1969 Lincoln Penny Values (S & S Proof)

The Lincoln cent has been minted since 1909, bearing the likeness of beloved President Abraham Lincoln. Of all Lincoln cents, the 1969 issue holds a special place for many collectors due to the creation of special proof and mint sets that year. Read on to learn about the 1969-proof Lincoln penny value as well as tips for collecting, grading, and storing these popular coins.

Background on the 1969 Lincoln Memorial Cent

The Lincoln Memorial, designed by Frank Gasparro, came out in 1959 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. The reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., surrounded by the mottoes “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust,” and Lincoln’s name and years served as president.

This same design appeared on Lincoln cents minted in 1969 at three different U.S. Mint facilities. Here is an overview of the mint marks to know:

Key Dates and Mint Marks

Philadelphia Mint

Coins struck here do not have a mint mark. This was the main facility producing circulation strike Lincoln cents in large quantities in 1969.

See also  Lucky Finds: $80k Bicentennial Quarter Headlines List of 5 Other Valuable Quarters

Denver Mint

The “D” mint mark indicates coins struck at the Denver facility. Fewer circulation strikes originated here than in Philadelphia.

San Francisco Mint

The “S” mint mark signifies the San Francisco mint. In 1969, this facility only produced proof coinage.

1969 Proof Lincoln Cents

Unlike circulation strikes meant for everyday use, proof coins receive special handling and polishing to create a mirror-like surface. The U.S. Mint prepared proof sets of all denominations in 1969 for collectors.

Proof Sets

The 1969 proof set included a Lincoln penny along with proof examples of the other current circulating U.S. coins. The Philadelphia Mint struck an estimated 2,512,000 proof Lincoln cents for sets in 1969.

Value of 1969 Proof Sets

Because of lower original mintages, proof that Lincoln cents are worth more than business strikes from circulation. A 1969 proof set in its original government packaging trades for about $14 to $22 in pristine proof 70 condition as of December 2023. Sets certified as Proof 69 still sell for $8 to $12 generally. Proof sets showing wear or damage have less value to collectors.

See also  6 Most Valuable Peace Dollars for Collectors

Special Mint Sets (SMS)

In 1965, 1966, and 1967, collectors could purchase Special Mint Sets directly from the San Francisco facility. The U.S. Mint resumed striking SMS coins in 1969, creating just 2,634,066 sets with no advertised limit. SMS coins display highly reflective surfaces though not quite as perfect as proof issues.

Value of 1969 SMS Sets

Since the U.S. Mint made fewer 1969 SMS sets, they are scarcer than the proof sets from that year. Today a 1969 SMS set certified as SMS 70 can fetch $50 to $75 at auction. Examples grading SMS 69 sell for roughly $25 to $40 on average. Lesser quality sets have commensurately lower market prices.

Factors Affecting Value

When appraising your own 1969 Lincoln cents, be aware of certain aspects that determine collector appeal and price.

Condition and Grade

Higher-grade examples in pristine condition are always most prized by collectors. Tiny marks, spots, residue, or evidence of cleaning can diminish value significantly.

Damage and Cleaning

Any signs of damage from improper cleaning, exposure to elements, physical abuse, or unprofessional repairs will detract considerably from the market price for collectors.

See also  Lucky Strike! $70k Bentennial Leads Pack, 3 More Quarters Top $1,500

Rarity and Demand

Key date coin issues in shorter supply naturally trade higher than extremely common, well-saved dates. Proofs and special coin sets have captive audiences, leading to solid market prices.

Tips for Collecting and Storage

If you are assembling a collection of 1969 proof or mint set Lincoln cents, here are some useful tips to maximize their eye appeal and value over the years.

Getting Your Coins Graded

For long-term preservation, consider having important coins encapsulated by professional grading services like PCGS or NGC. This also boosts resale potential down the road.

Safe Handling and Storage

Always hold coins carefully by the edges and wear cotton gloves if necessary. Store coins in protective plastic cases away from potential damage and contamination.

With a fascinating back story, scarcer mintage figures for proofs and SMS issues, and importance to Lincoln cent collectors, 1969 proof pennies present an intriguing segment to explore. They make the perfect addition to any numismatic collection.

Leave a Comment