After several run-of-the-mill years for Lincoln Wheat Penny coins, 1936 came around not only with the three usual suspects – Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mint Lincoln Cents – but also the return of proof coinage and an unintentional variety: a doubled die! These five varieties definitely add a little spice to the mix for avid Lincoln Penny collectors who want every possible die variation and issue that they can get their hands on for each year.
First up, though, is the 1936 regular-issue Lincoln Penny from the Philadelphia Mint, which produced 309,632,000 business-strike Pennies that year. Expect to pay anywhere from about 10 cents for a well-circulated specimen up to $10 or more for one in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. Ditto for the 1936-D (Denver Mint) and 1936-S (San Francisco Mint) Pennies which were also struck in large quantities: 40,620,000 at Denver and 29,130,000 at San Francisco.
The 1936 proof Lincoln Cent was the first official proof variety issue for Wheat Penny coins since 1916, marking the beginning of what many numismatists call the “modern proof” era. Unlike the matte proof Lincolns of 1909 through 1916, the proof Pennies struck from 1936 on have mirror-like surfaces, and some early proofs even possess cameo surfaces (today, virtually all proof coins struck at the United States Mint have cameo, or frosty looking, devices). 1936 proof Lincoln Pennies start at around $100, which isn’t bad considering that only 5,569 were initially struck. The 1936 doubled die proof Lincoln Cent is a variety that is catching on as a popular doubled die offering and can be had for around $25 and up in circulated grades.
Previous year: the 1935 Lincoln Wheat Penny
Following year: the 1937 Lincoln Wheat Penny