Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Zinc penny


I have a 1980 penny that is shiny silver in color. No copper cladding and does not stick to magnets. Is it rare?


One of the keys to establishing what type of cent you have is to look at the specifics. A normal copper cent from 1962 to 1982 is 19.05 mm in diameter, 1.55 mm in thickness, and weighs 3.11 grams. It is made of brass (95% copper, 5% zinc). In 1982, the composition was changed, and both the prior metal and the present one, 97.5% zinc core, 2.5% copper plating, were put into circulation for that year.  For more information on the cent, see:

You could have a coin struck on a blank intended for another denomination or country. I cannot say without knowing your coin specifics. The only U.S. coin blank to fit in a cent die would be a dime. Dime blanks in 1980 were made of 91.7% Copper 8.3% Nickel, are 17.91 mm in diameter, 1.35 mm in thickness, and weigh 2.3 grams. This blank would be a sandwiched coin, and you should see a center of copper, so I'm guessing it is not a dime blank.

I found an article on "Foreign Coins Manufactured at the U.S. Mint". The Mint made coins for other countries into the early 1980's. You may want to review it for a possible match with your coin. See:

Here are two sites to check error values:

Your coin could also have been altered by someone outside the mint, or a counterfeit. Altered or counterfeit coins would have no added numismatic value.

Sometimes people try and fool you into thinking you have a real error coin. Here are some examples of coins either being altered or damaged.
See link:
See link:

You may want to check US coins and currency listings under errors on eBay from time to time to see if your coin is listed what this type of item may bring.

If you live close to a local shop, they should offer an opinion as to the value at no charge. Always try and get at least two opinions and try and deal with PNG dealers if possible. If you should decide to sell your items to a dealer, remember they will offer about 50% to 60% of the retail value. Here's a link to find one in your area:

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Ronald Fern


I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.


Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.


Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

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