Brad's Suggested Grades

When purchasing Lincoln Cents, collectors want to get the most for their money.  I have
put together the following guide to help collectors make good decisions about the
Lincolns they purchase.  Collectors should also use their own judgement when buying
coins.  Here are a couple of guidelines:

1)  Buy before the "Jump".  For example lets looks at the 1923S cent.  Here are the
Aug 2011 Greysheet prices:
GOOD  $5.25
FINE $7.45
VERY FINE $10.00
For this coin, buying a GOOD example would not make much sense, since a FINE
would only be $2.20 more.  Since the coin starts taking big jumps after VF, a collector
should figure out what they can afford in VF or better.  Some coins, like the 1931S,
have very "flat" prices in circulated grades.  In GOOD the 1931S is $95, and in AU it is

2)  Don't feel the need to buy RED coins.  Buyer can often find value in coins graded
MS63RB or MS64BN between 1909 and 1934.  These can often have great eye appeal
and great luster.  Well struck MS64BN's without carbon spots often have much more
appeal than MS63RD's with carbon spots.  Plus, you do not have to worry about the
coin changing color.  Furthermore, you can avoid coins that have been "dipped" or
"doctored".   In his book,
A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents, Q David Bowers states, "
will find that RED pieces have more problems - specks, spots, and the like, while
BROWN pieces can be pristine.  For my money, I'd far rather have a much cheaper an
much nicer BROWN or RED BROWN than a non-original RED coin at a far higher

3)  Look for well struck coins with "eye appeal".  Well struck Lincolns, especially
during the 1920's often command a premium over poorly struck coins lacking detail.  

4)  Buy problem free coins in GOOD or higher.  Collectors and dealers do not like
coins that have been cleaned, scratched, corroded or otherwise damaged.   

Instead of organizing this guide according to Date, like most references do.  I have
listed according to my recommended grades.

FINE  15 -  The only Lincoln cent I would suggest in this grade is 1917 DDO 1.

VERY FINE 30 - 1922 NO D die 2, most RPM's from 1910-1939, 1914D, 1924D

EXTRA FINE 45 - 1909S, 1911S, 1912D, 1912S, 1913S, 1914S, 1915S, 1921S,
1923S, 1924S, 1926S, 1909 S/S rpm 1 & 2, 1936 DDO 1, 1944 D/S omm 1 & 2, 1941
DDO 1 & 2

ABOUT UNCIRCULATED 55, 58 -  1909S VDB, 1910 S, 1911D, 1913D, 1915D,
1916D, 1916S, 1917D, 1917S, 1918D, 1918S, 1919D, 1919S, 1920D, 1920S, 1922D,
1925D, 1925S, 1926D, 1927D, 1927S, 1928D, 1928S, 1909 VDB DDO 1, 1955 DDO 1,
1972 DDO 4, most RPM's from 1940-1945, 1946 S/D omm 1

MINT STATE 62BN, 63RB, 64BN -  All Philadelphia cents from 1910-1933,  1929D,
1929S, 1930D, 1931D, 1932D, 1933D, 1971 DDO 1, 1980 DDO 1, 1999 Wide AM,
1943 D/D rpm 1, 1988 P & D reverse of 89, 1992 P & D Close AM

MINT STATE 64 RED - 1930 S, 1931 S, 1934, 1934D, most RPM's from 1946-1958,
1951 D/S omm 1 & 2, 1952 D/S omm 1

MINT STATE 65 RED - 1909, 1909 VDB, 1935D, 1935S, 1936D, 1936S, all
Philadelphia cents from 1946-1955,  ALL memorials including most varieties, most
RPM's from 1959-Pres.

MINT STATE 66 RED - All mintmarked Wheats from 1935-1958, All Philadelphia cents
from 1937-1945 and 1956-1958, 1995 DDO 1, 1960 Small Date, All cents 2009 - Pres.

MINT STATE 67 RED - Special Mint Set Cents 1965-1967

MINT STATE 68 RED - Satin Issues 2005 - 2010

PROOF 62-64 -  All Matte Proofs 1909-1916

PROOF 65 - 1936 -1950

PROOF 66-67 -  1951 -1955, 1960 Small Date, 1959, 1970 Small Date, Most Varieties

PROOF 68 CAMEO - 1961, 1960 Large Date

PROOF 68 DEEP CAMEO - 1962 - 1964, 1968S - 1976S, 1981S type 2, 1999 Close

PROOF 69 DEEP CAMEO - 1977S - Present, 1979S type 2

Check out the
grading guide