One of the most confusing yet amusing coins to collect is the 1982 Lincoln penny.
U.S. coins usually have around two or three different varieties. However, the 1982 penny has eight varieties—seven in circulation and one as a proof series. All these coins vary in features like composition, mint mark, and, get this—even the size of the coin’s date.
In 1982, pennies transitioned from a mainly copper composition to a mostly zinc one. They also had issues engraving the date, leading to two varieties: small and large date.
The 1982 penny value differs according to the variety. Today, we’ll discuss how much your 1982 penny can be worth depending on its content and date’s size. Let’s jump right in!
1982 Penny Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Variety||Circulated||MS64 Choice Uncirculated||MS67 Superb Gem Uncirculated|
|1982 Penny Value for No Mint Mark (P)||Small Date
|–||$2.50 to $15||$375|
|$0.05||$1 to $10||$7.50 to $225|
|$0.05||$1 to $5||$7.50 to $55|
|$0.05||$1 to $5||$7.50 to $35|
|1982 Penny Value for “D” Mint Mark||Large Date
|$0.05||$1 to $5||$7.50 to $80|
|$0.05||$1 to $10||$7.50 to $40|
|–||$2.50 to $7.50||$35|
|1982 Penny Value for “S” Mint Mark||Proof Coin
1982 Penny Value for No Mint Mark (P)
Over 10.7 billion pennies were minted in Philadelphia in 1982. Like all coins made in Philly, these pennies had no mint mark stamped on them.
The 1982 penny has the same design on the obverse and reverse as the pennies minted in 1959. On Victor D. Brenner’s obverse, Lincoln is seen facing right, with “In God We Trust” in an arc formation above him and “Liberty” and “1982” on either side of his body.
On the reverse, designed by Frank Gasparro in 1959 to commemorate Abe Lincoln’s 150th birth anniversary, we see the Lincoln Memorial. He did a pretty stellar job at depicting the monument, even if he never set foot in it while sketching the design.
Above the Memorial are the words “E pluribus unum.” Above that, in an arc, “United States of America” is majestically written. Below the Memorial is the denomination “One Cent.”
Even if the design of the 1982 penny stayed the same, 1982 was still a year of many changes in the Lincoln penny.
First, the U.S. government switched up the composition of the coin. Since 1909, the penny had been made with 95% copper. But because copper was getting more expensive in the 80s, they decided to make the penny with copper-plated zinc instead (97.5% zinc, 2.5% copper).
Because of this decision, some of the pennies in 1982 were made of bronze, while others were made of zinc. Bronze coins weigh 3.11 grams, while the new zinc ones weigh just 2.5 grams. Coins minted before 1982 are also more valuable because of their high copper content.
1982 (P) Penny Value for Bronze Coins
First, let’s take a look at the bronze pennies minted in Philadelphia. These coins come in two varieties—small date and large date. Here are some differences between the two.
- All the numbers in “1982” are aligned at the bottom in the large date variety. There are some misalignments in the small date coin, like an 8 that looks raised.
- The neck of the numeral “2” connecting the curved top and flat bottom is slightly curved in the small date variety but looks straight in the large date coins.
- The circles that make up the numeral “8” in the small date coin are very different. The top one looks noticeably smaller than the bottom one. In a large date coin, the circles look almost equal in size.
In the Philly issue of the 1982 penny, the small date variety is more valuable, since it is scarcer. It’s so rare that it’s difficult to find in circulated conditions. 1982 (P) small date bronze penny is most common in uncirculated grades MS64 through MS66.
Another thing to note about copper pennies is that they’re more valuable when they’ve retained most of their original red luster. The browner the coin, the less valuable it is.
So, if we take a look at an MS64 1982 (P) small date bronze penny that is prominently brown, the value sits at just $2.50. But if it’s fully red, it can go up to as much as $15. A superb MS67 gem in full red color can cost up to $375.
The large date variety is also valuable, but not as much as the small date one. In circulated conditions, it can be sold for $0.05. In uncirculated condition, an MS64 1982 (P) large date bronze penny can cost between $1 and $10.
And at MS67, 1982 (P) large date bronze penny with full red tones can be sold for $225.
1982 (P) Penny Value for Copper-Plated Zinc Coins
Next, we have the copper-plated zinc pennies minted in Philly in 1982. Because these were more common—and due to their cheaper composition—these coins aren’t as valuable as their bronze-minted sisters.
In circulated condition, both the small and large date varieties are valued at $0.05. This goes up in uncirculated conditions. Depending on the color, these small and large date zinc pennies can be sold anywhere between $1 and $5.
The price only differs between the two date varieties in the higher, uncirculated grades. An MS67 coin with a small date, for example, is valued at $55. Meanwhile, its large date counterparts sell for only $35.
1982 Penny Value for “D” Mint Mark
Next, we have the 1982 pennies that were minted in Denver. More than 6 billion pennies were minted there that year. And just like the Philadelphia issue, some of them were made of bronze, and others, copper.
1982 D Penny Value for Bronze Coins
Funnily enough, the 1982 D bronze pennies only came in a large date variety. No small date bronze coin from Denver was ever circulated. However, a couple have been found in recent years, which have been sold for upwards of $18,000 because of their uniqueness.
But let’s now turn our attention to the 1982 D large date bronze penny. Like the coins from Philly, these Denver-minted pennies are valued today at $0.05 in circulated condition. This value increases in mint conditions.
At MS62, a 1982 D large date bronze penny can cost around $0.50. This value doubles at MS64, when this variety can be sold between $1 and $5, depending on the color.
And at a pristine grade of MS67, these coins can sell for $7.50 (in brown tones) to $80 (when fully red).
1982 D Penny Value for Copper-Plated Zinc Coins
The copper-plated zinc pennies minted in Denver see the return of the small and large date varieties. The small date variety, as always, is a bit more valuable than the ones with a larger date. To compare them, let’s look at their prices in uncirculated conditions.
In MS64, the small date coin costs about $10 if it has its original red luster. On the contrary, a large date coin with these conditions will only be valued at $7.50.
Another example is the value of these coins at MS67. The small date variety can be sold for $40, while the large date coins are worth $35.
1982 Penny Value for “S” Mint Mark Proof Coins
Only 3 million 1982 pennies were minted in San Francisco and bear the “S” mint mark. However, all of these were proof coins and were never released to the public.
Unlike the Philadelphia and Denver issues, the San Francisco proof mintage did not have small and large date varieties. Furthermore, they were struck in copper-plated zinc only, never bronze.
Because these coins were never put into circulation, they’re always shiny and lustrous today. But even if they’re rare, they’re not as valuable as one might think. At MS64, this coin will only be valued at $1.50. And even at a high grade of MS67, you’ll only get around $6.50 for this coin.
1982 Penny Grading
The 1982 penny value relies heavily on the coin’s grade and condition. However, only a professional can give your coin an accurately designated grade.
That said, you can assess your 1982 penny for signs of wear, discoloration, and eye appeal to get an idea of its worth.
Essentially, a circulated coin will show wear and smoothness in the high points of the coin, like the top of Lincoln’s head. On the other side of the spectrum, an uncirculated coin will probably have a full, red color with mint luster. Uncirculated coins are worth much more than circulated ones.
Need a guide to help grade your 1982 Lincoln penny more accurately? Check out this video to see how a Lincoln penny looks from circulated to uncirculated grades:
Rare 1982 Penny Error List
With so many varieties of the 1982 penny going around today, it seems bewildering to think of even more types of pennies minted that year.
But aside from discrepancies in color, composition, and date engraving, you might also be able to spot 1982 pennies that look extra different because of mint errors.
Here are some other mint errors one might find in the 1982 Lincoln pennies.
1982 Penny Value Double Die Obverse “Double Ear” Error
A doubled die coin is when a damaged die accidentally stamps a faint second image of the design on a planchet. A doubled die obverse is quite common in the Philly-minted issue of the 1982 penny. A coin can go up to $198 at MS63 if it has a “DDO.”
But in the Denver pennies of 1982, a more unique kind of DDO was found. This DDO created a doubling on the ear of Lincoln, hence the name of this quirky error. This charming mint error can increase the price of your coin by up to $150.
1982 Penny Value Struck Off-Center Error
Next, we have 1982 pennies that were struck off-center. This means the punch was not in the exact center of the planchet, leaving a big chunk of it blank. As a result, coins that are struck off-center don’t usually have a clean, circular shape.
One example is an MS65, red-brown 1982 (P) large date bronze penny that was struck 40% off-center. As a result, it was sold for $95, even if the value of a red-brown MS65 is just $7.50.
The more off-center the strike, the more valuable the coin will be. Another 1982 penny was found to be struck off-center by 85%, making most of the coin look blank. It sold for $120.
1982 Penny Value Occluded Gas Bubbles Under Plating Error
Lastly, we have the occluded gas bubble error, which is sometimes found under the 1982 zinc penny’s copper plating. These bubbles are caused by high temperatures while striking the planchet, leaving behind raised pockets of air on the coin.
A 1982 D zinc penny with a small date was found with this error. It was sold in 2016 for $39, even if its value at MS65 would have been just $15 if it had been error-free.
1982 Penny FAQs
How rare is a 1982 small date penny?
Among the eight different varieties of the 1982 Lincoln penny, the small date variety minted in Philadelphia is one of the most difficult to find, especially in high grades. Plus, there is no small date variety of the 1982 penny minted in Denver. That makes a small date penny even scarcer.
How do I know which 1982 penny I have?
An easy way to check what kind of 1982 penny you have is by weighing your coin. The solid bronze version of the coin should weigh about 3.11 grams. Meanwhile, the copper-plated zinc coins should weigh 2.5 grams apiece only.
How do you tell if a 1982 penny is a small date or a large date?
The fastest way to check if a 1982 penny is either a small or large date is by checking the alignment of the numbers 1, 9, 8, and 2.
A small date should look like the bottoms of these numbers don’t align correctly, with the bottom of the 8 slightly raised. On a large date coin, all of them align correctly.