The first Memorial Lincoln cents appeared in 1959, so those produced in 1991 belong to a group of modern coins. As expected, you can quickly find these pennies in any grade, regardless of the mint mark.
An average 1991 penny value is relatively low, but rare pieces in fantastic condition can cost more than expected. Interestingly, many collectors include them in their collections for sentimental reasons and historical significance rather than for their prices.
1991 Penny value Chart
|Condition||No Mint mark 1991 Penny||1991 D penny||1991 S penny|
The 1991 Penny History
Less than 25 years have passed since the 1991 Memorial cents were minted, and they are still abundant on the market in all grades. On the other hand, they are attractive and potentially good investments for those who are patient enough to wait for a few decades.
These coins are a part of a collectible and affordable series many collectors like because of their historical significance. However, serious collectors with unlimited budgets rarely look for them because of their low value.
|No Mint mark 1991 penny||Philadelphia||5,164,940,000|
|1991 S penny (proof)||San Francisco||2,867,787|
|1991 D penny||Denver||4,158,442,076|
The Lincoln cent history began in 1909 when the US Mint started minting coins with a genuine person’s image for the first time since its establishment. That honor got the famous American President who won the American Civil War and abolished slavery, Abraham Lincoln.
After numerous design revisions, the only way to make the coin both beautiful and practical was to lower Lincoln’s bust. That move left too much space at the coin top, so the Mint Director solved the problem by adding ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ on the coin top to balance the design.
Half a century later, the Memorial monument replaced the penny reverse design depicting wheat ears. That was a way to celebrate two anniversaries:
- 50 years of the first penny’s minting
- 150 years of the Lincoln birth
In December 1958, then-President Eisenhower announced pennies with a new reverse design. Their production began on 2nd January 1959, and the first specimens symbolically occurred into circulation on 12th February 1959. That day Americans celebrated Lincoln’s 150th birth anniversary.
Interestingly, the mint staff managed to keep the new design secret, and the coin look was a complete surprise for the public. By 1982, pennies contained 95% copper, but the change was necessary because of raised copper prices on the stock market.
The 1991 Penny Features
Engraver Victor Brenner designed this penny in 1909, but the US Mint changed the reverse look after 50 years of minting.
In 1959, then-assistant mint engraver Frank Gasparro came up with a new design to celebrate this crucial event and commemorate 150 years of the Lincoln birth. Cents minted in 1991 were a part of the Memorial series that was struck until 2008.
The 1991 Memorial Lincoln Penny obverse
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the US and served from 1861 to 1865. In 1909, he became the first living being who appeared on the American coinage instead of imaginary characters.
Even though the penny reverse has changed over time, the obverse has remained unchanged. You can see the President in the center with the sentence IN GOD WE TRUST above. That inscription wasn’t required by law at those time but adding it balanced the design.
On the right is struck 1991, the minting year, and the mint mark in pieces from all mints except for Philadelphia. The LIBERTY is on the left.
The 1991 Memorial Lincoln Penny reverse
The US Mint changed the Lincoln cent reverse several times to commemorate crucial Lincoln birth anniversaries. From 1959 to 2008, all pennies, including those minted in 1991, have the Memorial on this side.
The building with elegant pillars is in the center, with a visible President’s statue in between. The designer’s initials are on the right of the steps, while the denomination is below them. Above the Memorial is a Latin saying with the country name surrounding it from above.
1991 Memorial Lincoln Pennt
|Compound||Zinc and copper (97.5%: 2.5%)|
|Coin thickness||1.52 mm (0.05985 inches)|
|Coin diameter||19.05 mm (1.75 inches)|
|Coin weight||2.5 g (0.08819 ounces)|
|Face value||One cent ($0.01)|
The 1991 Memorial Lincoln Penny other features
The 1991 Memorial Lincoln penny is a one-cent round piece weighing 2.5 g (0.08819 ounces) made of zinc and copper. Its diameter of 19.05 mm (1.75 inches) and thickness of 1.52 mm (0.05985 inches) are standard for this coin type.
1991 Penny Value Guides
The mintage of 9,326,249,873 Memorial Lincoln cents in 1991 was high, but it was typical for this minting period. Two mints produced only regular coinage, while one struck only proofs.
1991 no mint mark Penny Value
The Philadelphia mint produced 5,164,940,000 pennies in 1991, and all these pieces came without the mint mark. Most coins that spent years in circulation are uncollectible, and only those in the mint state are appealing to collectors.
You can recognize three coin types:
- The least attractive brown pieces
- Those with unusual red-brown toning
- The most collectible red-colored pennies
However, even red specimens are cheap, thanks to a high mintage and these coins age. Since they are in a group of modern pieces, you should set aside only $0.10 to $11 per one. Only the best-preserved pennies in an MS 68 grade cost $175.
1991 Memorial Lincoln penny value
|Condition||1991 cent (red)||1991 D cent (red)|
As you probably guessed, the most expensive Memorial penny produced this year in Philadelphia is one red specimen in an MS 68+ grade. One collector purchased this red coin for $1,116 in April 2017.
On the other hand, a less desirable brown cent with an MS 65 rating reached $881 at Heritage Auctions in 2015.
1991 D penny Value
With 4,158,442,076 struck pieces, the Denver mint had the second-highest mintage in 1991. Since these coins are modern, you can expect their value to be low to modest on the open market.
All circulated pieces and most of the brown and red-brown pennies in the mint state are worthless. Only those with attractive red-colored surfaces in the mint state are worth more than their face value.
You can buy such coins for $0.10 to $7, and only superb specimens in an MS 68 grade reach $50 during the sale.
Pennies with this date are scarce in a rating higher than that, and one such coin, graded MS 69, won an auction record when sold for $11,400. It is the most pricey Memorial penny minted this year.
1991 S penny Value (proof)
Like in other years during the 1990s, the San Francisco mint struck only proofs in 1991. The mintage of 2,867,787 produced coins was lower than in the previous fifteen years, but it hasn’t affected their price.
1991 Memorial Lincoln penny (proof) value
|Condition||1991 S cent (red, DCAM)|
Most proof pennies minted in 1991 are practically worthless except for specimens with attractive deep cameo contrast. You should set aside $0.50 to $4 to get one, depending on its quality and overall look. However, one of the rare pieces in a PR 70 grade was paid $661 at an auction in 2003.
1991 Penny Errors
With over nine billion of the 1991 Lincoln cent mintage, it was expected for the US Mint to strike numerous error coins. Typically, the reason was old equipment and worn-out dies, unlike in old times when the cause was primarily a human factor.
1991 Penny Off-center
In this case, the die failed to hit the coin precisely, and such a piece came with missing design parts. The empty space size directly affects each penny price, and most cost $100 to $300. Their value depends on the off-center percentage and the date visibility.
1991 Penny Broad-strike
This mechanical error occurs when the retaining collar fails to engage with the planchet. In this case, the result is the flat and wide broad-strike coin after the die hits it. You can find some minted in 1991 for $20.
1991 Penny Doubled die
Pennies with a doubled die error occur when the die strikes it at least twice but not at the same angle. These coins come with a design doubling on one or both sides. Since this error is rare among modern 1991 pennies, you can expect to pay about $350 per piece.
1991 Penny Die crack with missing letters
This penny imperfection appears after the die hits the planchets numerous times, engraving it on the coin design. In such cases, parts of the design can be missing from the fractured place. These pennies are rare and typically cost about $70.
1991 Penny with an apostrophe
Only one coin with a tiny line struck above the date seems to exist. It probably appears because of a strike-through error. Since the line is on the upper right, it resembles an apostrophe. You can expect to pay about $500 to $700 for this piece on eBay.
1991 Penny Clipped planchet
This mint error occurs when the planchet retracts from the coil stock that overlaps, resulting in a crescent-shaped clip. Most of these cut pieces never leave the mint, but you can sometimes find them.
Some collectors specialize in pennies with this kind of error, recognizing four possible types:
- Coins with irregular clips that come with an irregular edge
- Coins with curved clips that have a concave curve-shaped edge
- Coins with straight-edge clips that come with a straight edge
- Coins with bowtie clips that have two curved clips on opposite sides, reminding a bowtie
Their price depends on the clipping size, going from $15 to $500.
1991 Penny from Denver with No Mint mark
The 1991 Memorial pennies minted in Denver sometimes come without the mint mark. Since they are scarce, you can expect them to be expensive.
1991 Penny The wrong Mint mark on the die
Pennies minted in 1991 with the wrong mint mark under the date are quite rare. Therefore, their price is not established and depends on the market demand and the agreement between the owner and the buyer.
FAQ about the 1991 Memorial Lincoln Penny
Whether 1991 Penny are considered rare?
The 1991 Lincoln pennies are modern coins that came in a high mintage. Therefore, most are worth their face value or a bit more than that. Only a few unique pieces or errors can cost more than a couple of dozen cents.
Are there any valuable 1991 Memorial Lincoln cents?
- The red 1991 D MS 69 Lincoln cent ($11,400 at Heritage Auctions, February 2022)
- The red 1991 MS 68+ Lincoln cent ($1,116 at Heritage Auctions, April 2017)
- The brown 1991 MS 65 Lincoln cent ($881 at Heritage Auctions, June 2015)
- The DCAM 1991 S PR 70 Lincoln cent ($661 at Heritage Auctions, November 2003)
- The brown 1991 D MS 63 Lincoln cent ($16 on eBay, May 2020)
- The red-brown 1991 D MS 66 Lincoln penny ($15 on eBay, November 2020)
- The red-brown 1991 MS 62 Lincoln cent ($6 at Great Collections, July 2013)
How much money should you pay for the 1991 No Mint mark Penny?
Most Lincoln cents minted in 1991 are inexpensive and cost $0.10 to $11, depending on toning and preservation level. On the other hand, you should pay approximately $175 for the first-class coins in an MS 68 grade.
What are pricey Penny in the series?
- The 1999 MS 66 Lincoln cent – $138,000 (Type 4, zinc penny)
- The 1969 S MS 64 DDO Lincoln cent – $126,500 (Type 3, copper penny)