With a total of 625,355,000 coins minted, you’re not going to have trouble finding a copy of the 1951 (D) Wheat penny seventy years on.
It earns the designation due to being minted in Denver and has a tiny D found underneath the year of release on the front.
Trending: Invest In The 1928 Buffalo Nickel
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.
From interesting errors to the most valuable versions, here’s everything you need to know about the 1951 (D) Wheat penny.
1951 D Wheat Penny: Design and Info
The Wheat cent was in circulation from 1909 to 1958, and the obverse or heads side was designed by Victor David Brenner. The reverse originally depicted two stalks of wheat, which is how the coin earned its name.
It’s also known as the Lincoln cent, as it has 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 later 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 sheer 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 either 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 so popular in comparison to a normal coin.
1951 D Wheat Penny: 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
Of the normal graded options, Red coins tend to carry the highest premium. They’re the closest to the original orange-red colour when they were minted, while it can achieve a RD grade as long as a coin has retained about 90% of its original copper shine. They have to be seen as the best investment pieces overall, given their rarity and relative value.
1951 D Wheat Penny: Errors
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, further increasing both the rarity, as well as 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 command a decent fee. (In case you weren’t sure, the obverse is just 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 that is used to punch the mintmark into the working die leaves two or more offset impressions.” With this coin, there are three offset impressions, so it’s 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 the addition of two different, overlapping mintmarks. This time, there’s a D over the S, 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.
1951 D Wheat Penny: Buyers Guide 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 of the error versions tend to stand out from the crowd, while MS grades don’t go under the radar at auction.
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 set of 1951 D Wheat pennies.