grading standards.


4. Striking Characteristics

In 1952, the United States Mint produced hundreds of millions of wheat penny cents at three separate facilities: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. Despite the high output, the mint workers had ample time to ensure the coins were of superior quality, making it easy to find impressive examples.


5. Values & Mintages

The 1952 wheat penny is a popular coin, and well-marked, uncirculated specimens can be worth several dollars. Although these coins are no longer in circulation, they can occasionally be found in pocket change.

Date and Mint Mintage Circ. Buy Circ. Se,ll Unc. Buy Unc. Sell
1952 186,775,000 $0.09 $0.04 $1.20 $0.90
1952 – D 746,130,000 $0.09 $0.04 $0.90 $0.70
1952 – S 137,800,004 $0.09 $0.04 $2.20 $1.50
1952 Proof 81,980 n.a. n.a. $42.00 $30.00


6. Auction records

Top Ten Auction Records for the 1952 Wheat Penny :

  • $9,775 – David Lawrence RC; MS67 (PCGS), November 2007.
  • $6,463 – Heritage Auctions; MS67+ (PCGS), April 2015.
  • $6,325 – Heritage Auctions; MS67 (PCGS), September 2008.
  • $6,325 – Heritage Auctions; MS67 (PCGS), May 2005.
  • $5,980 – Bowers & Merena; MS67 (PCGS), August 2006.
  • $5,800 – eBay; MS67 (PCGS), March 2012.
  • $5,290 – David Lawrence RC; MS67 (PCGS), August 2009.
  • $5,100 – Superior Galleries; MS67 (PCGS), January 2004.
  • $5,060 – Heritage Auctions; MS67 (PCGS), January 2005.
  • $4,994 – Heritage Auctions; MS67 (PCGS),April 2014.


The 1952 wheat penny, or wheat cent, is a highly sought-after coin among collectors. This article provides an overview of the history of the wheat
penny, its value, and striking characteristics, as well as grading standards for the 1952 wheat cent.

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