Ned Ludd Coins » 1942 Wheat Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

1942 Wheat Penny Value: are “D”, “S”, No mint mark worth money?

Minted from the year 1909 to 1958, the 1942 Lincoln wheat penny doesn’t carry much intrinsic value, but older 1942 wheat pennies are worth a lot. Let’s read the value your wheat penny holds according to today’s market and the details that make this penny valuable for collectors and resellers.  

1942 Wheat Penny Details

1942 Wheat Penny Details
Image Credit: usacoinbook
  • Mintage: 950,084,000
  • Reverse Designer: Victor D. Brenner
  • Mint: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
  • Fineness:0.9
  • Category: Wheat Penny
  • Obverse Designer: Victor D. Brenner
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Composition: 95% copper 5% zinc

Obverse Design

The head side of the coin depicts the United States’ 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, facing to the right side of the coin. The design used in the wheat penny was inspired by Lincoln’s portrait used in the 1907 desk plaque for a company.

Victor D. Brenner was the designer behind the desk plaque and the wheat penny design. In God We Trust is written above the portrait’s head, curving along the coin’s rim. Behind the portrait’s neck, you’ll see the word Liberty written in block letters, whereas on the right side, the year 1942 is mentioned.

The mint mark on these 1942 wheat pennies is below the year on the coin’s right side. Initially, the coins minted had the initials VDB on the portrait’s base. The design was removed within the first week as many people didn’t welcome the idea of seeing initials with a big font on the coin. In the later design, the font of the initials was decreased and positioned accordingly.

Reverse Design

The same designer, Victor D. Brenner, designed the reverse side. The design shows a pair of wheat ears that start from the base of the coin and run along the coin’s rim. Starting from the top, you’ll see the phrase E Pluribus Unum written in a curved style along the rim. One Cent is written just above the coin’s center, whereas the United States of America is written below.

The reverse design of the 1942 wheat penny was used again in 1958 and 1959. Frank Gasparro, the mint’s assistant engraver, designed the penny’s back. The reverse design was later changed in 2009, finalizing the shield design, which is still used now.

1942 Wheat Penny Value Chart

Mint Mark Good Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated Mint State
1942 Wheat Penny No mint mark $0.17 $0.22 $0.56 $1.13 $3.3
1942 S Wheat Penny $0.22 $0.33 $1.42 $7.88 $13.00
1942 D Wheat Penny $0.17 $0.22 $0.56 $1.13 $3.13

1942 Wheat Penny Value and Varieties Guides

Besides the design changes, the composition of the 1942 wheat pennies also changed several times. Until 1942, the coin’s composition was 95% copper and 5% zinc. Later in 1943, the copper and zinc mix was changed with zinc-plated steel.

The following year, the previous copper-zinc ratio of 95:5 was resumed, keeping the composition the same until 1982, which changed the following year to 97.5% copper and 2.5% zinc. While the 1942 and 43 were 0.75 inches with smooth edges, the 1942 coin weighed 3.11 grams, whereas the 1943 coin was 2.7 grams.

1942 Wheat Penny No Mint Mark Value

1942 Wheat Penny No Mint Mark Value
Image Credit: pcgs
  • Edge: Smooth
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Type: Wheat penny
  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Face Value: $0.01
  • Quantity: 657,796,000
  • Place of Minting: Philadelphia
  • Price: $0.35 to $25

The coins with no mint mark were minted in Philadelphia. During the time, there were no mints in the region, and the Philadelphia mint didn’t use any mint marks. The mint in 1942 produced 657,796,000 wheat pennies, a record number produced by any mint.

As they were produced in massive quantities, the coins were less valuable. However, the mint also produced some proof coins for collectors, which in extremely fine condition, cost around $145.

1942 D Wheat Penny Value

1942 D Wheat Penny Value

  • Place of Minting: Denver
  • Price: $0.35 to $22
  • Face Value: $0.01
  • Edge: Smooth
  • Type: Wheat pennies
  • Mint Mark: D
  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Quantity: 206,698,000

The Denver mint produced 1942 wheat pennies with a D mint mark. In total, 206,698,000 coins were minted in Denver. These pennies are considered a mid-range coin as they have more value than the Philadelphia version but cost less than other 1942 wheat penny varieties. While a 1942 D penny in good condition costs only $0.2, a 1942 penny rated above MS 67 sells for several thousand dollars.

1942 S Wheat Penny Value

1942 S Wheat Penny Value

  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Price: $0.4 to $26
  • Quantity: 85,590,000
  • Edge: Smooth
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Type: Wheat penny
  • Place of Minting: San Francisco
  • Face Value: $0.01

The San Francisco mint in 1942 produced 85,590,000 wheat pennies. Due to a low production volume, these pennies are the most sought-after and valuable. The 1942 S pennies graded above MS 67 sell from $2300 upwards.

1942 Proof Wheat Penny Value

1942 Proof Wheat Penny Value

  • Edge: Smooth
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Type: Wheat penny
  • Year of Minting: 1942
  • Face Value: $0.01
  • Place of Minting: Philadelphia

Although the San Francisco mint typically produced proofs for most coins, the Philadelphia mint was assigned to make proof coins this time.

The first 50 to 100 freshly minted proof coins have the most value as these coins have the cameo effect. This effect occurs on the first 50 to 100 coins, leaving a mirrored field on the surface. 1942 proof wheat pennies with the cameo effect are the most valuable and can cost a collector more than $17,000.

Also Read: Top 20 Most Valuable Old Pennies Worth Money (Penny Collection)

1942 Wheat Penny History

Although dollars and cents are commonly used in America, these one-cent coins are called pennies because the region was once a British colony. The one-cent penny is widely known as the Lincoln penny as the coin portrays Abraham Lincoln on the obverse or front side of the penny.

The 16th President of the United States was first placed on the wheat penny coin to commemorate his birth.

Before the wheat penny, the US treasury didn’t use portraits of American presidents on their coins. Abraham Lincoln was the first president in history whose portrait was used on a coin. The idea of putting a president’s portrait was not entertained at the time because one of the founding fathers,

George Washington was compelled that putting these portraits would represent monarchy, just like the British coins that were used during the colonization of America. Despite the backlash from a few political figures, the coin was minted and became a hit, as the public already saw Abraham Lincoln as a hero and a mentor.

Victor D. Brenner was the designer behind this coin who had his initials minted on the coin. In his initial designs, Brenner wanted to write his full name on the front side of the coin, which the treasury rejected for being unconventional. After his initial design with the full name got rejected, he started tweaking the design and used his initials on the reverse side of the coin.

Fortunately, the second design with his initials on the back of the coin was selected and sanctioned for minting. However, as soon as the coins circulated, many noticed the designer’s initials were too big. Due to this backlash, the coin was removed from minting within the first week and redesigned again with the designer’s initials in a small font on the front.

Coin collectors, historians, and traders are always fascinated by the rich coin history. This coin marked the start of using portraits of recognizable human figures. Before that time, symbolic depictions of Lady Liberty were widely used on notes and coins. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of America, pushed the idea of changing the coins and currency notes.

He wanted the currency to look more eye-catching, symbolic, and artistic. Therefore, in 1904, he pushed to hire renowned sculptors and designers to be official coin designers. Besides designing the Lincoln penny, Brenner had designed the Lincoln plaque, which Roosevelt appreciated. During the hiring process, Roosevelt vouched for Brenner to be hired as one of the treasury’s designers.

After Brenner got his job, the French currency influenced the first designs he produced, which the treasury rejected for being too similar. After some tweaks, Brenner submitted a redesign to the treasury, with one side portraying Abraham Lincoln and the other showing two curved durum wheat ears.

The design was approved for minting but still had the designer’s big initials. The San Francisco mint produced 500000 of these coins with the initials VDB but was stopped from production as people didn’t welcome the big initials the designer left on the coin’s design.

1942 Wheat Penny Grading

Although several reliable companies are offering their coin grading services, the collector can initially self-evaluate any coin to get an idea of its worth. A coin in mint condition will always be more valuable than one with more wear.

1942 Wheat Penny Errors

An average person might consider coin errors as damage and consider these pieces worthless. However, for a coin collector or a trader, getting their hands on coins with errors is no less than hitting a gold mine. Let’s read about the errors reported in the 1942 wheat pennies and their value.

1. 1942 Wheat Penny DDO with RPM Error

1942 Wheat Penny DDO with RPM Error
Image Credit: ebay

The RPM in error is the re-punched mint mark. This happens when the die hits the coin surface twice at the same spot. This error is also called the S/S or D/D error.

The DDO in error is called the double-die error, which occurs when the die moves slightly from its place during the hubbing process. The movement of the die makes a doubling effect, making the coin desirable due to this minting mistake.

A 1942 wheat penny with this dual error ranges between $400 to $800 or more, depending on the coin’s condition.

2. 1942 Wheat Penny DDO Error

1942 Wheat Penny DDO Error

The Double die error coins in the 1942 wheat penny happen when the die strikes the same coin surface twice, making a double outline. Typically, this error is recorded in recycled coins.

While the same die striking the coin is termed an S/S or D/D error, if the recycled coin ends up in a different mint, it will have two distinct mint marks that are seen as more valuable. These errors are called S over D or S/D errors.

3. 1942 Wheat Penny S/S/S RPM Error

1942 Wheat Penny S/S/S RPM Error

Depending on where the evident re-punching is noted and the coin’s quality, its value is determined. For example, if a coin has a re-punched word, it can sell for $200 to $300.

However, its value can reach thousands of dollars if the coin has a re-punched word, date, and mint mark. Recently, an MS 66 wheat penny with the three errors mentioned earlier was sold for almost one grand ($1000).

4. 1942 Wheat Penny Struck on Planchet Error

The 1942 coins minted on the thick planchet caused the coins to be produced with more weight. The weight of coins with this error is 4.11g, whereas the original coins weigh 3.11g. The distinct thickness of the coins makes them valuable, making fine-quality pieces sell for over $1700.

5. 1942 Wheat Penny Mirror Obverse 40% Off-Center Error

1942 Wheat Penny Mirror Obverse 40% Off-Center Error
Image Credit: coins.ha

The error occurs due to a faulty die, printing the coin surface off-center. In the 1942 penny, the error is reported on the obverse side, which is almost 40% off-center, showing only two-thirds of Lincoln’s head. The coin with this error is priced at $2500 and above.

6. 1942 Wheat Penny Struck on Ten-Cent Planchet Error

1942 Wheat Penny Struck on Ten-Cent Planchet Error

Striking the 1942 penny on the wrong planchet resulted in the error. Instead of using the planchet of a penny, workers used the planchet for a dime. The lowest quality 1942 pennies with this error sell for thousands of dollars.

7. 1942 Wheat Penny Struck on Brass Planchet Error

1942 Wheat Penny Struck on Brass Planchet Error

Striking the coins on the brass planchet changed the toning and feel of the coin. The coins with this error are valuable as a 1942 penny in good condition with the brass planchet error is sold for $125, which is more than the value of mint state coins.

1942 Wheat Penny FAQs

Are 1942 wheat pennies valuable?

Although the 1942 wheat pennies produced in Philadelphia were in massive quantities, they had little value. You can purchase a mint state 1942 penny with a few dollars. However, 1942 pennies with specific errors are regarded as rare and valuable and can sell for thousands of dollars.

Is there a 1942 wheat penny worth $85,000?

The earlier versions of the 1942 wheat penny were primarily made of copper, these early composition pennies are seen as a relic of history and are valued at $65,000 to $85,000 and upwards.

Are 1942 wheat pennies silver or steel?

Although the 1942 pennies minted before the date were made of copper, in 1943, the treasury decided to conserve copper and introduced a substitute of zinc-coated steel that was then adopted as the material for minting.  

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