The Ultimate 1942 Penny Value Guide: What Is A 1942 Wheat Penny Worth Today? Find Out Here

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1942 Penny Value

Have a 1942 penny? Want to know its value?

If you look through enough pocket change or penny rolls, you’re bound to find a 1942 penny worth more than face value on occasion.

Or, you might inherit some old coins from a loved one. An old coin collection could contain exceptional examples of 1942 pennies — even proof 1942 pennies!

Today, I’ll help you answer the following questions about 1942 pennies:

  • What’s the 1942 penny value today?
  • Is a 1942 wheat penny worth more than other pennies?
  • What’s the story behind the rare 1942 penny that was struck on the wrong coin blank?
  • What other 1942 pennies are considered rare?

Current 1942 Penny Value

Most 1942 pennies that you find in circulation are bound to be pretty well worn. Of the hundreds of millions of 1942 Lincoln cents that were made by the United States Mint, relatively few survive today in uncirculated (mint) condition.

Even fewer proof 1942 pennies were made for collectors, and these are considerably scarce today.

So, what is a 1942 penny worth if it’s worn?

What about those proof 1942 pennies?

And what if a 1942 wheat penny has no mintmark?

Here’s what a 1942 penny is worth today and how many were made at each of the U.S. Mint facilities around the United States:

  • 1942 penny no mintmark (Philadelphia) — 657,796,000 minted, 5 to 10+ cents
  • 1942-D penny (Denver) — 206,698,000 minted, 5 to 10+ cents
  • 1942-S penny (San Francisco) — 85,590,000 minted, 5 to 10+ cents
  • 1942 proof penny (Philadelphia) — 32,600 minted, $35+

*Values are for worn, but problem-free coins (no cleanings, holes, porosity, etc.). Uncirculated 1942 pennies are generally worth $1 or more

IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your Penny?

To determine the true value of your 1942 penny, you first need to know what condition (or grade) your coin is in.

Grab a coin magnifier and a copy of the U.S. Coin Grading Standards book. Then, watch this video to see how to grade coins yourself at home:

Rare 1942 Penny Values

If you’re reading this post to find out about rare 1942 penny values, you’ll be glad to know that the rarest 1942 wheat pennies are worth thousands of dollars!

But which 1942 pennies are considered rare?

It depends on what type of rare 1942 penny you’re asking about.

One of the rarest 1942 pennies was brought to light by the family of a former U.S. Mint employee named Albert Michael Pratt. This rare 1942 penny was accidentally struck on a brass planchet intended to be struck as an Ecuador 20 centavos coin (back in the old days, the U.S. Mint struck millions of coins for foreign nations).

While it sounds like an error coin like this would be difficult to distinguish from all of the other 1942 pennies, this really cool wrong planchet penny is actually pretty obvious to anybody with a gram measuring scale.

The Ecuador 20 centavos brass planchet weighs 4 grams — or nearly 9-10ths of a gram more than the standard weight of a regular 1942 penny.

Other rare 1942 pennies are scarce due to their condition.

For example, if you find a 1942 penny in uncirculated condition with few surface blemishes, it might be worth having certified by a 3rd-party coin grading company — such as the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

To date, the PCGS has graded only 224 Philadelphia-minted 1942 pennies grading Mint State-67 “Red,” while NGC has certified just 457 in that same grade. They’re worth around $150 to $200, maybe even more if you find an especially nice example in MS-67 “Red” condition.

More Info About Old Pennies

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some of our other coin articles that will help you find the current value of all your old pennies:

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26 thoughts on “The Ultimate 1942 Penny Value Guide: What Is A 1942 Wheat Penny Worth Today? Find Out Here”

    • Hi, Cyndi —

      Without seeing the coin in person or knowing its weight, it’s hard to say for certain. It could be an off-metal error — a penny struck on a dime planchet. But I don’t think the planchet looks small enough to be a dime. Are you able to tell me what the coin weighs in grams? Preferably, down to the hundredth of a gram?

      We’ll figure this out!

      Thank you!

      • not at the moment. I am trying to find someone with a scale . If and when i am able to, i will send you a post. I also agree that it is not a dime. I showed it to a guy at work and he told me it was a penny like the 1943 one, but it does not stick to a magnet. Is it possible for someone to like white wash it or something. The only reason i ask is because it looks silver but in certain light it looks like a very light colored copper penny. The guy who told me this also had one. He is the one that told me about the magnet trick. can copper lose it’s color that way and in such a short period of time. To me 1982 isn’t as long as 1943, lol. but i will get the weigh to you as soon as i can. Ty for your help.

        • Hello, Cyndi —

          It’s actually possible it was layered in pewter, zinc, or another silvery metal. You’d probably be surprised how many people plate their pennies as keepsakes or other novelties. In the case of zinc-core pennies (those made since late 1982), there’s a common science experiment in which the coin’s copper coating is chemically removed to expose the zinc core.

          If you can find out more about the coin’s weight we will know a lot more about what’s going in here!

          Looking forward to hearing more when you get a chance…


          • Hi Josh, i finally found a scale, the weight was 2.59. That is in the zinc area, but if it is zinc why would it stick to a magnet?

  1. Hi Josh, Found a scale, the weight was 2.59. That is on the zinc side. Now if it is zinc why would it stick to a magnet? and is there anything else you can tell me about it?

    • Hi, Cyndi —

      Based on what you’re telling me here, and without examining the coin in-hand, the first thought that comes to my mind is that this coin was coated in some type of conductive material. I’m trying to figure out where this comment is attached — it’s on the 1982-D cent post from a couple weeks ago, but you said “a magnet will not pick it up, or it won’t stick to a magnet.” Would you kindly mind refreshing me on what date this penny is again? I need to see if it was struck the same year as when the Mint was striking foreign coins, because some foreign planchets are magnetic, so it’s possible this is an off-metal error, but I need to double check the date.

      Thank you for your patience!

    • Hi, Richard!

      How did you find this piece? It’s hard to say from the photo for sure whether or not its a proof because I need to examine the reflectivity of the fields, but the in the photo what I DO see that looks positive for a proof is the overall sharpness of detail and the squared-off rims. Whatever you do, please do NOT clean this coin, as it will only ruin its surfaces and value. Even a low-end Brown 1942 proof cent is worth $20 or $25. It’s probably not worth enough to get certified, but it IS worth bringing into your nearest coin dealer for an in-hand evaluation and possible sale if you wish to sell it.

      Here’s a nationwide directory of coin dealers — not exhaustive but thorough:
      Here’s more info on how to find a good coin dealer:

      I think this very well could be a 1942 proof penny, and if it is, is a really neat find!

      Thank you,

    • Hi, Angela—

      Unfortunately the things you have circled aren’t errors but rather moderate to deep cuts on the coin caused in circulation after the coin was struck. However, your 1942 penny is still worth 3 to 5 cents.

      Best wishes,

    • Hi, Vince —

      I can only see the obverse of your 1942 penny in this photo (I don’t see any reverse photo images along with this comment) but based on what I’m seeing here it’s worth around 5 cents.

      Hope this info helps,

    • Hi, Carl —

      This quarter has seen some heavy and intentional wear-based alterations, almost as if by sanding. Note that where the design is present the details are virtually full — notably on Caesar Rodney’s horse. While a looker of a coin, the oddities here are all post-mint in nature.

      Thank you for reaching out,


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