US Coins

NGC confirms second bronze 1982-D Small Date cent

A second example of a 1982-D Lincoln, Small Date bronze cent is now authenticated and graded About Uncirculated 58, brown, by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

NGC officials indicate the coin was submitted by a major auctioneer of U.S. coins, but because of privacy issues, would not specifically identify the submitter.

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NGC officials had no details on how the coin was found or when. Coin World contacted six major auctioneers of U.S. coins and none would confirm having submitted the coin to NGC for authentication and grading.

A discovery specimen was attributed in February 2017, also by NGC, which also graded that piece AU-58 brown. The discovery piece was offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries Aug. 8, 2017, in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, where it realized $18,800, which includes the then 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.

That discovery piece was found Nov. 23, 2016, by an anonymous Minnesota collector, after he decided to comb through a hoard of bronze cents he had accumulated from circulation.

Both of the 1982-D Lincoln, Small, Date bronze cents now known were struck on planchets composed of 95 percent copper, with zinc as the 5 percent balance of the alloy.

Mint errors

NGC classifies the 1982-D Lincoln, Small Date bronze cents as Mint errors, and not an eighth variant of circulation strikes from the 1982 calendar year of production at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, since they were struck in error on leftover planchets. The errors were produced from an obverse die from the new hub introduced in 1982.

Both cent errors weigh the same — 3.08 grams — within tolerances for the 3.11-gram weight of the copper alloy cents.

Seven variants

In 1982, cent production was transitioning away from planchets fabricated from 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc to, instead, the current composition of copper-plated zinc.

As Coin World’s managing editor William T. Gibbs reported in June 2017, “In 1982, the U.S. Mint famously struck cents in two compositions: the traditional 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc, and the new and more economical copper-plated zinc. In addition, the Mint surprisingly made an obverse hub change in mid-1982 that resulted in two distinctive variants of different relief and sharpness of letters that collectors simplify as the Large Date version (standard since the hub change of 1974) and the Small Date version (the new hub).” 

Gibbs wrote that by the end of calendar year 1982, the four production facilities of the U.S. Mint had struck these seven circulation variants: 1982 Large Date, Brass (or Bronze); 1982 Small Date, Brass; 1982-D Large Date, Brass; 1982 Large Date, Copper-Plated Zinc; 1982 Small Date, Copper-Plated Zinc; 1982-D Large Date, Copper-Plated Zinc; and 1982-D Small Date, Copper-Plated Zinc.

In addition to the Denver Mint coinage, “It should be noted that the Philadelphia Mint, San Francisco Mint and West Point facility all struck identical 1982 cents lacking a Mint mark; the individual strikes cannot be identified by facility of origin,” Gibbs wrote.  

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