The History and Significance of the Rare and Coveted D Penny – A Guide for Numismatists

The History and Significance of the “D” Penny

As an ardent accumulator of cents, you may have stumbled upon a penny with a “D” imprinted on it. The “D” denotes Denver, the metropolis in Colorado where these pence were coined. In this write-up, we will delve profoundly into the history of the “D” penny and scrutinize its significance in the sphere of numismatics.

The Denver Mint

The Denver Mint was set up in 1863 during the era of gold rush to cater to the burgeoning need for punched coins in the Western United States. It was one among the trio of mints erected by the United States government at that time, with the other two stationed in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The Denver Mint commenced minting pennies in 1906, with the first batch being the Indian Head cents. In 1911, the pattern was modified to the Lincoln Head cent, which is still utilized to this day. The “D” mark was appended to differentiate the pennies coined in Denver from those coined in other cities. The “D” mark can be found just beneath the date on the front side of the penny.

Why Denver?

The choice of Denver as a locale for a mint was based on several reasons. Denver was a well-recognized city at the time, thanks to the gold rush, and a centralized location for the conveyance of punched coins. The city was also affluent in resources required for minting coins, such as copper, which was deployed to make pennies.

Collecting the D penny

The D penny is highly coveted by currency collectors owing to its scarcity. While the Lincoln Head penny is still coursing through circulation, the “D” penny is no longer coined for customary use. This rarity escalates its worth, making it an alluring addition to any currency collection.

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Q: Are there any other pence with distinctive markings?

A. Yes, there are several variations of cents, including the “S” cent, the “W” cent, and the “P” cent. These marks signify where the cent was coined – San Francisco, West Point, and Philadelphia, respectively.

Q: Are D pennies still in circulation?

A. While D pence are no longer coined for customary use, they can still be found in circulation, albeit rarely.

Q: How do I discern if my penny is a D penny?

A. Look for the “D” mark beneath the date on the front side of the penny. If it is absent, it is likely not a D penny.

Q: How much is a D penny worth?

A. The worth of a D penny fluctuates based on its condition, scarcity, and other factors. At the time of writing, a D penny in mint condition can be worth anywhere from a few cents to several hundred dollars.

Q: Is it legal to melt pence for their copper content?

A. No, it is not legal to liquefy pence for their copper content, as it is against the law to obliterate U.S. currency.


The “D” penny is a crucial part of numismatic history and a prized possession for currency collectors. The mark signifies its genesis in Denver, Colorado, and its rarity makes it a valuable addition to any currency collection. Whether you are an adept hoarder or a greenhorn to the hobby, the D penny is worth incorporating into your collection.

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