Author Topic: 1982 pennies  (Read 7911 times)

Offline Malamute

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1982 pennies
« on: March 20, 2011, 12:58:17 AM »
I'm wondering if anyone can give me some solid info about something that's been bugging me as I just sorted through pennies to separate the 95% coppers from the copper-clad 97.5% zinc pennies.

Wikipedia says the following about the composition of 1982 US pennies:
Quote
The penny's composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in the coin started to rise above one cent.[7] This was mainly caused by inflation. Some 1982 pennies use the 97.5% zinc composition, while others used the 95% copper composition.

One can hear the difference between the bronze and copper pennies and the newer, zinc pennies by dropping a coin on a solid surface. The predominantly copper pennies produce a ringing sound in the 12 kHz range. The zinc coins make a noise that is different.[8] In addition, a full 50-penny roll of pre-1982/3 pennies will weigh 5.4 oz. compared to a post 1982/83 roll which will weigh 4.4 oz.
Yet I just sorted about 500 pennies and out of the 20 or so 1982 pennies, every one of them had that 12kHz ringing sound.

So did I experience a statistical anomaly or are the vast majority of 1982 US pennies of the 95% copper variety?

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 01:24:31 AM »
I just flip them in the air. If there copper you will here "ting" sound. If there zinc you pretty much here nothing.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 01:25:45 AM »
It looks like something less than half of them are of the 95% copper variety, although I can find no mintage figures by composition. 1982 cents that have the D mint mark under the date are most likely to be copper. Assuming the montly production was fairly level, approx. 5/6 of the 1982-D cents are copper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_(United_States_coin)

Quote
In mid-1982, the coin's composition changed again to copper-plated zinc. The last all-copper cents were produced by the Denver Mint on October 22, 1982...This coin is identical in size and appearance to, but at 2.5 grams is lighter than the 3.11 grams of copper cents issued before 1982...

The Philadelphia mint changed over very early in the year, so most of the 1982 cents with no mint mark under the date are zinc. (Some 1982 cents were minted for circulation at the old West Point mint and the San Francisco mint, but they have no mint mark and these are all zinc.) About 5/8 of the 1982 cents minted for circulation were minted at one of these three mints, the rest in Denver. The Denver mint made only copper cents until the change over date shown above, so the majority of 1982 cents with the D mint mark under the date are copper. All of the proofs struck in San Francisco that year are copper. These have the S mint mark under the date.

http://www.ngccoin.com/news/viewarticle.aspx?NewsletterNewsArticleID=195

Quote
Coining of the zinc cents actually commenced on January 7, 1982 at the West Point Mint. (Little remembered today is that this facility produced nearly a billion cents from 1974 to 1985. As these bear no mintmarks, they are indistinguishable from those made at Philadelphia.) Soon thereafter, Philadelphia undertook this coinage, too. Denver continued to produce solely brass cents until October 21, 1982. That was conversion day. After coining brass cents in the morning, an hour's suspension was affected during which time all the remaining brass cents and planchets were cleared away, and the striking of zinc cents began. The first delivery of these from the Coining Division was made on the 27th. The San Francisco Mint struck nearly four million proof cents for collectors, but these were all of the traditional composition....Oddly enough, San Francisco did mint 1,587,245 zinc cents for general circulation in 1982. Like those made at West Point, however, these bear no mintmarks.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 01:49:46 AM by TexDaddy »

Offline willille

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 03:10:19 PM »
Get a Popsicle stick. Mark it in the middle. Glue a  newer penny on one end. You now have the beginnings of a balance beam. 

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 03:15:13 PM »
Get a Popsicle stick. Mark it in the middle. Glue a  newer penny on one end. You now have the beginnings of a balance beam. 
With the 20% weight difference, this should be good enough.

Offline Malamute

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2011, 04:57:46 PM »
Thanks for the responses, especially the detailed one about mintage.

It just occurred to me that maybe one reason for the higher-than-should-be incidence of "junk mined" 95%Cu 1982 pennies is that some junk copper miners sort visually by year and just go with the "pre-1982 pennies" theme without having checked into the matter more thoroughly.


Offline stayfrosty

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 08:23:15 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that the 1982 pennies were made out of 95% copper for the first 9 months of the year. That would make about 75% of the 1982 pennies, the ones you want to collect.

I'll try to find a link.

frosty

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2011, 11:58:15 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that the 1982 pennies were made out of 95% copper for the first 9 months of the year. That would make about 75% of the 1982 pennies, the ones you want to collect.

I'll try to find a link.

frosty
Here are the stats for circulation mintage that year from http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Book-United-States-Coins/dp/0794831486/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300686713&sr=8-2

Combined quantity of cents minted at the Philadelphia, West Point and San Francisco mints (no mint mark:) 10,712,525,000.

All of the cents struck at West Point and San Francisco were zinc. Some time in January 1982, the Philadelphia mint converted to producing only zinc cents.

Total 1982 cents struck in Denver (D mint mark under the date:) 6,012,979,368

The Denver Mint produced 95% copper cents until 10/21/1982. For the rest of 1982, Denver only produced zinc cents. http://www.ngccoin.com/news/viewarticle.aspx?NewsletterNewsArticleID=195

So, even if Philadelphia produced 1,000,000,000 copper cents and all of the Denver cents were copper, the most it could be is 42% of the total for all mints for 1982.

Now for 1982-D only cents, the percentage may be as high as a little over 80%, but probalbly closer the the 75% you mention.

So, if you get a 1982 cent with no mint mark, it is most likely zinc. If you get a 1982 cent with the D mint mark, there is a very good chance it is copper.



Offline t00nces2

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Re: 1982 pennies
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 05:33:34 AM »
If you are going to work with coins, you really need to have a coin scale. I am far more concerned silver and gold coins weigh true, but I also use the scale to tell zinc pennies from copper pennies. Copper pennies are 3.1 grams, zinc pennies are 2.5 grams. You can find a digital coin scale on the bay for under $10.