The Coin Analyst: 1982 Lincoln Cent Provides Collectors with Challenges, Rewards

The Coin … ..
1982 was the year E.T. The Extra Terrestrial hit the eloquent screen. The average price of a modern home was $ 80,000, and the Equal Rights Amendment failed ratification. It was besides the year the United States Mint began making Lincoln cents from a 97.5 % zinc, 2.5 % copper alloy rather of the traditional administration composing that had been in habit for decades .
The variety in the penny ’ s metallic composition actually unfolded in stages over the course of nine years, starting when the price of bull skyrocketed in 1973. As the intrinsic value of the copper in each Lincoln cent approached the mint ’ s confront measure, the populace opinion it could turn a profit by hoarding brass one-cent coins. This led to a countrywide mint deficit not unlike the situation that occurred in the early 1960s, when the increasing respect of silver inspired bullion bugs to hoard silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars by the tens of millions.

pcgs1974d The United States Mint experimented with an aluminum one-cent coin begin in belated 1973, but the vending machine diligence raised concerns that the fresh one-cent coins would not be compatible with the millions of vending machines still accepting pennies. meanwhile, copper prices began falling as 1974 moved forward, causing the U.S. Mint to forego changing the composing of the Lincoln penny. Virtually all of the 1.5 million 1974-dated experimental pennies were destroyed, and the legal status of the few that remain is doubtful .
The 1970s would continue on. Runaway ostentation equally well as the spiking price of copper impel government officials to revive the talk concerning the penny ’ s metallic constitution. Testing throughout 1980 and 1981 led to the writing in use today, which consists of a about 99.2 % zinc core and arrant copper plat .
The first zinc-based Lincoln cents were struck at the West Point Mint on January 7, 1982. These coins, along with 1,587,245 business-strike zinc cents made at the San Francisco Mint that year, do not contain mintmarks ; the Philadelphia Mint would take up production of the new zinc cents early in the year american samoa well .
however, the Denver Mint did not strike the newfangled zinc pennies until October 21 – a fiddling more than one calendar month after the U.S. Mint decided it was time to create a new obverse master hub that resulted in a smaller-sized date .
The metallic composition and obverse master hub changes ultimately led to the creation of seven different types of 1982 business-strike Lincoln cents, including :

  • 1982 brass large date
  • 1982 brass small date
  • 1982 zinc large date
  • 1982 zinc small date
  • 1982-D brass large date
  • 1982-D zinc large date
  • 1982-D zinc small date

Add in the 1982-S proofread Lincoln cent, which was struck in brass and boasts a big date motif, and the coin collector has eight basic 1982 Lincoln cents to chase after. But how do you tell these 1982 pennies apart ?

How to Easily Decipher The Different 1982 Lincoln Cent Varieties

On small-date 1982 cents, the “ 8 ” in the date is roughly the lapp altitude as the “ 1 ” and “ 2, ” meaning a straight line can run across the tops and bottoms of those digits in the date. On the other hand, the “ 8 ” on the large-date coin looks relatively fat and is longer than the “ 2. ”
As for telling brass and zinc 1982 cents apart, Charles Daughtrey ( hypertext transfer protocol : // ), the celebrated Lincoln cent technical who wrote the foreword to Q. David Bowers’ A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents ( 2008 ), says he can tell the two types of coins apart with his eyes closed .
“ I listen to the ring, ” he says. “ The copper penny has a clean ring to it that resonates after being dropped. Zinc cents don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate ring – there ’ south precisely a ‘ thump ’. ”
There are many early ways to tell the two metallic varieties apart though, including weighing 1982 pennies .
“ The best scale to use for weighing your 1982 cents is one that measures down to at least the tenth of a gram, ” he says ; brass 1982 cents count 3.11 grams whereas the zinc cents come in at fair 2.5 grams. He says tipping balance scales besides make it comfortable to tell brass cents apart from zinc .
Daughtrey besides goes by the look of the coins, which are particularly distinct in the case of circle 1982 cents .
“ Worn copper 1982 cents normally have a nice, brown patina. Zinc cents are normally splotched or mottled in color and sometimes have little bumps or other surface defects that are attributed to inherent problems with the zinc-copper alloy combination, ” he explains. “ Uncirculated 1982 zinc cents frequently do look a lot like the copper type, and that ’ s where weighing the coins is useful in telling them apart. ”

Which 1982 Cents Are The Most Valuable?

Numismatists who think there is small to get excited about collecting 1982 Lincoln cents should think doubly, because according to Daughtrey there are batch of interesting die varieties ( some quite valuable ) among 1982 pennies. The most valuable know 1982 die variety, the reverse doubled die zinc small-date cent, was discovered in 2007.

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1982centzine “ To date, lone three have been found, ” he reports. “ I facilitated the sale of a brown AU specimen that sold for thousands of dollars. If a choice Red BU exists, it could sell for $ 15,000. ” He adds, “ they ’ re extremely rare. ”
The 1982 brass big date obverse doubled die cent is besides a significant die diverseness for the year, though with a prize of about $ 25 in MS-60, it is worth well less than its small-date zinc doubled die counterpart .
“ There ’ s strong double in “ In God We Trust, ” Daughtrey says .
He besides suggests that coin collectors should examine all of their 1982 cents closely, because while he says there are possibly 19 or 20 known die varieties for the year, many more probable exist .
“ When it comes to die varieties, a lot of collectors good follow what they know exists according to cherrypicking guides. ”
He comments that astute coin collectors will pick out the coins that may not have even been attributed, and that they need to be on the lookout for minor variations in all parts of the design. The Lincoln cent aficionado besides says that while it can be a distribute of fun looking for the different die varieties, collectors should remember that not all are worth a pile .
“ normally, only the mainstream die varieties truly have a lot of value to them. ”
In addition to die varieties, Daughtrey says some ordinary specimens of the seven main 1982 pennies are worth much more than face rate alone .
“ The Philly small-date zinc cents bring the most money – they ’ re the tough, and I ’ d pay $ 30 per ( 50-coin ) peal for those in uncirculated. The copper small-date cents are besides tough, but they ’ rhenium not worth equally much. ”
He says rolls of all the other 1982 cent varieties are worth $ 2-4 in uncirculated grades .
While the dearth of uncirculated sets and bag collectors have largely made 1982- and 1983-dated Jefferson nickels, Roosevelt dimes, and Washington quarters quite scarce in the uncirculated grades, he says the situation has constantly been unlike for the 1982 pennies. “ I was in the one-eighth class when the 1982 cents came out, and the guys back then collecting these coins were already looking for the small-date Philly cents because they were known to be scarce, and by ’ 83 or ’ 84 these coins were tough. sol, there was a modest udder roll up madden for the 1982 cents. ”
Daughtrey thinks one reason there were so many people collecting bags of 1982 cents back in the day has a draw to do with the 1960 large- and small-date varieties that were released two decades earlier. “ In 1982, many of the people who were looking for those 1960 penny varieties, when bag roll up was growing, were still collecting coins in the early 1980s. ”
He does say though that most high-grade business-strike coins come from uncirculated sets, which is why finding premium-quality 1982 cents is so unmanageable. It is among the high-grade Lincoln cents where he has seen a batch of bodily process these days, particularly for the MS-66, MS-67, and MS-68 pieces – the kinds that registry set builders get excited about .
“ [ Registry set builders ] will spend big bucks for these, ” he says. “ Values for a lot of the 1982-86 Lincoln cents in the MS-67+ grades are going through the roof pricewise. ”

Check Your Change

“ When we [ picked ] up a coin like the 1931-S Buffalo nickel, which isn ’ thyroxine rare, people back in the day, when the coin was still new, understand these pieces were kind of barely. Imagine what happened for the people who in, say 1935 or 1940, picked out every 31-S Buffalo nickel they came across in circulation, ” Daughtrey poses. “ The 31-S may not have been worth a draw in 1935, but if collectors had the penetration to save them, their heirs would have some money from a handful of those coins. ”
For the record, the 1931-S Buffalo nickel has a mintage of 1,200,000 and is worth about $ 15 in Good-4, $ 25 in Very Fine-20, and $ 35 in highly Fine-40.

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so, what does Daughtrey look for in his pocket change ? When it comes to Lincoln cents, he keeps his eyes peeled for any 1982 cents that appear to grade AU or higher. “ generally, the lowest degree you ’ ll discover for ’ 82 cents is XF. I besides avoid pulling out damaged coins or those that look like they ’ re rotting. ” As an aside, he says he keeps all the fine-looking 1986 cents, besides .
You never know. possibly your heirs will thank you for saving all those 1982 small-date cents.

PCGS-Certified 1982 Lincoln Cents Currently Available on eBay

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