Although pennies are the lowest face-value coin, old coins will always have incredible potential. The 1962 penny is no exception to this
Despite billions of coins made and circulating today, 1962 pennies have been known to sell for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars at auction. So how do you know if your 1962 penny is worth a small fortune?
This article will explore everything that influences the 1962 penny value. We’ll highlight variations you can find, share examples of known auctions, and highlight some of the rarest errors in the coin that could instantly transform its value.
1962 penny value chart
|1962 No Mint Mark Penny Value
|$0.35 to $20
|Up to $8,000
|1962 Proof Penny Value
|Up to $1,500
|1962 D Penny Value
|$0.35 to 10
|Up to $1,500
1962 No Mint Mark Penny Value
Over 2 billion pennies were minted in 1962, meaning this coin is still found circulating today. Chances are you’ve owned a few of these coins already.
Two mints struck pennies in 1962 – Philadelphia and Denver. The Philadelphia mint only struck over 609 million pennies, one of the lowest figures on record for the mint. It was drastically lower than the Denver mint, which produced the remaining 1.7 billion pennies.
As the name suggests, the 1962 no mint penny can be easily identifiable by the absence of a mint mark on the coin, a common feature of the Philadelphian mint. It was made of 95% copper and 5% zinc, making it an expensive coin to produce relative to its face value.
That said, the higher copper composition gives 1962 no mint pennies a higher-than-average melting value of about 3 cents. As a result, collectors can invest in these coins with the sole purpose of destroying them for profit.
Because of its copper composition, 1962 no mint pennies have three distinct color variations: red, brown, and a combination of red and brown. Most, if not all, public auctions are for the red penny variant. Copper is a particularly heavy metal, making the 1962 penny weigh 3.11 grams.
Now on to design. Like all coins in the Lincoln series, the 1962 no mint penny’s obverse side features the original portrait of 16th US president Abraham Lincoln, designed by Lithuanian sculptor Victor D. Brenner.
The reverse side of the 1962 no mint penny featured the Lincoln Memorial, designed by chief engraver of the US Mint, Frank Gasparro. This design was introduced in 1959 to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, replacing the coin’s original ‘Wheat’ design, and remained part of the penny until 2009, when another redesign was issued.
Because of their relatively high production numbers, the 1962 no mint penny is considered fairly common in today’s market and can still be found in circulation today. As a result, demand for 1962 pennies is low, and coins in good or excellent condition will still only sell for their face or melting value.
That said, collectors have noted that finding highly conditioned 1962 pennies can be difficult, and demand is centered mainly on pristine coins with high luster and pronounced features.
Because of its slightly lower production number, the 1962 no mint penny is considered rarer than the D penny and can fetch upwards of $20 in higher-than-average conditions.
According to PCGS, the highest sale on record for a 1962 no mint penny is $8,812, demonstrating a simple penny’s potential. The coin in question had an MS 67+ rating and is said to have a brilliant and frosty mint-orange color with no marks or blemishes present.
1962 Proof Penny Value
The 1960s saw coin collecting become a trendy hobby. The US Mint ordered proof coins to be struck to capitalize on this growing sector. These coins were made using specially designed dies and chemicals to produce mirror-like shimmers.
The Philadelphia mint was the only location proof coins were struck, with a small production number of just 3,218,019. As such, the 1962 proof penny is much more difficult to find in circulation today, as coin collectors already own the majority.
While many people might think collector coins will fetch a high premium at auction, the opposite can be true. Because they were never intended for circulation, many of these pennies have survived in pristine condition and are never typically sold under MS 67 grades. The price for these coins ranges from a modest $20 to as high as $160.
But like any collectible, there are exceptions to these trends, and certain 1962 proof coins have been considered one-of-a-kind collectibles in their own right.
To date, the most valuable 1962 proof pennies will have a deep frosted appearance that sets them apart from other proof coins. The highest-valued coin sold as recently as 2021 for an impressive $1,500.
1962 D Mint Penny Value
Denver produced the most 1962 pennies by a significant margin, at just over 1,793,148,400 coins. This makes this variety quite generic and arguably a lower-valued coin to have. You can identify these coins by their signature ‘D’ mint mark on the coin’s obverse.
Like the Philadelphia variety, it had the original portrait of Abraham Lincoln, designed by sculptor Victor D. Branner. Frank Gasparro designed the reverse side, which featured the Lincoln Memorial, a design that continued until the penny’s subsequent redesign in 2009.
Like other pennies from that era, the 1982 D penny was made primarily of 95% copper and 5% zinc. As such, it has a slightly higher melting value than its face value, at about 3 cents per coin.
Because of their copper composition, 1962 D pennies come in three distinct variations: red, brown, and a combination of red and brown. The red variety is the most commonly found and sought-after coin, with average values ranging from $10 for uncirculated coins, to nearly $1,500 for MS67+ graded coins.
In 1965, because of coin hoarding and a sharp rise in production, coins were temporarily made with no mint marks to prevent their appeal as collectibles. This decision continued until 1968 when mint marks were re-introduced. In this context, the 1962 D penny is one of the few Lincoln coins in the 60s with a production mark.
Their increasingly high production of over 1 billion coins means widespread use of the 1962 D penny. Many are still in circulation today, and old pennies are constantly being rediscovered and subsequently graded for sale.
The only true value they may have at auction is if the penny is in high condition, as few pennies survive circulation. If you have a 1962 D penny, it can become precious if it meets the highest grade standard requirements.
For example, this 1962 D penny holds the record for the biggest sale at auction, at a staggering $12,000. The coin in question is said to be a one-of-a-kind gem, as it has no signs of marks or blemishes– something rare for generic pennies.
1962 Penny Grading
Like any collectible, the quality, condition, luster, and level of detail can have a massive impact on your 1962 penny’s value.
As a US coin, 1962 pennies follow the Sheldon coin grading scale, a 70-point scale that uses simple adjectives to determine quality, e.g., Fair, Good, Extremely Fine, or Mint. Below is a quick guide to finding out about the potential of the 1962 penny value:
Rare 1962 Error List
Although an error or fault might be a bad thing, they can increase the value of your coin collection tenfold. That’s because a mistake makes a singular coin one-of-a-kind in the eyes of a collector.
Below are errors that may be present in your 1962 penny.
1962 Penny on the wrong coin
Quality controls weren’t always in place during the 60s, especially when mass-producing low-value coins like the 1962 penny. And because of the rising price of copper, rather than remelting pennies with errors for reproduction, they were allowed to enter circulation.
One of the most common and arguably interesting errors of the 1962 penny is when someone stamps the Lincoln design on the wrong-sized coin.
This rare error can sell for very high, depending on the coin size and how the design was affected. For example, smaller coins often would mean that the portrait of Abraham Lincoln would be cut off or distorted, adding significant value to the coin.
An example of this at auction is this 1962 D penny struck on a silver dime coin. Because the dime has a 2mm smaller diameter, the overall Lincoln portrait is skewed. It was worth up to $840 in 2018.
1962 Penny Off-center error
An off-center occurs when the coin and the stamp are not correctly aligned. It is a common error across all coins and all years. Because of its smaller size, off-centering can heavily distort the 1962 penny, where part or all of Abraham Lincoln is altered.
The value of this error usually depends on the severity of the off-centering. Collectors measure this error in percentages, with higher rates having a more considerable value. For example, coins with only 10% off-centering usually sell for $6, 50% for 10$, and higher off-centering, like 90%, can go as high as $30.
Heavily distorted designs can increase the coin’s value immeasurably. This 1962 D penny has a significant off-centering of 85% and an unusual shape, worth $104 in 2022.
1962 Penny Double Strike error
If no one removes the penny after striking, it can be stamped again, resulting in a double-strike error. This error can have many results, including two slightly askew portraits of Lincoln or heavily pronouncing features like lettering and numbers.
The value of a double strike error can depend on the severity of the coin design. In some instances, the strike is so severe that it distorts the entire appearance of the coin, making them almost unrecognizable.
This 1962 penny had a double strike error combined with off-centering, bringing its value up to $504 at auction.
1962 penny FAQ
Is the 1962 penny rare?
Because of their low face value and high production numbers, 1962 pennies are not typically that valuable unless in high condition. Even still, the coin must be MS65+ to be considered rare.
Certain 1962 pennies have gone above and beyond market valuation and sold for as high as $8,000 at auction.
What material is a 1962 penny made from?
The 1962 penny comprises 95% copper and 5% zinc., making the coin quite valuable to melt as the price of copper usually remains quite high. As such, it has a melt value of about $0.0255.
Which is rarer, a 1962 D or No Mint penny?
Purely on production numbers, the no mint penny is less common, as only 609 million coins were struck versus the 1.7 billion D pennies produced that same year. In theory, this makes them more desirable to collectors.
However, the most important thing to consider with any 1962 penny is not necessarily the mint mark but the quality and preservation of the coin.
Is the 1962 proof penny valuable?
Although coins have high luster and mirror sheen, the 1962 proof penny is not considered valuable despite being made solely for collectors. That’s because the coins have a high survival rate and are usually all found in excellent condition.
That said, an MS67+ proof coin is still considered rare and may potentially sell for hundreds, if not thousands, at auction.
What is the highest recorded sale for a 1962 penny?
The highest recorded auction sale was in 2013 for a single 1962 D penny. Because of its impeccable condition, high luster, and finish, it sold for over $12,000.