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Further ruining my eyesight looking at 1982 pennies............

DBSTrader2DBSTrader2 Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭✭

I'm going thru my misc coins accumulated over the years to see what I might want to keep and which I should try to sell/trade or just cash it the bank.

I've come across several rolls of mixed 1982 pennies which I must have started putting aside years (decades) ago. It doesn't look like I separated any of them into "small" or "large" date, or zinc vs copper. I honestly can't tell the difference between them for small/large, and, short of dropping each one to hear how each sounds (I don't have a scale), whether they are zinc or copper. And it's killing my eyes......

My notes say still need 1 large-date 82-D zinc & 2 small-date 82-D zincs to fill various folders, although I can't be sure all the other varieties in all folders are correct. I only know 1 set is right because I got them a"variety set" originally.

Any hacks to best identify small vs large & copper vs zinc for the discerningly-challenged?

Or is it just time to cash them all in at the bank? :(


  • pmacpmac Posts: 3,189 ✭✭✭

    I devised a simple method to tell zinc from copper that I use for separating my '82s . A simple see-saw made of a tongue depressor. Obviously you have a copper cent and a zinc cent for comparison.

  • DBSTrader2DBSTrader2 Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭✭

    Worth a shot.............. thx!

  • element159element159 Posts: 493 ✭✭✭

    A scale is the way to go. pmac described a very inexpensive one, but I find a scale accurate to 0.05 g to be quite handy. I can often tell the Cu from Zn by the color of the coin, but this is inexact and does not always work.

  • OnastoneOnastone Posts: 3,777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is the difference in weight? I recently got a scale that is very sensitive to small increments and I too have a few rolls of 82's~

  • element159element159 Posts: 493 ✭✭✭

    Bronze/copper are 3.11 g, Zinc are 2.5 g. So a precision of 0.1 g is enough to easily tell the two apart.

  • OnastoneOnastone Posts: 3,777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I always thought they felt lighter. Opening a roll of new pennies into your hands is a lot lighter than old ones, I thought it was just the circulated dirt n grime .

  • OuthaulOuthaul Posts: 7,440 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    A scale is a cheap investment and will serve you well in numismatics. Cheers, RickO

    As always, sage advice from Rick. I would think you would be hard pressed to find ANY numismatist who DIDN'T own a scale. I own several.



  • TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Aside from weight already mentioned , it should be noted that the large date and small date are easily distinguishable looking at the #2 in date.

  • DBSTrader2DBSTrader2 Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭✭

    I tried looking at the examples of the '2' in each date, but still have a hard time both comparing the 2 in the picture and applying the comparison to each individual coin. Partly due to my eyesight issues.......

    I think for starters, an improvised "seesaw" scale to separate the copper from zinc will be my first step, and then I'll try whittle-down what I have to differentiate from there (since I only supposedly need 2 varieties to fill holes).


  • ms70ms70 Posts: 13,946 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 26, 2017 11:38AM

    This will be DBSTrader2 around midnight tonight.....

    Great transactions with oih82w8, JasonGaming, Moose1913.

  • DBSTrader2DBSTrader2 Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭✭

    pretty close!! ;)

  • DBSTrader2DBSTrader2 Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 27, 2017 8:09AM

    TeamDennis: Thanks for the link above! I gerry-rigged a pencil, staple, & one of my wife's emery boards into a scale, and have now at least separated out my cents into copper & zinc, P&D. Now comes the harder challenge of determining small vs large within each of those 4 categories........ but I think I have it now.....

    Got everything separated-out finally! Interesting breakdown.......... only 25 out of 245 (10%) of the cents were ZINC (18 P-lg, 4 P-sm, 1 D-lg, & 2 D-sm). The other 90% were COPPER (190 P-lg, 10 P-sm, & 20 D-lg). Is that a normal ratio of Zinc-to-Copper? Mine are heavily weighted towards P, since I live just outside of Philly.

    I've gone thru 2 out of our 4 sets, and not only already filled their last missing hole (D Zinc small), but also identified & corrected 4 coins that had been mis-identified & in the wrong spots (which is odd, because 1 full set was initially obtained from an outside source with 1 of each type supposedly correctly identified.)

    We just have to go thru the boys' sets next to confirm all are in the right places (and possibly upgrade). Hopefully they are, and we can confirm that we now only need just 2 of the 82-D Large date ZINC variety to complete all our sets.

    So the remaining identified Zincolns can go to the bank. And since I'm not hoarding any pre-82 copper memorial cents, other than keeping a few of the nicer specimens of each type, I'm also probably going to cash-in the approx. 200 coppers as well & claim a small "victory" in my attempt to clean up my odds & ends...................

    Thx for everyone's help!

  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 1,039 ✭✭

    I like to save the old pennies and cardboard holders for when grandchildren come to visit. It gives them something to do and hopefully spikes interest in collecting. I put them 'to work'. :)

  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 1,039 ✭✭

    Also, get you one of those headpieces with magnifier (and light) - or even handheld loupe. After my cataract surgery, I can see better overall, but still need the tools to assist in dates, mintmarks, etc.

  • DBSTrader2DBSTrader2 Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭✭

    I definitely have a small hand-held loupe already, which I put to good use, and my son got me one of those "pose-able" free-standing magnifiers, but my deskspace is such I really't keep that in 1 place, so I just end up using the loupe..... Going back-and forth with anything worn on my head between desktop, PC screen, & elsewhere would be a problem for me. But good suggestions. Thx!

  • element159element159 Posts: 493 ✭✭✭

    I find that most 1982 cents I see in change are Cu now. I suspect that the Zn ones have tended to corrode a lot more, and then get withdrawn from circulation, and so the population of 1982 cents steadily becomes higher percentage in copper.


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