Description and Analysis

Lincoln Cents, Wheat Reverse
1931 S 1C MS

Description & Analysis

This issue has been a key coin in the Lincoln series since its inception, and examples were always extremely difficult to locate in circulation.

Nearly the entire mintage was produced early in 1931 before the demand for additional cents simply evaporated. Most pieces remained unissued until 1935, at which time dealers and speculators were waiting to scoop them up by the roll and the bag.

Due to this unusual pattern of distribution, 1931-S cents are fairly plentiful in Mint State while being rare in worn condition. Ones grading less than Very Fine are genuinely rare. This accounts for the very small spread in value from Good though the lower Mint State grades. Fully red examples are plentiful, though they seem to suffer from spotting and staining. At the gem level, this issue is scarce. Most 1931-S cents are reasonably well struck, but they seldom are found fully struck from fresh dies.

This issue has been widely faked by adding an S mintmark to a 1931(P) cent or by altering the date on a genuine S-Mint cent of some other date in the 1930s. Most of these alterations are easily detected, but collectors should seek a certified coin for peace of mind.