1991 Penny Value: How Much Is It Worth Today?
Have you ever wondered how much your old pennies from 1991 are worth? The 1991 penny value depends on its condition, type, and date, but regardless of these factors, one thing is certain – these little copper coins are interesting to collect.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of 1991 pennies and their values. We’ll also discuss factors that affect the value of these coins, such as certain mint errors, and we will provide tips for determining your coin’s worth – like how to grade a penny, for example.
Whether you’ve just stumbled upon an old penny or have been collecting them all along, this guide will help you to identify what kind of penny it is and determine its estimated value.
1991 Penny Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated||Proof|
|1991 No Mint Mark Penny Value||/||/||/||$0.34||/|
|1991 D Penny Value||/||/||/||$0.34||/|
|1991 S Penny Value||/||/||/||/||$14|
Value by Mint Mark
The American penny, or one-cent coin, has been a staple of the United States’ currency since its introduction in 1792. Since 1909, the Lincoln penny has been one of the most iconic pieces of currency in the world.
Designed by Victor D. Brenner (obverse) and Frank Gasparro (reverse), the Lincoln penny features a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on the obverse side, and an image of the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse.
For a long time, the penny was made of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc, minus 1943, when the war time pennies were made of zinc coated steel because the copper was needed for the war effort. Then, by 1982, the cost of making a penny had risen significantly higher than its face value. This led to President Ronald Reagan signing into effect a change in composition of the one cent coin from 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin to 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper coating.
The physical features of the penny, such as diameter and thickness stayed the same when this switch occurred. However, there was one major difference that could be used to distinguish between pre-1982 and post-1982 is the weight, which pre-1982 was 3.1 grams of copper, and post-1982 became 2.5 grams of zinc. The diameter was 19 millimeters and the thickness was 1.5 millimeters regardless of the composition.
The US Mint has several different facilities throughout the country that produce coins, each of which has its own mint mark. The mint marks indicate which facility the coin was struck at, and they appear near the date.
In 1991, the United States minted pennies in three locations: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The value of the 1991 penny will vary depending on both the mint mark and the condition in which the penny is found.
Let’s look at each penny’s value, divided into their mint mark type:
1991 No Mint Mark Penny Value
With 5,164,940,000 pennies produced at the Philadelphia Mint, the 1991 no mint mark penny is by far the most common. While other US Mint locations use a mint mark to indicate their origin – the Philadelphia Mint does not, so any 1991 penny with no mint mark was made there.
Most of these coins are worth face value (one cent), but nicer condition examples, such as those with an “Uncirculated” grade, are worth up to around $0.34! And the higher the grade goes, the more it is worth at auction – there is only one 1991 no mint mark penny known to exist in the MS-68 range (the highest possible grade is MS-70), and it sold at auction a few years ago for over $1,100!
1991 D Penny Value
The Denver Mint produced a total mintage of 4,158,442,076 pennies in 1991 and placed a “D” mint mark on the obverse side of the coin. This indicates that the penny was struck at their facility.
These coins are generally worth around face value, which is one cent, but higher grade specimens can be worth up to $0.34 each! For a penny, that is quite the jump in value.
An even greater jump in value, however, is one particular 1991 “D” penny that had a grade of MS-69! It sold at an auction for a whopping $5,405!
1991 S Penny Value
The 1991 “S” penny was produced in San Francisco and has a total mintage of only 2,867,787 coins. Any penny that has the “S” mint mark on the obverse side was struck at this location.
These pennies are considered “Proof” coins. Proof coins are considered more valuable than the typical coins that are made for business circulation – since Proof coins are specially produced and have a shinier surface than regular coins and are kept aside for collectors.
As such, they are generally worth more than their face value of one cent. In fact, Proof coins in “Uncirculated” condition can fetch up to $14 each – one in perfect condition even sold at an auction for about $60. Not bad for a penny!
1991 Penny Grading
These coins are generally worth around face value (one cent), but higher grade specimens can be worth up to $1.00 each! This is because most of these coins were used in circulation, so they don’t retain their original “Uncirculated” condition.
Coin collectors and dealers grade coins on a scale from “Poor” to “Uncirculated”. It is the grade of a coin that largely determines its value and is based on the amount of wear, scratches, and discoloration it has.
So if your 1991 penny looks especially shiny, with no signs of wear or damage, then you may have an “Uncirculated” specimen! This can fetch up quite a bit for a penny! If your 1991 penny is in worse condition than that, then it will be worth one cent, as we mentioned before.
Generally speaking, we mostly see coins being graded in the “Good” to “Uncirculated” grade ranges. “Good” pennies will show some wear and have many scratches or discoloration. “Fine” coins will be worn, too, but with more details showing than those in “Good” condition.
Pennies in “Extremely Fine” condition will show very minor wear, but the details and mint luster (original shine) of the coin will still be very visible. And coins in “Uncirculated” condition are the highest grade and will show no wear at all – they are generally in near-perfect condition and retain their original luster and color.
1991 Penny Error Coin List
Occasionally when a coin is minted, an error can occur. This could be due to various reasons, such as a strike-through (a broken piece of machinery striking the coin) or a misprint (the design being incorrectly printed onto the coin) or due to any other various reasons.
Some errors are quite common and not very valuable, while others can be incredibly rare and worth thousands of dollars!
For the 1991 date, there are a few pennies worth taking a look at. Here are a few that have surfaced in recent years:
1991 Penny – Double Die Reverse Error
This is an error that has been found on both the Philadelphia (no mint mark) pennies and the Denver (“D”) pennies. A double die reverse error is one in which one or both sides of the coin have been stamped twice by the die, creating a doubled image. It will sometimes be obvious to the naked eye, and other times you will need a coin microscope, but either way, the double image creates a sort of blurry look to the coin’s design.
This is especially noticeable on the Lincoln Memorial’s columns on the reverse of the 1991 penny. Most of these sell for around a few dollars, depending on their condition.
1991 Penny – Double Denomination Error
This is a fun, rare, and oftentimes valuable mint error that only occurs when the design of one coin denomination is struck on a planchet (blank) meant for a different denomination. Not only that, but a double denomination means that the planchet had already been struck with the original denomination’s designs – resulting in two designs stamped one on top of the other!
In this case, the design of a 1991 penny was struck on a planchet meant for a ten cent piece (or, a dime). Naturally, this means that the penny is nickel in color and a bit smaller than the typical penny. This also means of course that it weighs less, too.
It’s worth noting that one of these coins was only found in “Uncirculated” condition at a MS-66, which is an average grade for “Uncirculated” coins. These can be incredibly valuable, with this particular example selling for around $2,200!
1991 Penny – 5% Off Center and Double Denomination Error
Similar to the error mentioned earlier, this one is a combination of two errors – a double denomination and a 5% off center error. For the 1991 penny that was found with this error, the ten cent planchet was struck with the design of both a penny and a dime, but the penny design was also struck slightly off center by about 5%.
This combination is quite rare and can fetch thousands of dollars in nice condition! The 1991 penny version sold for over $1,100!
So if you happen to find a 1991 penny that looks a little odd – it might just be worth taking a closer look at it to see if you can identify any of the above errors or others.
1991 Penny Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve talked about the value and grading of the 1991 penny, let’s go over some frequently asked questions:
What is a 1991 Penny Worth?
The most common 1991 pennies – those without any mint mark – are generally worth around face value (one cent). Higher grade specimens, such as those in “Uncirculated” condition can fetch up to $0.34 each! And Proof versions of these coins with the “S” mint mark can be worth up to $14 each if they are in “Uncirculated” condition!
How Do I Know What Kind of Coin I Have?
If your coin has no mint mark on it, then it was produced at the Philadelphia Mint. If it has a “D” mint mark, then it was struck at the Denver Mint. And if your coin has an “S” mint mark, then it was produced in San Francisco.
How Can I Tell What Condition my 1991 Penny is In?
Coin dealers and collectors use a grading system to classify coins based on their condition. The grades for these coins range from “Poor” to “Uncirculated”. “Poor” coins will show the most wear and discoloration, while “Uncirculated” coins will be near perfect and still retain their original luster and color.
Can I Clean My 1991 Penny Before Grading It?
No, you should never clean your coins. Cleaning them will remove the natural patina and luster that builds up over time and can even damage the coin itself! If you want to grade your 1991 penny, it is best to do so without cleaning it first.
Is it Worth it to Get a 1991 Penny Professionally Graded?
If you are looking to get the most out of your coin, and you are fairly certain it will bring in a high grade, then it is definitely worth considering professional grading. Professional graders have extensive knowledge and expertise in determining a coin’s grade and can provide an accurate assessment of its condition. This will give you an accurate value for your 1991 penny so that you know how much it’s worth and can potentially sell it for more!
However, it is also quite expensive to get your coins graded professionally. So, while it might be worth considering, make sure you factor in the cost of professional grading before making your decision, as these are only pennies and may just be worth only that: pennies.
There you have it – everything you need to know about the penny from 1991.
The 1991 penny is a great coin for all collectors, from novice to experienced. No matter the mint mark, these coins are a great way to get your collection off the ground or increase the value of your current collection!
Do you have a 1991 penny in your collection? Tell us about it in the comments below.