NGC Grades Rare 1982 Cent


Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) has authenticated and graded a 1982 Small Date Lincoln cent that was struck in bronze at the U.S. Mint in Denver. It is the only known coin of its type, and is attributed as a mint error.

1982-D Small Date bronze cent
1982-D Small Date bronze cent, the only known example

In 1982, the U.S. Mint altered its cents from bronze to brass-plated zinc and changed their bust, lettering and date. These refinements resulted in seven distinct varieties issued for circulation that year:

  • 1982 Large Date Bronze,
  • 1982 Small Date Bronze,
  • 1982-D Large Date Bronze,
  • 1982 Large Date Brass-Plated Zinc,
  • 1982 Small Date Brass-Plated Zinc,
  • 1982-D Large Date Brass-Plated Zinc and
  • 1982-D Small Date Brass-Plated Zinc.

There was no 1982-D Small Date cent issued or known to exist in bronze until this piece was discovered.

"While one could argue that this piece is the eighth variety of circulation issue 1982 cents, NGC has attributed it as a mint error since it was undoubtedly struck in error from a leftover planchet and unintentionally released into circulation," NGC said in a statement.

The cent’s owner contacted variety and error specialist Ken Potter, who revealed its existence in an article published by Numismatic News. It was then submitted to NGC for certification. The cent is graded NGC AU 58 and labeled as a "discovery coin."

For information about NGC and their grading services, visit

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Brass-plated zinc ?? Here I always thought they were copper? Huh??


What’s it worth???

M. B.

Fascinating…! Wonder what that’s worth??

Seth Riesling

The Lincoln cents after 1982 are only 2.5 percent copper & 97.5 percent zinc. Most Americans still think they are 95 percent copper. The zinc industry makes a fortune off the billions of cents produced each year by the US Mint.



Seth, I don’t understand why this article says “brass”.

M Stanfield

composition i believe identifies as Brass instead of Bronze that you also hear frequently. Im a guy that goes with Copper til part of 1982 forward and 1943.

Seth Riesling

Brass is the copper & zinc alloy. Bronze was one alloy used earlier containing copper, zinc & tin. Of course, in 1943 the Mint used zinc-plated steel.



It is easy to tell the difference for 1982; the old cents weigh 3.11 grams the new “zlincolns” 2.5. Plenty of both were made that year so this ’82-D s.d. is the only rarity. I suppose the Mint changed the composition mid-year to avoid the heavier ones being accidentally made in ’83. But a few ’83s and one ’89-D are known. Incidentally bronze is copper and tin, brass is copper and zinc, as Seth noted. But that confuses things since tin was actually taken out of cents in ’62 (to the best of my knowledge nobody collects that year by… Read more »

Seth Riesling

Richard – You have it right, except the 1959-1962 alloy used was 95 percent copper with a mixture of 5 percent tin & zinc included in the alloy. In 2009 the Mint did the cents that year for the Lincoln cent centennial in the original alloy from 1909 in the Mint sets & Proof sets only (not for the circulation cents) which was 95 percent copper with a mixture of 5 percent zinc & tin. The Lincoln cent has gone through more alloy changes than any other US Mint coin in its 108 years. They even used recycled WWII bronze… Read more »


Any word on how the owner noticed the difference with a naked eye?


So there is a “unicorn” out there? The owner knows his Lincolns!
As far as the coin’s worth? I think right now it’s hard to tell because it is the only one and has not yet been put up for sale. So it’s worth what someone will pay for this one of a kind. That is till someone else finds “the unicorn!” And that is just my thought on that.

Josh kiser

I just found one and had it sent off to be authenticated

Danny Morano

Where there is one, their could be more. Check your 1982 Lincoln pennys. Especially when the estimated worth is revealed.
DrWho 7


Hi I got a gold looking Roosevelt dime 2003. Do any one known about it


Shawn – while this is really a coin news and discussion site rather than a values site, my first thought would be to get a sensitive scale and weigh the coin. It it comes in at 2.27 gm (+/-), you most likely have an ordinary dime that’s been altered in some way. E.g. it could have been plated, exposed to heat or chemicals, etc. If the weight’s substantially different from ~2.27 gm, you should have it examined in person.


Seth Riesling, I’ve always been interested in these “odd Strikes” i.e. 1913 liberty 5 cent, copper 1 cent in 1943, steel 1 cent in 1944 etc. Always thought it might be rogue mint employee(s). So, it is interesting that the US Mint site shows sales of 924 ATB silver proof sets as of 2/12/2017 since this set can not be ordered by us until 2/16/2017. The set, item number 17AQ, would be item #252 of the 255 products they show on the week ending report of 2/12/2017. Sure they would say: “just a mistake” but makes one wonder if this… Read more »


Check your pennies. Lol

Seth Riesling

chuck – The exciting thing about this coin & others you mentioned is that they were found in circulation or original bank rolls, bags etc. This Lincoln cent was circulated (AU-58) & picked out by a collector who knew what to look for! If there is one found so far in circulation, then there could be more. Exiting for sure to see what this first one discovered sells for at auction. As to your question about the new ATB silver Proof set sales number, it is either a mistake or the Mint put the figure there for a dealer in… Read more »


I have 5 bulk mayonnaise juggs full of small date 1982’s. WTF. Wish i would of known years ago


I think i found the second 1982 D small date copper … I weight it … it weights 3.1. Can isend you some pictures … so you can help me to know what do i have to do next …. tnks


No you dont

Michelle klebanoff

So i have a 1982 small date no mint mark penny that weighs 3.0. Is there any info for the phillie mint , also have 3 1982 d coppers are they worth anything truly.


No you dont


I found a second one 1982 D small date weighing 3.08g
Advice please?


No you don’t


How rare could the 1982 D small date copper be. I have 3 that weigh 3.1 Gm’s. I’m almost 100 % sure they are small dates. I compared them with other small and large date 1982 and 1982 D penny’s that weigh 2.5 Gm’s.


No you don’t. If they weigh 3.1. Those are large date d’s

Jeffery Hall

I believe I have one of these coins weight, mint, and small date are all exact. Who can I contact to validate this?


No you don’t

David Neal sr

I believe I have a 1982 d transitional coin small date it weighs 3.1 grams. what is the market price


No you don’t. Gotta be a large date 82 d you have

Jennifer Harris

I just found a 1982d small date copper penny that is bronze and maybe hit a black planchet, I would share a picture but I dont know how to post one, if anyone has any advise please E-Mail me at , thank you

Jennifer Harris

I seen the one 1982 d small date coin found first in Minnosota or Missouri well mine looks just like it, thanks for sending me the website, hope to see what gold mine I have, lol, I want to sell it. 😀


No you dont

Jennifer Harris

I have the same coin that was discovered in Missouri or Minnosoata I aam 99.9% sure.I would like to know my next step and I have pictures, I believe I would send it to PCG, then I would like information on how to sell it .Any information or advise is appreciated.My e-mail is, all infirmation in selling , whether auction off or sold to an individual us highly appreciated.


Hello everyone I’m trying to find out something about my 1982 D small date 3.1 can anyone tell me if there’s any missing letters.? because mine’s missing one… I just brought this coin to a coin shop. when I returned home it was the wrong coin!
I need help in this matter


One of mine is as well missing a few letters


I have two 1982d large date copper pennies that are 3.10 grams and the other one is 3.12 grams. Please help need to get them grades

Robert Cunningham

Hi Ken, Robert Cunningham from Las Vegas. I have the 82 small date No mint mark 3.11g BN and took it to Sahara Coin Company and they told me it’s only worth $20.00. What do you say? Without mint mark it’s only $20.00?


Alls we can do is check our 82 d small dates and hope. I have about 100 dollars worth of small date d’s I won’t check them. Cuz I’ll give them all to my grand babies when they get older

Albert G. Boca

Im a seaman and collecting 1cent.and i found that i had a 1982 small letter of 1 much is the value?


Hi I do have two small date copper penny’s that way 3.6 grams. What do I need to do, to verafie that that are the right ones?


That’s a heavy penny!


I have a 1982-D Bronze Lincoln penny I recently found while treasure hunting pennies. Where can I sell it?

Jenifer Renee Damerville

I have 10 1982 Penny’s my dad put up for me in 80s 90s 3 weigh 2.5 , 6 weigh 3.1 and 1 weighs 3.4 do u think any are worth anything


I just found a Lincoln cent big date with no mint mark and it weighs .25 5 how much would this be worth and I thought that the Denver mint was the mint that switched halfway through the year what does this mean for mine with no mint mark the coin also has we few other errors on it including how close am in America almost the whole coin has some sort of plating issue and so on and so on I’m hoping this may be worth a pretty penny is there a sister pretty ugly Penny LOL


Is it possible that a 1982 d penny could have been struck on another planchette besides bronze? I’m wondering about a very shiny silver looking 1982 d penny that I have.

Roger Bridges

I actually have a few more 1982 no marks and a couple 1980 no marks, a 1974, a 1990 Lincoln penny’s