1982 Penny Value: What Are 1982 Pennies Worth? Find Out Here

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Do you have a 1982 penny and want to find out its value?

1982 penny value - see what a 1982 penny is worth

Maybe you’ve heard that some 1982 Lincoln Memorial cents are made from brass and worth saving — but you aren’t sure how to tell a copper 1982 penny from a zinc 1982 Lincoln cent.

Or, perhaps you’re trying to find out about the various kinds of 1982 Lincoln cents and need some help in finding out what these different 1982 penny varieties

No worries, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s everything you want to know about 1982 Lincoln cents — including all the different penny varieties from that year and what all of those old pennies are worth.

1982 Penny Facts

1982 was a transitional year for pennies.

U.S. government officials determined copper prices became too expensive to use the metal in the one-cent coin and decided to implement a cheaper composition.

While the United States Mint made the switch from copper-based planchets to copper-coated zinc in 1982, the saga behind using a cheaper alternatives for the Lincoln cent started nearly a decade earlier.

Facing rising copper prices, the U.S. Mint tested cheaper metals for the penny in 1973. Aluminum seemed to work, and more than 1.5 million 1974 aluminum cents were made as trial pieces. But protests from the copper industry and concerns from pediatricians that aluminum pennies wouldn’t be picked up very well on children’s x-ray images paused the progress on the aluminum cent.

The final curtain for the 1974 aluminum pennies came when copper prices — which had skyrocketed during tough economic times in 1973 — began falling back down to a more reasonable levels.

While the Mint recalled virtually all 1974 aluminum pennies, somewhere between 12 to perhaps 20 never made it back into the U.S. government’s hands. They’re illegal to own, and the government is still recalling 1974 aluminum cents that pop up today.

1982 Penny

Fast-forward to the early 1980s, when the value of copper in the one-cent piece began exceeding the coin’s face value.

Copper-plated zinc became the alloy of choice this time. Meanwhile, government officials, not wanting to dance with fluctuating metals prices, decided to stick with their choice even if copper prices fell once again.

On January 7, 1982, the first copper-plated zinc cents were struck at the West Point Mint in New York.

The metal composition change, along with minor design variations, created several different types of 1982 pennies to collect: 

  • Counting various combinations of metal content, mintmarks, and date sizes, there are 7 different types of 1982 pennies.
  • When you include the 1982-S proof penny and some minor error varieties, the number of 1982 pennies rises to well more than a dozen.

Now, let’s examine the 7 major varieties of 1982 pennies and how to tell them apart…

7 Different 1982 Penny Varieties

Lincoln cent collectors have a special challenge in building a set of 1982 pennies.

While there are usually just 2 or 3 different cents to be collected during each of most years of the Lincoln cent series, there were 7 different regular-issue circulation-strike pennies made in 1982:

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

If you count the 1982-S proof penny (all 1982 proof pennies are made from brass), there are 8 different regular-issue pennies that many Lincoln cent collectors pursue.

There are a few well-known 1982 error pennies, including:

  • 1982 small-date doubled die reverse zinc penny — $3,000+
  • 1982 large-date doubled die obverse brass penny — $10+

See if you have a 1982 copper penny that’s worth $19,000!

How To Tell Copper & Zinc 1982 Pennies Apart

If you’re like many coin collectors, you’re probably saving all of your pre-1982 Lincoln pennies for their copper value — which has been on the rise in recent years.

While it’s presently illegal to melt copper pennies, people are still hoarding copper pennies dated before 1982, just waiting for the day when it’s legal to melt old copper pennies.

But did you know you should also be saving your 1982 copper pennies? That’s right — copper 1982 pennies should also be on your list of keepers, not just pennies dated before 1982.

Not sure how to tell 1982 copper Lincoln cents apart from the zinc 1982 pennies, which have essentially no extra value above face?

Here are some tips to help you distinguish 1982 copper pennies from 1982 zinc pennies:

  • Weigh your 1982 pennies. A copper 1982 penny weighs 3.11 grams, whereas zinc Lincoln cents (or Zincolns) weigh only 2.5 grams.
  • Drop them! It’s not usually recommended to drop your coins, but if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a coin scale handy, you can tell whether or not a penny is made primarily from copper if it rings upon hitting a hard surface, such as a table. Copper coins ring on impact, while zinc cents just click.

What Is A 1982 Penny Worth?

If you have 1982 pennies, you’re probably wondering what their value is. As most 1982 pennies are pretty common, they’re not worth much over face value — especially if they’re worn.

In fact, circulated copper cents are worth a couple cents, while normal zinc 1982 Lincoln cents are worth only face value.

Here’s a look at what the different 1982 pennies are worth in worn condition (unless otherwise stated):

  • 1982 brass large-date penny 10,712,525,000 minted; 2+ cents
  • 1982 brass small-date penny mintage included above; 2+ cents
  • 1982 zinc large-date penny mintage included above; 1+ cent
  • 1982 zinc small-date penny mintage included above; 1+ cent
  • 1982-D brass penny 6,012,979,368 minted; 2+ cents
  • 1982-D zinc large-date penny mintage included above; 1+ cent
  • 1982-D zinc small-date penny mintage included above; 1+ cent
  • 1982-S proof penny 3,857,479 minted; $2.50+

*Values are for coins in worn condition, unless otherwise stated. Uncirculated coins are worth 25 cents and up, based on individual surface quality and overall eye appeal.

What Else Happened When Your 1982 Penny Was Made?

Metal composition changes at the U.S. Mint weren’t the only thing happening in 1982. Here’s what else was going on when 1982 pennies were new:

  • The 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee drew millions.
  • The British beat the Argentinians in the Falklands War.
  • Princess Grace of Monaco died at the age of 52 after suffering a stroke while driving her car on a mountain road and unintentionally veering the car down a cliff.
  • Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died at the age of 75 and was replaced by Yuri Andropov.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment, which was designed to provide greater universal equality for men and women, failed ratification.
  • EPCOT Center opened at Walt Disney World in Florida and was later renamed Epcot.
  • Top movies in 1982 included E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial, Tootsie, An Officer and a Gentleman, Blade Runner, and Annie.
  • The average American income was $21,000 per year, a new home cost $82,000, a typical new car sold for $7,800, a loaf of bread was 50 cents, and a 1st-class postage stamp went for 20 cents.

More About 1982 Pennies & Copper Cents

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23 thoughts on “1982 Penny Value: What Are 1982 Pennies Worth? Find Out Here”

  1. Ive a 1982 zinc small date double die,T left side chip dnt know what to do never deal with coin. If someone can give me a opinion tell me anything.Thank.

    Reply
  2. I have weigh all of my 1982 pennies on my digital gram scale and all of them have weigh 3.1 except for the other 5. The 5 them weigh only 2.5

    Reply
    • Hi, Lawrenzo —

      Please send photos of the 1982-D pennies that weigh 3.1 grams and I’ll be glad to help further!

      Thank you,
      Josh

      Reply
      • IF Its possible can you help me out with this i have a lot of 1982 no mint mark pennies weighing in 3.1 a piece and i am trying to figure out if they are worth money and i have 6 1982 d and i weigh them too and they weigh 2.7 . And one more thing i have 56 1983 pennies and they weigh at 2.8 i know they cant be worth any thing but i still hold to all of them just in case if they do. And i have 7 1983 d pennies to. And i weigh them 2.5 between 2.6 . I would really appreciate it if you can give me some knowledge about it thanks for your time

        Reply
        • Hi, Lawrenzo —

          The ones to look for are the 1982-D SMALL DATE cents that weigh 3.1 grams and 1983-D Lincoln cents that also weigh about 3.1 grams. The others you have mentioned are unfortunately common.

          Wishing you best of luck!
          Josh

          Reply
  3. Hi Joshua i just wanted to know with the small date and large date lincoln cent did they ever had a large date 1983 D cent or a small date 1983 D cent . Because of your expertise i just need some of your knowledge. I have 6 1983 D pennies its just weird to me about the way they feel. They look like they could been strike on a brass planchet. I would like to send you some pictures. And also i have 60 1983 pennies they dont feel or look like copper to me. Is it possible they could have been strike on a brass planchet too. I could really use your help thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, Lawrenzo –

      There is no known or recognized differences in the size of the dates of 1983 pennies. You may send some photos of your coins if you’d like, and it would be great if you weighed them on a scale that measures down to at least the tenth of a gram.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
  4. Hello josh i was just wondering about the 1982 no mint mark penny small date. Or are they just the common penny. Because i have 3 of them and they are not zinc.

    Reply
    • Hi, Lawrenzo —

      That is a common issue; the only rare 1982 release is the 1982-D bronze small date. However, your bronze pennies are still worth about 2 cents each for their copper value.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Eric —

      According to the photos you sent, both of the coins are unfortunately 1982-D large date cents, which are the more common of the two 1982-D bronze varieties. I wish you the best in finding the small date!

      Good luck,
      Josh

      Reply
  5. Hi , there, my name is Alicia,
    I have over (130) 1982 PENNIES.
    Some are alike , some are different, some are damaged, and many different kinds. I have some that weigh 3.15 , 3.11, 2.5 , 2.4 , 2.3 and some that are so damaged that weigh about 2.0 or less . I’ve been collecting them for about three years know, right after my papa pasted away , I felt it made me closer to him. He always told me to keep all my pennies, so I did ever sence I was as young as a year old I always use to give them to him , but right after his passing I just keep all of them in a bucket.
    But my 1982 I never put them in there because that’s the year I was born . But any ways , I apologize for rambling. I have alot of questions? Was wondering if you can maybe help a SISTER out .
    I would really appreciate it . If you like I can send you pictures of them if necessary.
    Thank you
    Sincerely, Alicia

    Reply
    • Hi, Alicia —

      I appreciate your reaching out… I am so sorry to hear about your papa passing away but am glad to know you’ve found a connection to him through collecting coins and particularly those pennies.

      As you may have read in this article, there is at least one type of 1982 penny worth major money, and that’s the 1982-D copper small date. While I can’t examine your coins in-hand and it’s impractical to to take photos of more than 100 pennies, I can suggest you carefully inspect all of your 1982 pennies that weigh about 3 to 3.1 grams on a gram scale that measures down to at least the tenth of a gram. Compare them to photos of the 1982-D small date, which has a distinctive look as described in this article and can be seen in this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HDkzobEICis

      As for looking for valuable finds while searching through the other pennies, please check out this article: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/valuable-pennies/

      I hope this info helps you!

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply

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