The first American penny was minted in 1787, but British pennies have been in circulation since approximately 790 CE. Pennies were introduced to what is now England by King Offa of Mercia. The first American penny was designed by Benjamin Franklin.
The first American one-cent piece was minted by a private mint in 1787. In 1793, the U.S. Mint created the penny, a coin still used in 2014. The official name of the penny is the one-cent piece. The name penny comes from the British coin, whose name, in turn, comes from the Old English "pennige." British pennies were made of pure silver, whereas the American penny was originally pure copper.