» 1972 Penny Error List & Value

1972 Penny Error List & Value

The value of the 1972 penny is low, as these coins were minted in massive quantities with a face value of a cent. Even the coins in mint condition sell for $0.33 to $0.8, depending on the mint they were produced at.

However, several rare errors and 1972-proof pennies can sell for a lot more. Here’s what you need to know about the 1972 penny value and everything related.

1972 Penny Value Chart

Condition Mint State 65 Proof 65
1972 no mint mark Penny $0.33 $1.2
1972 D penny $0.33 $1.25
1972 S penny $0.85 $1.13

1972 Penny No Mint Mark Value

1972 Penny No Mint Mark Value
Image Credit: usacoinbook

It’s a one-cent coin with smooth edges and contains 95% copper and 5% zinc. The coin weighs 3.11 grams and is 1.52 mm thick. The diameter of the penny is 19 mm. Even in the worst condition, Lincoln pennies have a melt value based on copper’s current market price. However, it’s never advised to melt pennies as it’s illegal. The coin has a total mintage of  5,978,526,504 and is categorized as the Lincoln penny. The coin has two designers, Victor David Brenner for the obverse side and Lyndal Bass for the reverse side.

The Philadelphia Mint produced more than 2.9 billion coins in 1972. These pennies didn’t have a mint mark on them and were the most minted variety of 1972. These one-cent coins can still sell for twenty to forty cents if the condition is extremely fine. Likewise, higher grades like MS-65 can sell for over $1.

Despite the low prices, higher-graded coins are still worth more than a few dollars. In August 2013, an MS-67 1972 penny was sold at an auction for $3290. Similarly, a brown-red colored penny with an MS-63 grading was sold for $374. Depending on the coin’s grade and its rarity, the value increases.

The obverse side carries a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, which was initially struck on the 1909 penny and is still used today. The portrait faces the left and has detailed hair, a wrinkled coat, and a bow tie. At the back of the portrait’s neck, you’ll see the legend Liberty struck in block letters, whereas the year 1972 is on the lower right side of the coin.

The mint mark is struck directly below the year. Above Lincoln’s head, you’ll see the legend In God We Trust written along the top coin rim. On pieces in mint condition, the facial features of the famous President can also be appreciated.

The reverse side depicts the Lincoln Memorial building, which is centrally positioned. Above the building, at the coin’s top rim, you have the legend United States of America struck, and directly below it, the phrase E Pluribus Unum is written in two rows. Likewise, the coin’s value, One Cent, is written along the curve at the lower rim.

The Lincoln pennies started production in 1909 and are still being minted. The Lincoln penny series started when the authorities during the early 1900s decided to change the outlook of the coins already in circulation, as a law at the time, called the National Currency Act, required the circulating currency to be redesigned after 25 years.

In 1905, the treasury authorities hired a famous sculptor at the time called Augustus Saint-Gaudens to provide redesigns of four gold coins and a cent. Unfortunately, the artist suffered from a terminal illness and soon died before finishing the redesigns.

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Out of all the designs Augustus submitted, designs for two gold coins were accepted. To redesign the Lincoln cent, the authorities hired Victor David Brenner. It was mentioned to the artist to commemorate Abraham Lincoln with a portrait on one of the coin faces. After several corrections and revisions, Brenner’s design was selected and produced in 1909.

The coin got the name of a wheat penny, as one of the coin’s sides depicted two wheat ears. The reverse design changed from wheat ears to the Lincoln Memorial building in 1958. The artist behind this illustration was Frank Gasparro. The design was minted until 2008. The first design for the obverse and reverse side were made by Brenner and used from 1909 to 1958.

President Eisenhower changed the wheat ear symbolism the following year and placed another illustration to commemorate the late President. Frank Gasparro was appointed as the designer, and he came up with a simplified depiction of the Lincoln Memorial Building.

The new design was released on the 150th birthday of the President, dated  February 12, 1959. Many mint authorities and numismatic historians believed the design to be a failed work of art and a wrong depiction of the Lincoln Building.

1972 S Penny Value

1972 S Penny Value
Image Credit: pcgs

The San Francisco mint produced the fewest coins out of all the mints. The coins minted in San Francisco have an S mint mark. 376,939,108 coins were minted in San Francisco and had a higher value than Denver and Philadelphia mints. The mint state coins can sell for 65 to 80 cents, whereas MS-65 graded coins are worth more than a few dollars. The most expensive 1972 S penny was sold at a Heritage auction in 2007 for $1955.

1972 S Proof Penny Value

1972 S Proof Penny Value

The San Francisco Mint also produced 3260996 proof pennies for collectors and memorabilia. While the price of a PR-65 condition coin sells for a few dollars, exceptional grades like a 1972 S PR EF 45 were sold at the 1997 heritage auction for $11500. Most proof coins are minted for collectors and to add to the coin collection sets sold by the treasury. These proof coins are minted using specialized dies, resulting in a mirror finish and a crisp outline. The first 50 to 100 coins are the most valuable and have a cameo effect which is sold for top dollar.

1972 D Penny Value

1972 D Penny Value

The Denver Mint also produced 2.6 billion pennies in 1972. Billions of coins produced in the Denver and Philadelphia mint is one of the reasons this coin has gained little value as it gets older. The average price of this penny is around 20 to 40 cents, and a dollar for mint condition pieces.

Sell Your Coins

The most expensive 1972 penny was sold in 2012, valued at $4250. These pennies come in brown, red-brown, and red tones, which are valued differently. Likewise, a brown penny was sold in 2020 for $380, whereas another red-brown penny fetched $207 in 2018.

1972 Penny Grading

Several grading systems can be used to grade coins, making it easier to put a value on them. The video shared here has 1972 penny grading information. Still, you’ll need to gather more information on coin grading to understand better, as most videos discuss its value. However, if you have a coin and want to know its real value, contacting a coin grading service is the best option.

Rare 1972 Penny Errors

1972 Penny Double Die Obverse Error

1972 Penny Double Die Obverse

This error is the most common in 1972 pennies. According to estimates, this error was struck on at least 250,000 coins. The double die error can itself be categorized into ten different error variations. While there are varying DDO errors on the 1972 penny, the errors with evident doubling sell for a high price.

This doubling can be seen in the word Liberty, the motto, In God We Trust, and the year. The DDO error coins accidentally minted in the Philadelphia mint are valued higher and can sell for a hundred dollars or more.

Likewise, the higher the grade, the more valuable the coin will have. An MS-65 graded no-mint mark 1972 penny with a DDO error starts for $600 and can sell for more. Similarly, the coins with the whole obverse side having prominent doubling are worth $800 and upwards.

As the penny produced had three colors, red-brown, red, and brown, the DDO errors on each shade have a different value. Brown 1972 pennies with DDO error sell between $165 to $580. The most expensive brown penny with this error was sold in 2008 for $2128.

The red-brown 1972 pennies sell starting from $250 to $2200. An MS-67 grade 1972 DDO error coin was sold recently for $2540.

The red-tone 1972 pennies are the most expensive, starting from $290 to $2800. The most expensive red 1972 penny with an evident DDO error was sold in 2019 for $14400.

Exploring the History and Modern Evolution of US Coins
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1972 Penny Off-Center Error

1972 Penny Off-Center Error
Image Credit: ebay

The off-center error is rare but not valuable like the DDO error. Off-center errors in the 1972 penny are at most 10% and sell for a few dollars.

1972 Penny With Close Initials Error

The 1972 penny has the initials AM, which is very close to this error. A magnifying glass is required if you want to find out about this error.

1972 Penny Struck Through Grease Error

1972 Penny Struck Through Grease Error

In this particular error, the penny is struck imperfectly, resulting in omitted words or letters. This error results from dirt, debris, or a lubricant clogging the die.

Unofficial 1972 Penny Variety Error

Although it’s not an error, several entrepreneurs struck President Kennedy’s portrait on a coin resembling the 1972 penny. They crafted a double-head penny where Lincoln and Kennedy were facing each other.

Even though the coins were minted in limited quantities and are in uncirculated condition, these coins are not official currency and only sell for a few cents.

1972 Penny FAQs

Which 1972 Lincoln pennies, according to PCGS, were sold for a lot of money?

  • 1972 S PR EF was sold at Heritage Auction in 1997 for $11500.
  • Red-tone MS 67+ Lincoln penny fetched $14000 at an auction in 2019.
  • A 1972 no-mint mark MS 67+ was sold in 2013 for $3290.
  • One 1972 penny graded MS 66 with a DDO error was sold for $1150.
  • An uncirculated 1972 penny with a brown tone was sold at an online marketplace for $380.
  • One 1972 MS 60 brown-tone penny was valued at $104 at the 2007 Heritage auction.

Which pennies are the rarest?

Here’s a list of the rare pennies. Every coin listed here is valued at thousands of dollars.

Sell Your Coins

What is the most common error on the 1972 penny?

The double die error is the most common where most design elements are struck twice, creating two distinct outlines. The more evident the error is, the higher the coin’s value will be. This double die error is present in more than 10 variations, each having a different pattern.

How can I know whether the penny has a DDO error?

The first thing you should look for is doubling words and letters. The phrase In God We Trust and Liberty written on the coin’s left side can be seen with a double outline. The portrait also has a visible double outline in coins with evident DDO errors.

Are 1972 pennies rare?

Almost six billion pennies were minted in 1972 with a face value of one cent. Depending on the condition, these coins sell for an average of between a few cents to a few dollars. However, coins with unique errors can sell for a lot more.

What’s the composition of the 1972 penny?

The penny comprises 95% copper and 5% zinc with smooth edges. The change in copper’s tone over time is the result of oxidation. The brown color of the penny will eventually change its tone to brown-red when exposed to the environment. However, sleeved coins are less affected by the environment.

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