Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Strange colored pennies



I have 2 pennies that odd colors from a normal penny. One is a 1982 and the other is a 1992. I have attached a picture with a normal 1992 penny to show the color differences. Any help is appreciated.  



From your photo, these appear to be real.

The "yellowish" cent is a improperly mixed planchet where more of the brass was present in the metal content than the requirement, turning these blanks "golden" in color. They can be found on eBay for about $10 to $20. See:

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. These copper-plated coins, which are still being produced today, contain 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper, and are minted on blanks produced for the Mint by an outside manufacturer. 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, but this modification saved the Government an estimated $25 million in metal costs every year. (Both types were produced that year) The zinc core can be readily seen if the copper plating is abraded or otherwise scraped off.

The "silver" cent is likely one that is an incomplete planchet where the copper plating was missed. The blank was delivered from the outside source and struck. These usually sell for $25 to $75, depending on date, strike and condition. The weight is a key. It could be plated, and would weigh a little more than a normal cent struck with the copper plating during this time frame. This error has also been faked by removing the plating after the coin was struck. Altered coins have no added numismatic value.

For more information on the Lincoln Cent, see:

One error/variety dealer I know of sells brass plated cents. See:

You may want to check the US coin category under errors on eBay from time to time to see if your coins are listed what they bring.

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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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