1951 D Wheat Penny Value, Top Varieties, Errors, & Outlook

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With a total of 625,355,000 coins minted, you’ll not have trouble finding a copy of the 1951 (D) Wheat penny seventy years later. This Penny is one of the most popular in the entire hobby and should be an excellent investment for years to come. 


It earns the designation due to being minted in Denver and has a tiny D found underneath the year of release on the front. Despite its relative infancy compared to many collectible coins, the 1951 D can still be one of the better investment pieces depending on the rarity and the overall condition. 

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From interesting errors to the most valuable versions, here’s everything you need to know about the 1951 (D) Wheat penny. 


Design and Info

The Wheat cent was circulated from 1909 to 1958, and Victor David Brenner designed the obverse or heads side. The reverse originally depicted two stalks of wheat, which is how the coin earned its name. 

It’s also known as the Lincoln cent, with an image of the famous president on the front, along with the year of release and a mintmark. The ‘51 penny is one of the last coins from the run, which eventually saw the wheat reverse replaced by a depiction of the Lincoln Memorial in 1959. 


1951 D Wheat Penny: Value

Given the abundance of 1951 Wheat Cents produced, there’s no shortage of options in the present day. This means that an ungraded coin is almost worthless, and even mint editions are reasonably priced. (You’ll be able to buy a decent 1951 D for less than a dollar at auction, and you won’t be fighting off bidders in the process.)

The most valuable Wheat pennies are errors or graded mint coins that haven’t been spoiled over the past 70 years. We’ll list some of the best versions below, explaining why they’re popular compared to a normal coin.


Top Varieties

In terms of the best varieties, professional grades such as ‘mint’ or ‘uncirculated’ take into account the color of the coin. This can be designated as red (RD), red/brown (RB) or brown (BN) and will be listed after the numerical grade.

With over 625 million coins produced, we’re sticking to red grades, which are the most popular by a significant margin.  


1951 D Wheat Penny MS-RD


Red coins carry the highest premium of the regular-graded options. They were the closest to the original orange-red color when minted, while they can achieve an RD grade as long as a coin has retained about 90% of its original copper shine. They must be considered the best investment pieces, given their rarity and relative value.




Error coins can be worth big money, especially if the original is readily available. (It’s worth mentioning that red versions of error coins can also be found, increasing both the rarity and the asking price.)

Examples of 1951 (D) Wheat penny errors include:


1951-D Doubled Die Obverse Penny


‘Double die obverse’ is a term used to refer to doubling in the design elements of a coin. It can still be aesthetically appealing, and red versions charge a decent fee. (If you weren’t sure, the obverse is a fancy name for the front of the coin.)


1951-D Repunched Mint Mark Penny (D over D over D)


This error occurs “when the letter punch used to punch the mintmark into the working die leaves two or more offset impressions.” This coin has three offset impressions, known as the ‘D over D over D’.


1951-S, D over S Overmintmark Penny


As you might have guessed, an over-mintmark is caused by adding two different, overlapping mintmarks. There’s a D over the S this time, making the mint mark chunkier than it should be. Aside from that, there are no discernable differences, and you’ll be able to find red versions in the low three-figure range.


Similar Coins

  • 1952 D Wheat Penny
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  • 1953 D Wheat Penny


Investment Outlook

Despite the sheer amount of ‘51 Lincoln cents that have made it this far, the rarest options are still viable from an investment standpoint. Any error versions stand out, while MS grades don’t go under the radar at auction. 

Ownership Disclosure: None
Investment Rating: 8.67 out of 10

In the grand scheme of things, the 1951 Wheat penny isn’t especially old, and it wasn’t a key year for the collection. It might not be the most exciting coin to hold onto, but there is decent potential for a modest profit, and it’s a viable option if you’re looking at entry-level pieces. 

We’d stick to the best grades or interesting error coins if you’re hoping to see a decent ROI from a 1951 D Wheat pennies set.