We all know that a penny coin is worth just one cent, or is it? Well, this mainly depends on how you look at it. For most common people one cent coin is something they rather toss away than hoard in their bags and wallets – thinking why would I keep it anyway.

The reality is that a penny coin does not have any buying value, however, it can have collectible value, which can be a few hundred times bigger than its face value. If you think that is a fairytale then you probably didn’t read our previous article where we talked about rare and valuable penny coins.

Now, hopefully, this information made you curious to continue exploring. In this particular article, we will pay attention to error coins, which are known as money makers. Stay tuned if you desire to learn more about rare and valuable 2009 penny errors.

Let’s Start With Some 2009 Penny History Facts

As we already mentioned, the first official currency coin authorized by G. Washington was the penny from 1792. In fact, the penny coin has a pretty long history, but no matter how old it is one thing is for sure – it always symbolizes the spirit of the nation. Throughout the history design of this coin a lot, you’ll notice a lot of different images on the obverse side, from Liberty to Lincoln.

The first penny with an image of Lincoln was minted in 1909 in honor of Lincoln’s 100th birthday. This was the first coin that features a portrait of a real person by the order of then-American President Roosevelt.

Considering how old this coin is naturally some design changes occurred. However, the most noticeable one was the change in the design of the reverse side in 2009 to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th Birthday.

This new edition showed Lincoln through different periods of his life. In 2009 the US Mint released each new design of penny one after the other, with a three-month margin between them. In the following, we will talk about these four new reverse designs.

Lincoln showed different periods of his life

2009 Lincoln Penny – Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816)

This first new edition reverse design is dedicated to his early life. On this coin, you can see a log cabin similar to the one in which he was born and raised in Kentucky. The log cabin symbolizes the humble beginnings of the 16th US president.

This design was made by Richard Masters and it is one of the most praised coin designs. On February 12, 2009, the first coin was released in circulation in a special ceremony.

2009 Lincoln Penny – Formative Years in Indiana (1816-1830)

Three months later, a second design was released, on May 14, 2009. This design depicts Lincoln in his early years. He worked as a rail splitter in Indiana, so the image on the coin’s reverse side shows young Lincoln reading a book during his work break.

Keep in mind that this design has several varieties. You will see some coins depicting a shadow by Lincoln’s fingers, while others show other fingers on Lincoln’s hands. Each variety differs in price, however, these coins are pretty easy to find.

2009 Lincoln Penny – Professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861)

The third design was released in August 2009. This new design is focused on Lincoln’s professional life in Illinois. In fact, Lincoln spent most of his professional life as a lawyer and politician. In 1834 he was elected to the State General Assembly, in 1846 to the U.S. House of Representatives, and finally, in 1861 he was elected as a new US president.

Logically, the image on this coin shows Lincoln giving a speech in 1858, in front of the Illinois state capitol building in Springfield. This particular image was selected since this speech was a significant and life-changing moment in his life. After this event, he was nominated for the US Senate on the Republican ticket.

2009 Lincoln Penny – Presidency in Washington, DC (1861-1865)

The fourth and final design of the commemorative reverse side was released by the US Mint on November 12, 2009. For some reason, this design sparked speculation concerning the coin’s design. Mainly the reason was different images that could represent Lincoln’s presidential career and era.

Naturally, this was the most important period of his life and the one that most people remembered him for. His presidency began in 1861 and ended up with his tragic assassination in 1865. To represent this the Mint decided to place an image of the dome of the U.S. Capitol which was still under construction. He was president during the Civil War, and during this war, he declared the slaves free.

This was the act for which he is most remembered. But, the main reason why the design of a half-finished capitol dome was chosen was that it symbolized all the challenges Lincoln came across during his years of presidency.

The obverse design of the 2009 Penny

The obverse side of the Lincoln penny didn’t change and it features the same image of Lincoln that first appeared on it in 1909. This was the first image of a real person portrait on a penny so naturally, out of respect it hasn’t changed.

The featured image on the obverse side shows a bust of Lincoln in profile with the inscribed motto “In God we trust” above his portrait, while the word “Liberty” is placed on the left side of Lincoln’s neck. Also, remember that the date and mint mark appears on the right side of Lincoln’s bust.

What we must mention is to remember that the color of copper coins, such as the 2009 penny, is important for assessing their real value. It is familiar to all of you that a brand-new, copper coin will have a red tone. However, when it is exposed to air and humidity that color changes into brown shades.

Red coins that have red tones over 95% of their surface area are the most valuable and expensive ones. Also, coins with red-brown patina are suitable for coin collections while those that already turned brown are not attractive.

What about 2009 Proof Lincoln Cent sets?

Coins were struck with a mirror finish and frosted features

Proof sets are minted only for the purpose of collecting, especially for coins that are minted to commemorate some noticeable person such as Presidents. The US Mint produced around 2,995,615 Lincoln Penny Proof Sets in 2009.

These proof coins were struck with a mirror finish and with frosted features. The mint used 95% copper planchets, just like they did for an original 1909 Lincoln penny. Keep in mind that the proof set of 2009-S Lincoln cents was only available in the 18-coin proof set.

All other sets contained regularly four proof 2009 Lincoln cents, four proof Presidential dollar coins, one proof Sacagawea dollar coin, six proof State quarter designs, one proof dime, one proof nickel, and one proof Kennedy half-dollar. All coins in a proof set had red patina and they need to remain in that condition to be valuable.

Also Read: Most Valuable State Quarter Errors (Rarest Sold for $66,000)

2009 Satin Finish Lincoln Peny sets

Also, the US Mint produced 784,614 Uncirculated mint sets in 2009. These coins feature satin-finish and special burnished dies. This set contains 36 coins, twice as much as Proof sets. All coins in these sets are minted in Denver and Philadelphia.

2009 Penny Errors And Varieties

There might be many different varieties of 2009 Lincoln penny designs, however, there are not many different types of errors on 2009 Lincoln pennies, unfortunately. Error coins are very popular among collectors because of their unique design. In the case of the 2009 Lincoln penny, there are only a few rare errors and we will mention them in the following.

  • Errors on Birth and early childhood in Kentucky 2009 Lincoln penny – There is only one type of error discovered on this variety of 2009 penny and it is a double die reverse error. Take a penny and look for die doubling on the ends of the logs on the front left corner of the log cabin. You’ll notice two or three logs doubling, and they can be in different places. Also, in a few examples you can see the E in ONE and the C in CENT doubled as well.
  • Errors on Formative years in Indiana 2009 Lincoln penny – This coin also features a doubled die error. This error is the most noticeable one since it involves Lincoln’s doubled fingers or thumbs and it can be easily seen. If you remember design portrays Lincoln seating on a fallen tree trunk, reading a book. Look carefully at the fingers holding the book. If you see an extra thumb or index finger, you are lucky. This is the only error in the whole series of 2009 Lincoln cents that is recognized by PCGS, and it is estimated to be worth from $450 u to $850.
  • Errors on Professional life in Illinois 2009 Lincoln penny – The third coin from this series comes with a few different double die errors and all of them can be noticed on the third upstairs window to the left. More precisely, search at the place where filled-in window panes and doubled window sills are, most errors occurred in this area.
  • Errors on Presidency in Washington 2009 Lincoln penny – Doubled die reverse error is the only one that occurs on the last coin from the commemorative series. These errors are most often located on the upper and lower window panes on the front side of the Capitol, as well as on the front door nearby windows.
  • 2009 S Penny, Horizontally Misaligned – Besides regular coins, also the ones that were minted for proof sets come with some errors. These coins were struck in San Francisco. You can notice that some of them have uneven rims around the design, this occurs when a coin is horizontally misaligned in the press. These coins will cost from $345 and above.

Table of the most valuable 2009 Lincoln pennies

Name and year Mintage and varieties Metal composition Diameter and weight Price
2009 Lincoln 1C Presidency, MS68 Red PCGS. 129,600,000 95% copper

5% tin and zinc

19 mm

2.5 grams

2009D Lincoln 1C Presidency MS69 Red NGC. 198,000,000 95% copper

5% tin and zinc

19 mm

2.5 grams

2009 Lincoln 1C Professional MS68 Red PCGS 316,000,000 95% copper

5% tin and zinc

19 mm

2.5 grams

2009D 1C Formative Years MS67 Red PCGS. PCGS Population (2/0) 363,600,000 95% copper

5% tin and zinc

19 mm

2.5 grams

2009S Lincoln 1C Set Proof Lincoln Cents PR 70 Red Deep Cameo PCGS 2,995,615 95% copper

5% tin and zinc

19 mm

2.5 grams

2009S 1C Professional Life Lincoln Cent–Bronze, Horizontally Misaligned Professional Life–PR68 Red Ultra Cameo NGC 2,995,615 95% copper

5% tin and zinc

19 mm

2.5 grams


2009 Memorial Lincoln Penny Grading System

No matter which type of coins we talk about they are all graded according to the Sheldon grading scale that most grading companies use. This scale helps them grade coins and determine their real value.

Coin grades go from poor to mint state and from good to uncirculated. Based on the grade the coin prices go up or down. Here are the basics of the grading system:

  • Uncirculated – A coin with this grade is almost perfect. All the small and fine details on the coin are clearly visible and bold. The coin’s field is bright, the luster is intact, and the shine is impeccable. This coin almost always achieves relatively high prices.
  • Extra fine – A coin with this grade is from circulation, and it does show some signs of wear but they are only visible if you look closely. Moreover, all the details on the coin are still clear, and the coin maintained the perfect color and shine.
  • Fine – A coin from circulation that has incurred some very obvious damage. In most cases these damages can be seen in certain areas, for instance on Lincoln’s penny you can notice the flattening and blending of curls on Lincoln’s head. These errors will affect the price significantly.
  • Good – The coin with this grade is in low condition and shows off some major damages, most details on the surface aren’t visible. This coin in most cases has gone through many hands and collections, so its price is usually very low.

Where To Buy And Sell Rare And Error Penny Coins?

When you consider buying or selling any coin you must always make sure you are completely safe from scams. Always do that through a reliable source. You can choose to work with reliable dealers or auction houses and avoid any unpleasant situations along the way.

All coins are very tricky to estimate when you aren’t so well experienced in this field, especially when we talk about error coins. Sometimes even an expert isn’t sure if the damage on the coin occurred during manufacturing or if it is fortified.

There can be so many different errors of the same coin available on the market so naturally you will get confused. This is the main reason why working with a professional grading company and agent is recommended. If you decide to hire them. These are some of the options you should consider – Heritage Auctions, PCGS, Coins For Sale, or Littleton Coin Company.

In case when you are selling coins a good practice is to search the internet and places such as eBay, Etsy, and LiveAuctioneers to learn how the competitors priced their coins and how attractive the coin is among the collectors. Remember, your coin is only valuable if there is a market for it.


How much is a 2009 Lincon penny worth today?

This mainly depends on the condition and the grade that the coin has. A coin in an average condition that has a grade like MS63, MS 64, and MS65 will cost you around $7 to $15. However, coins that carry higher grades like MS69 and MS70, will reach up to $750 or more.

Also, when speaking of the 2009 Lincoln commemorative penny price depends on the design of the reverse side, and the mint where they are produced. Coins that are minted in San Francisco are always more expensive.

Why is the Lincoln 2009 penny so attractive among collectors?

Even though this commemorative coin has a high mintage volume, this coin is still very desirable among collectors. Of course, that deosn not mean any 2009 Lincoln penny, it means highly graded pennies in extraordinarily condition, and preferably with an error.

However, considering these are very rare, only a few people are lucky to say thay own such coin. All in all, the 2009 Lincoln penny commemorated a great moment in both American and Lincoln’s history so this is what makes it valuable.

A Gem Worth Keeping

As we all know by now, pennies are one of the most collected American coins in the world. For collectors the 2009 Lincoln pennies are interesting because of their mintage and memorable purpose. Each coin was struck by the US mint with a different background story and for the 2009 pennies the story was iconic.

This story was told through four different coin designs so naturally that this coin is something that every collector want to own. A great thing is that anyone can get all four 2009 penny designs of Lincoln’s bicentennial coin for little money. Compared to other series or other commemorative coins, these are really affordable coins worth saving.

Hopefully, this article answered some of the questions and helped you figure out how to handle your precious coins. In case you know some information that we didn’t mention here, please do not hesitate to share your opinions and advice in the comment section below.

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