1917 Penny Value Guide (‘’P‘’, “D”, ‘’S’’ & Error Coins)

Jenson Cambell

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Penny

The 1917 Penny is a coin with some interesting stories. For one, it was the last Lincoln Wheat Penny to be released without Victor Brenner’s initials. It was also the first Lincoln Penny to be released without a proof variety.

But what is the 1917 Penny worth these days? In the right condition, a 1917 Penny can sell for thousands of dollars. Below are the latest figures we grabbed from NGC:

1917 Penny Valuation Chart

Coin Condition 1917 Penny, Brown Variety
1917-P Penny 1917-D Penny 1917-S Penny
Good (G4) $0.50 $2.50 $2.50
Fine (F12) $1.50 $8.50 $8
Extremely Fine (XF40) $10 $40 $25
Uncirculated (MS60) $30 $90 $100
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $200 $500 $800

Note: The figures above only represent the estimated value of 1917 Brown Pennies. We chose this variety because it is the most abundant. However, we’ll also discuss the value of the Red and Red-Brown varieties of the 1917 Lincoln Penny.

1917 Penny: Historical Background

1917 Penny value

The 1917 Penny is the ninth iteration of the Lincoln Penny, a coin series that has been running since 1909. These coins feature the profile of the 16th U.S. president, hence the name Lincoln Penny.

1917 was the year that the U.S. entered the Great War. At the time, the government imposed wartime taxes on an already flourishing economy, leading to an increased demand for low-denomination coins.

Being the smallest denomination, the 1917 Penny was affected by this demand, and it was produced in high quantities. So high that the penny’s mintage in 1917 broke the record for the highest production of Lincoln Pennies. The 1917 Penny’s 284 million coins dwarfed the 1916 Penny mintage of only 190 million.

1917 Penny: Physical Features

Despite being a wartime coin, the U.S. Mint didn’t alter the metallic composition or color of the 1917 Penny. The coin retained its bronze color as well as its metallic makeup. Following tradition with Lincoln Pennies, the Mint produced Brown, Red, and Red-Brown varieties of the 1917 Lincoln Penny.

1917 Penny: Physical Characteristics

Physical Feature Notes
Colors Red

Brown

Red-Brown

Metallic Composition 95% Copper

5% Mixture of Tin and Zinc

Weight 3.11 grams
Diameter 19 mm
Edge Plain

Obverse Design and Features

1917 Penny obverse feature

The 1917 Penny uses the same obverse design that was used on the 1909 Lincoln Cent. That design was the work of Victor D. Brenner.

Victor Brenner included the following elements in his design:

  • The right-facing profile of President Abraham Lincoln
  • The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST
  • The legend “LIBERTY
  • The date “1917
  • The mint mark (D, S, or None)

Reverse Design and Features

1917 Penny reverse feature

The reverse of the 1917 Penny is also credited to Victor Brenner. Like the obverse, it was the same design used on the 1909 Wheat Penny, except for excluding Brenner’s initials (VDB).

The 1917 Penny includes the following characters on its reverse:

  • The denomination “ONE CENT
  • The country, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
  • Two wheat heads
  • The motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM

1917 Penny: Varieties and Valuation

1917 was a very productive year for the Lincoln Penny. Over 284 million pennies were minted between the big three U.S. Mints, and below are the varieties we got in 1917:

1917-P Lincoln Penny Value

1917-P Lincoln Penny Value
1917 1C, RD (Regular Strike)
  • U.S. Mint: Philadelphia
  • Mintage: 196,429,785
  • Mint Mark: None

In 1917, the Philadelphia Mint struck more than 196 million pennies, the most it had ever produced at the time. They made Red, Brown, and Red-Brown varieties in unknown proportions.

Brown 1917-P Lincoln Pennies are the most common, with most of them being heavily circulated. Every once in a while, they pop up in circulation, and you can find a few of them among your change. According to NGC, Circulated 1917-P Pennies are worth between $0.50 and $10. In mint condition, 1917-P Pennies are worth between $30 and $40,000, depending on grade and color.

But how do the color varieties of the 1917-P Penny compare value-wise? Perhaps the table below will set the record straight.

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4) $0.50
Very Good (VG8) $0.75
Fine (F12) $1.50
Very Fine (VF20) $5
Extremely Fine (XF40) $10
About Uncirculated (AU50) $15
Uncirculated (MS60) $30 $35 $45
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $200 $225 $525
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS68) $40,000

It’s important to understand that the values above are only estimates made by NGC based on their experience. The true value of a coin is driven by its demand, and it can rise or drop in an instant.

Consider the value of the following 1917-P Pennies that were sold on different auction sites:

1917-P Penny Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firm
Red MS68RD $38,813 Heritage Auction
Red MS67RD $14,950 Heritage Auctions
Red-Brown MS66RB $1,293 Heritage Auctions
Brown MS64BN $780 Heritage Auctions
Red-Brown MS66RB $449 Heritage Auctions
Brown MS65BN $109 Heritage Auctions

1917-P Penny with Double Die Obverse (DDO)

1917-P Penny with Double Die Obverse value
1917 1C DDO FS-101, BN (Regular Strike)
  • U.S. Mint: Philadelphia
  • Mintage: Unknown
  • Mint Mark: None

Some of the 196 million pennies struck by the Philadelphia Mint had a double die error on their obverse faces. We may not know the exact number, but there are just enough examples out there to regard these coins as a separate variety.

Die hubs can fall out of alignment when not properly maintained. And like a wheel hub, misaligned hubs wobble as they strike the coin, causing doubling around the edges of the images, numbering, and letters.

The DDO error on the 1917-P Penny affected the “IN GOD WE TRUST” motto as well as the date “1917.”

In terms of value, the 1917-P Double Die Obverse Pennies are quite valuable because they are rarer than the regular-struck 1917-P Pennies. They are worth between $70 and $92,500, depending on their color and condition.

Let’s examine how much PCGS values these pennies.

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
About Good (AG3) $70
Good (G4) $90
Very Good (VG8) $160
Fine (F12) $275
Very Fine (VF20) $425
Extremely Fine (XF40) $1,400
About Uncirculated (AU50) $1,600
Uncirculated (MS60) $3,750 $4,000
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS64) $9,000 $9,000 $13,000
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $22,500 $32,500
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $92,500

As you can see, the Red varieties are the most valuable. PCGS estimates a 1917-P DDO Penny in MS67+ to be worth an ungodly $135,000.

With figures like these, one can only wonder what these coins actually sell for in auction. Here are some notable sales that will put your mind to rest:

1917-P Penny, Double Die Obverse Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firm
Red MS67+RD $120,000 Stack’s Bowers
Red MS67RD $84,000 Stack’s Bowers
Red-Brown MS65RB $14,950 Heritage Auctions
Red-Brown MS65RB $13,800 Heritage Auctions
Brown MS63BN $8,400 Stack’s Bowers
Brown MS63BN $7,200 Heritage Auctions

1917-D Penny Value

1917-D Penny Value
1917-D 1C, RB (Regular Strike)
  • U.S. Mint: Denver
  • Mintage: 55,120,000
  • Mint Mark: D

The Denver Mint also pulled its weight in 1917, striking a little over 55 million pennies, the most Lincoln Pennies it had minted until that point. But this record-breaking mintage led to compromises in quality. For example, the Denver Mint continued to use dies long after they lost their fitness.

Among the 1917-D Pennies, Brown is the common variety. Circulated examples are common in Good to Fine conditions. They aren’t worth much, as NGC values them between $2.50 and $8.50.

Uncirculated 1917-D pennies may be harder to track down, but they are more valuable thanks to this rarity. NGC values these coins between $47.50 and $70, depending on the coin’s condition.

Red and Red-Brown varieties are almost always in uncirculated condition. In this state, they are worth between $115 and $12,000. Brown pennies are available, too, but they aren’t as valuable as the Red and Red-Brown varieties. NGC estimates the value of brown 1917-D Pennies at between $90 and $1,250.

Below is a comparison of the value of these 1917-D Pennies:

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4) $2.50
Very Good (VG8) $5
Fine (F12) $8.50
Very Fine (VF20) $17.50
Extremely Fine (XF40) $40
About Uncirculated (AU50) $47.50
Uncirculated (MS60) $90 $115 $150
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS64) $235 $500 $875
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $1,250 $2,500 $12,000

Source: NGC, 2023

Over the years, there have been countless sales of 1917-D Pennies. Below is a highlight of just a few of the biggest auctions.

1917-P Penny, Double Die Obverse Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firm
Red MS66RD $14,375 Heritage Auctions
Red MS66RD $13,225 Heritage Auctions
Red-Brown MS66RB $3,600 Stack’s Bowers
Red-Brown MS66RB $2,220 Heritage Auctions
Brown MS66BN $1,725 Heritage Auctions
Brown MS65BN $456 Heritage Auctions

1917-S Penny Value

1917-S Penny Value
1917-S 1C, BN (Regular Strike)
  • U.S. Mint: San Francisco
  • Mintage: 32,620,000
  • Mint Mark: S

With a production of 32.6 million pennies, the San Francisco Mint had the lowest mintage of the three mints in 1917. As a result, the 1917-S Pennies were heavily hoarded, and you’ll find them in better condition than the 1917-D and 1917-P Lincoln Pennies.

So how much are they worth? According to NGC, a 1917-S Penny can fetch between $2.50 and $11,500, depending on the variety and condition.

Speaking of varieties, below is a comparison of how the value of Red, Brown, and Red-Brown 1917-S Pennies compare:

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4) $2.50
Very Good (VG8) $5
Fine (F12) $8
Very Fine (VF20) $12.50
Extremely Fine (XF40) $25
About Uncirculated (AU50) $32.50
Uncirculated (MS60) $100 $135 $200
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $800 $1,500 $11,500
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS68) $9,250 $5,000

The 1917-S Penny also sold some high-profile examples. Below is a highlight of some of the most significant sales on the auction block:

1917-P Penny, Double Die Obverse Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firm
Red MS65RD $36,800 Bowers & Merena
Red MS65RD $28,750 Heritage Auctions
Brown MS6+BN $8,225.00 Legend Rare Coin Auctions
Brown MS66+BN $7,637.50 Legend Rare Coin Auctions
Red-Brown MS66RB $3,850 Great Collections
Red-Brown MS66RB $2,938.68 Stack’s Bowers

1917 Penny: Valuable Error Coins

The motifs used in the design of the Lincoln Pennies are complex and very difficult to pull off. The 1917 Penny itself had its fair share of quality issues, which yielded some very interesting error coins. Here are five valuable examples.

1917-P Penny with Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error: Sold for $24,087.50

1917-P Penny with Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error

The DDO was the most common error among the 1917 Lincoln Cents. It also represents the most valuable variety of the 1917 Lincoln Penny. This particular penny shows a double die error on both the date and the motto.

There’s a visible doubling on the “9” and “7” of 1917 and on the “W” and on all the letters of “TRUST.” Other than that, it’s a pristine penny with a grade of MS65+RD.

1917-P Penny with Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error: Sold for $15,600

1917 Penny with Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error

Here’s another 1917 penny that left the Philadelphia Mint with a Double Die Obverse error. This DDO manifests in almost all the letters of the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The date is also suffering from doubling on the numbers “9” and “7.” With a grade of MS65RD, the coin is not in the most pristine condition, but it’s worth some big bucks.

1917-P Penny with Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error: Sold for $9,900

1917 P Penny Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error value

This coin is a testament that a DDO error can make a Red-Brown 1917-P Penny very valuable. PCGS graded this example MS65, and it looks the part, too. It has specks of brown on both faces but nothing too serious to tarnish its pretty appearance.

1917-P Penny with Broadstrike Error: Sold for $104

1917-P Penny with Broadstrike Error

A broadstruck penny is one that is struck outside the collar. In this context, the collar is the retaining ring that defines the final diameter of the coin.

Though it doesn’t look like it, this coin is rated MS63 by ANACS. The copper is already turning green, and it’s difficult to make out the details on Lincoln’s face.

1917 Penny: Is it Worth Collecting

Absolutely! The 1917 Penny offers a lot of value in mint condition. A 1917-S Penny in MS68 condition is valued at $9,250. If that’s not enough to send you coin hunting, I don’t know what is. But that’s not the most valuable variety.

According to the Cherrypicker’s Guide, the 1917 Double Die Obverse is the most sought-after variety of the 1917 Pennies. One example even sold on Stack’s Bowers for a mind-boggling $120,000.

1917 Penny Value chart

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