How Much is a 1974 D Penny Worth?

If collecting coins is your hobby, you must know that your collection will do great with a 1974 penny. These coins are known for being diverse in their value, as some are worth 20 cents, while the rarer versions are as valuable as $200,000.

If you have a 1974 D penny with you, you might be wondering how much it’s worth and if it’s suitable for your collection. But, there are different things to keep in mind, like whether it is made from aluminum or copper or the legalities involved. This guide will cover all you need to know about the worth of a 1974 d penny.

Year 1974
Mint Mark D
Type Lincoln Penny
Value 20 cent – $200,000+
Face Value 0.01 USD
Produced 4,235,098,000
Edge Smooth
Silver Content 0%

What Does the ‘D’ on a Penny Mean?

The D means Denver. This is one of the mint marks on the United States coinage system. The other current operating mints include P for Philadelphia, W for the West Point, and S for the San Francisco unit.

How Much is a 1974 D Penny Worth?

1974 D Penny

The cost of a 1974 D penny depends on whether it is in circulated or uncirculated condition. A 1974 D penny value when uncirculated is $1, while a circulated penny is valued at between 20 and 25 cents.

As for a 1974 D Lincoln aluminum penny, it is worth more than $200,000. An estimated 12 aluminum pennies were minted, while the 1974 copper penny had 4,235,098,000 coins. It’s not clear why the aluminum pennies are more valuable than the copper pennies, but it’s known that the coins are illegal to sell.

If you have a 1974 D penny, it’s essential to check whether it is made from aluminum or copper, as this is the main determinant of its value.

Check out this video to know more about the worth of a 1974 D penny:

 

Is Your 1974 D Penny Made with Aluminum?

You can identify whether your 1974 D Lincoln penny is made with aluminum or not by weight. This will also help you differentiate it from the copper coin. A 1974 D aluminum penny has a lighter weight than the copper penny.

An aluminum penny weighs approximately 0.93 grams, but a standard copper penny is heavier with silver metal plating, which makes it weigh about 3.11 grams or more.

Copper 1974 D pennies are popular coins tweaked after being released from the US Mint and can be legally sold and owned. So, their actual value is well-known. But, we can’t know the actual value of the rare pennies since they are not legal for private ownership.

Can I Own the 1974 D Penny?

1974 D aluminum penny

You can’t own the 1974 D aluminum penny, but you can get the copper or silver coins. It is not legal to sell or own pennies, and you can be prosecuted if you do so. Although the aluminum 1974 D Lincoln penny value is over $200,000, you can’t add it to your collection.

Why It’s Illegal to Own 1974 D Aluminum Pennies

To understand the legalities behind the 1974 D aluminum penny, we need to start with the history of the silver penny. If you know any other coin collectors, they might have told you about their own 1974 D silver pennies.

But it would surprise you to know that silver pennies were not made on purpose but out of aluminum. Although there are 1974 D penny errors, with metal coins combined with silver dime planchets in the Lincoln cent press, the US Mint did not intentionally create 1974 D silver pennies. A 1974 D penny error can be valued at over $100.

With this in mind, you might wonder why the US Mint decided to create aluminum pennies in 1974. The purpose of these coins was to act as a test currency. Copper was more expensive, and aluminum was used to reduce the cost of making copper pennies.

In the early 1970s, copper prices doubled from 50 cents to $1 per pound. This means that the melt value of the copper penny was roughly the same as the face value. It also caused a lot of losses for the government.

After experimenting with different metal types, the US government settled on aluminum and produced over one million 1974 aluminum pennies for testing. But the aluminum cents were not accepted by the public.

Vending machine operators refused to upgrade their machines because of costs, and pediatricians stated that aluminum coins wouldn’t be revealed on x-rays if swallowed by a child.

At the same time, copper prices dropped, so the Mint returned to its copper pennies. After this, over a million 1974 D Lincoln pennies made with aluminum were destroyed, but not all were returned. Aside from those recorded, an unknown number of pennies are not accounted for.

Since they are not meant to exist, 1974 D aluminum pennies are considered illegal and government property.

What Happens If You Get Caught with a 1974 D Aluminum Penny?

Possessing government property is illegal, the same with the 1974 D aluminum penny in America. The legal consequences of owning and selling your aluminum pennies are unclear, but you must return the coin to the authorities.

If you’re unsure about the legal consequences of owning a rare 1974 aluminum penny, you can refer to the 2014 case between Randall Lawrence and the government. The 1974 Aluminum Penny case occurred when Randall Lawrence and Michael McConnell, the sons of a former Mint officer and owner of a coin shop, asked the government to return the coin.

The government seized the rare coin from the duo since they were trying to exhibit it across the country before auctioning it for as high as $2 million. Valuing the 1974 D aluminum coin at up to $2 million is pretty high, but the correct value won’t be known unless it is legal to own the coins.

Where to Get a 1974 D Penny

If you want to purchase 1974 D pennies, you can use the following platforms:

Online Marketplaces or Local Coin Dealer

One of the best ways to purchase 1974 D pennies, especially if you want to buy them directly, is with an online marketplace. For instance, eBay will make a great choice, with prices as low as $2 for the best offer. Before purchasing these coins, you should be careful about getting a fake coin from eBay. You can also ask in online forums with coin collectors and meet local dealers.

Currency Converters

You can still find some 1974 D pennies in regular circulation, as people will likely come across Lincoln Pennies daily. The copper pennies are not rare either, so you can easily use currency converters to purchase them. You can use platforms like Leftover Currency or Foreign Currency and Coin to get the 1974 D coins you might need.

Dealers and Auction Houses

Your best bet for getting 1974 D penny error types is with a specialist dealer or auction house. Remember that the price might be driven up if it’s in high demand at the auction. When purchasing from an auction house or reliable dealer, you also rest assured that the coins are graded. And, if you meet a dealer selling you aluminum pennies, you should give that to the government.

Why People Collect 1974 D Pennies

Most of the 1974 D Lincoln pennies are made from copper, and with metal being precious as the price increases, you can gain more from having them. The first reason people collect these coins is that they are coin collectors.

Also, the metal of these pennies is worth more than their face value. But you can’t melt the pennies to get the copper value since this is illegal. Coin experts also believe that the government would update the law when they stop issuing one-cent coins, and people would be allowed to melt their 1974 D pennies.

This is why thousands of collectors and hoarders save coins made before 1982 and even trade with coin dealers and collectors. Since 99% of the 1974 D pennies are made with copper, it becomes easier for collectors to hoard.

More Info About the 1974 D Penny

Here are some helpful articles and resources to check out if you want to learn more about the 1974 D pennies before collecting them.

What About Other 1974 Pennies?

The other 1974 pennies have varying values depending on their mint mark. The other coins include:

No.
Coin
Mintage
Value
1
1974 No Mintmark
4,103,183,000
20 – 25 cents
2
1974-S San Francisco
409,426,660
20 – 25 cents
3
1974-S Proof
2,612,568
$1+
4
1974 Double Die Obverse Penny
Unknown
$400+
5
1974-D Aluminum Penny
1 – 10
$200,000+
6
1974 Aluminum Penny
1.5 million
$200,000+

Final Thoughts

The 1974 D penny is worth between 20 cents and $200,000, or even more. Although, you might not spend more than a few dollars since you can only purchase the copper coins. These D pennies are a must-have to enhance your coin collection experience, especially if you can get any error coins.

If you’re considering collecting these coins, you can do so from a reliable platform and expect a low price. Just remember to not purchase the aluminum 1974 D pennies because of the legalities involved.

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