How Much Is a 1961 D Penny Worth?

“Penny for your thought—” we all have heard that saying, in songs, and spoken in movie lines. Maybe you have had to use the phrase too in conversations.

Talk may be cheap, but not the 1961 d penny. One quick search on the internet shows this penny, which is also called the Memorial Cent, holds plenty of sentimental value in mint condition.

Do you have a Lincoln penny or a 1961 D penny in mint state and you wish to know if it was valuable? This article will also examine the design of the 1961 D penny and also answer some of the questions that bug many about this penny.

The 1961 D Penny

The value of a 1961-D Lincoln Memorial penny in uncirculated (MS+) condition can range from $0.17 to $0.33. The melt value of this common penny is $0.0275 according to the USA Coin Book.

The 1961 D Penny

Group Lincoln Memorial Cent
Mintage 1,753,266,700
Metal composition 95% copper, 5% Tin and Zinc
Mass/Weight 3.11 grams
Diameter 19 millimeters
Minted at Denver
Mint mark D
Edge Plain

The 1961 D penny is a beauty on its own as you can see. If you have been contemplating beginning a collection hobby, you should consider beginning with this 1961 coin with the head of Lincoln on it.

Online auction websites are replete with coins like this and their value varies. A number of factors contribute to the worth of these coins. Sometimes it is sentimental.

Circulated coins entered circulation and were used in transactions. Uncirculated coins were never made into the public’s hands. If you have a 1961 D penny that looks so good it reflects like a mirror, with all its details showing through, then you likely have yourself a gem. These ones are usually more priced than circulated coins.

The ungraded 1961 D penny is worth the same but when graded it is worth twice that at $0.30.

1961 D Penny: History

1961 D Penny History

This coin represents the worst that was stricken from 1932 till now. This imperfection isn’t deliberate though. The mint in Denver had to increase production of this coin in early 1960 which resulted in the minting of poor-quality coins. Their increase was in a bid to outpace another mint in Philadelphia at the time. Cent coins from 1960 to 1963 are all of poor quality for this reason.

The 1961 D doesn’t exist in PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service). The 1961 D Penny was made with 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc.

The 1961 D penny was also known as the memorial penny. In 1959, the Lincoln Memorial penny design was introduced. The obverse design with the head of Lincoln on it was first made in 1909 to commemorate the birth of Lincoln. This is why the 1961 D penny is also called the memorial cent.

The 1961 penny is also referred to as Lincoln cents. The history of this coin can also be credited to US President Theodore Roosevelt who loved arts and had sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens begin the redesigning of all US coins. The sculptor died before he could get to work.

When Theodore Roosevelt however saw the medals designed by Victor David Brenner the idea of having an image on the American penny occurred to him. Theodore decided to have the iconic Abraham Lincoln on the penny and Brenner went to work.

Scholar David W Lange said in his book The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents that the motto In God We Trust was probably added by US mint director Frank A. Leach.

1961 D Penny Design (Obverse and Reverse)

Take a detailed peek at the design of the D penny. Some believe Victor David Brenner outdid himself with the design even though he was a sculptor of medals hired by Roosevelt to do the job.

Obverse

Obverse

On the obverse of the coin you see the familiar shape of Abraham Lincoln’s bust. It features the words “In God We Trust” at the top of Lincoln’s head, the date “1961” close to his chest area, and the letter D at the bottom of the date. D means the coin was made in the mint at Denver. The word LIBERTY is stenciled on the left behind Lincoln’s neck.

The design shows deep details in the sculpting of Lincoln’s body. The initial design in the process by Brenner was reported to have a fuller body. It was reduced in order to have a more spatial look. Yet, one glance was enough to tell who the iconic figure on the coin is. Lincoln is the only burst on a coin to face right.

Reverse

Reverse

Here on the reverse the design is different from the ones from 1909 which had a wreath of wheat. The penny was redesigned to feature the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side in honor of his 150th birthday.

The detail of the design is also deep. It features the words “UNITED STATES of AMERICA” and “ONE CENT” in block letters (except the of) and the words “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” which means “One out of many.”

Look closely, perhaps with a magnifying glass and you’d see the statue of Abraham Lincoln standing in the middle of the columns of the Memorial.

1961 D Penny Value

These pennies are usually worth more than they seem. On average the 1961 D Lincoln penny is worth  $0.17 to $0.33, however, some experts have said the common penny is worth $1 to $2. With a mintage of almost 2 million—1,753,266,700—the 1961 D penny is hardly a rarity.

This high number of mint was because the Denver mint was trying to outdo the Philadelphia mint. It is true however that very few of them turn up in circulation. Many in the public saved plenty of the coins because of the value of the copper in them.

A worn D penny has a value of about 2 cents.

Uncirculated D pennies are worth 10 to 20 cents. On the PCGS website, there is proof that the most valuable 1961 D Lincoln penny that was bought sold for $4,406.25. That particular coin was graded MS67 for high quality.

In auctions, a near-perfect 1961 D penny could sell for way more than its average value.

Generally, and as I’ve mentioned already, coins are either circulated or uncirculated. Further, circulated coins can be graded:

  • Good:a good coin has readable dates, nearly full rims, and a fully outlined design.
  • Very good: these coins have fully defined rims, legends, and distinct letterings and numerals.
  • Fine:a fine coin shows moderate wear. There’ll be bold letters and legends, and there’ll be some separation in the design elements.
  • Very fine: this coin shows sharply defined elements in the design. There’s two-thirds visibility in the designs.
  • Extra fine:Here there is mint luster. All elements of the design are visible in coins that are extra fine.

1961 D Penny – Uncirculated Coins

Coins in this category show luster in abundance. Of course, wear may be evident but it is only on the highest points of the design.

The reason for the better condition is obviously because it did not go into circulation or public use. Some are stored for many years in mint bags, in banks, or with collectors. Conditions in storage affect them too as they rub together. They may lose luster and still be uncirculated.

Proof coins

Proof coins

These coins are carefully minted and delivered to collectors. The process of making them includes: using highly polished blanks, high quality dies. They are slowly pressed and under high pressure which gives the coins high relief features.

1961 D Penny Value Chart

Proof $1 to $2
Uncirculated MC (60) $0.17
Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65) $0.3

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a 1961 D pex today?

The USA coin book estimated the 1961 D Lincoln penny is worth $0.1 to $0.2. This is due to their circulated condition. A large amount of the pennies were made.

What is the rarest D Penny

The rarest d penny is the 1914 d Lincoln penny. It was sold in August 2017 at the Heritage Auctions, Denver for $152,750. It was graded PCGS MS 66+ RED.

What year d pennies are worth money?

The 1914 d Lincoln penny is worth $159,000. The 1922 D cent sold for $63,000. Also the 1944 d Lincoln penny which sold in August 2007 for $115,000. A 1943 d Lincoln bronze penny also sold for $1,700,000.

Is a 1960 penny rare?

No. Most 1960 pennies are not rare. For the No Mintmark penny, 586,405,000 were minted. While 1 billion of the 1960 d penny was minted. The 1960 proof Lincoln cent had 1,691,602 was minted. This makes them hardly rare.

Are coins from 1961 worth anything?

All coins from 1961 are worth something, some more than the others. At face value, quarters are worth $0.25, and those with no mint mark are worth $6.50. The 1961 D quarter is worth around $6.50. Those in poor condition are worth a little less.

What is a 1961 bronze penny worth?

It is worth $1 in uncirculated condition. 1961 proof coins with no mint mark are worth $1.50 in PR-65RD condition.

What is rare about 1960 d penny?

The 1960 pennies came either in large or small dates. The D penny large date cents are difficult to locate in grades of MS66 and higher, and in MS67 there are only about 15 known.

How much is a 1961 D error penny worth?

1961 error pennies are generally valued at $5 to $15 depending on the error or contact marks. Those with 50% off-center errors are worth $100.

1961 D error penny

Final Thoughts

Money has always been a part of our lives. They came a long way to meet us who now live. You can begin to see coins like the 1961 D penny in a new light. And if you have any lying around in your home, it is time to think about collecting them for grading. You never know, you just might be hoarding a fortune.

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