1982 was a landmark year for the United States one-cent coin, as the metallic composition of the coin was changed from bronze to copper-plated zinc. It was the end of an era for the “penny,” which had become too expensive to produce with its 95-percent copper composition; the cost of making the one-cent piece was approaching the coin’s face value. Eight years earlier, the U.S. Mint experimented with using an aluminum composition for the one-cent coin as copper prices tripled over the course of less than 18 months.
Due to logistics issues concerning the use of aluminum one-cent coins in vending machines and a significant decrease in copper prices, the Mint continued production of the bronze cent. By 1981, the soaring price of copper prompted the U.S. Government to reconsider the denomination’s bronze composition, and a 97.5 percent zinc, 2.5 percent copper composition was authorized.
The new zinc-based Lincoln cent (the “zincoln”) was a late-year replacement for 1982, and the first zinc cents were struck during October of that year.
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The obverse of the 1982 Lincoln cent was designed by Victor David Brenner and appears largely as it did when the type was first minted in 1909. The main difference on the 1982 obverse versus the 1909 version is the location of Brenners’ initials, V.D.B., which were added under Lincoln’s bust in 1918 after their removal from the reverse in late 1909. The date, 1982, appears to the right of Lincoln and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears above the president. On the left of the 16th president is the word LIBERTY.
Frank Gasparro designed the Lincoln Memorial reverse seen on the 1982 one-cent coin. The Lincoln Memorial reverse replaced the wheat stalk design, a Brenner original from 1909, in 1959. Gasparro’s initials FG appear on the lower-right side of the Lincoln Memorial. Below the edifice and along the rim are the words ONE CENT, while the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA run along the top half of the reverse along the rim. Between the top of the Lincoln Memorial and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscription is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Lithuanian-born coin designer Victor David Brenner is best known for his iconic design for the Lincoln cent (1909-Present) (View Designer’s Profile). Frank Gasparro was an American medalist and coin designer (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||1982|
|Mint Mark:||P, D, S|
|Mintage:||10,712,525,000 (P), 6,012,979,368 (D), 3,857,479 (Proof; S)|
|Alloy:||95% copper, 5% tin and zinc; 97.5% zinc, 2.5% copper|
|Weight:||3.11 grams (bronze); 2.5 grams (zinc)|
|OBV Designer||Victor David Brenner|
|REV Designer||Frank Gasparro|
|Quality:||Business Strike, Uncirculated, Proof|