US Coins

Market Analysis: Best 1982 Lincoln, Small Date cent among ANA's unexpected treasures

The American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auctions are always full of expected rarities, but it’s the unexpected treasures that get collectors hunting through the various catalogs by Heritage Auctions and Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Included in the latter’s Rarities Night auction on Aug. 15 was a cent that is generally common: a 1982 Lincoln, Small Date copper-plated zinc cent. 

Of course, it would have to be special to earn its place in that prestigious evening sale. This one is the finest known, graded Mint State 69 red by Professional Coin Grading Service. The year 1982 saw the U.S. Mint change the cent’s composition from a traditional bronze to a copper-plated zinc, and both Large Date and Small Date subtypes were struck. The great diversity of 1982 cents and its status as a transition year has made the date popular with collectors.

Of the more than 16 billion 1982 Lincoln cents struck, of all types, PCGS has graded just two in MS-69 red. The cataloger wrote, “The surfaces are essentially flawless, painted in an even salmon-pink hue. Satiny luster cartwheels without interruption across each side, emphasizing the sharply rendered devices.” It sold for $15,600. 

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