Paula A. asks: When was the first penny minted?
The term “penny” refers to a coin that is part of the English monetary system. The first issue of pennies were the descendants of the “deniers” that were first introduced by Pepin, the father of Charlemagne. Pennies replaced this coin and were introduced into England by Offa, the King of Mercia in about 775 A.D. Pennies were virtually the only denomination in English coinage for almost five centuries. These were silver pennies (weight about 20 grains or 1.3 grams).
The American use of the word “penny” comes from the English tradition but the denomination does not exist in United States coinage. The term “cent”, that is a hundredth of a dollar, was introduced with the first United States cent in 1793. To see an example of one variety of this landmark coinage see 1793 CENT FLOWING HAIR CHAIN REVERSE