Jon S. writes: Hi Doc, My six year old son Kyle, just started collecting U.S. pennies. My question is: What is the easy way to tell the differencebetween the 1982 variations… large date, small date, copper zinc? We have found 7 or 8 1982 pennies and they all look alike to us. Any chance of getting a photo telling us what to look for? Thanks, Jon
The 1982 copper plated zinc cents exhibit many bubbles over the surface. You can easily see these bubbles with a 4 or 5 power slide glass. This flaw is caused by the copper plating not adhering properly to the surface of the zinc.
If you have access to a gram scale, copper cents will weigh 3.11 grams and the copper plated zinc cents will weigh 2.5 grams. Proofs were struck in the old copper alloy.
The large date cents have a curled end to the number 2, the small date 2 is almost straight. Also see: Some 1982 cent facts