In 1982, the U.S. Mint finally resumed its commemorative coin program, which had been discontinued in 1954. The first of these modern commemoratives was the Washington Semiquincentennial, or 250th anniversary, celebrating the nation’s first president’s birth in 1732. This was the first commemorative issued since the Booker T. Washington/George Washington Carver dual commemorative in 1954. Many numismatists and numismatic historians hold this to be an important turning point in the history of U.S. coinage.
This date also corresponds to an important change in the alloy used for the Lincoln penny. In 1982, the original copper base of the coin was replaced by a predominantly zinc composition, with only a small balance of copper. The fine metal content of these coins is actually worth more intrinsically than their one-cent face value (which is part of the reason why the composition of pennies was changed). although it is currently against the law to melt down these pre-1982 pennies for profit, many collectors and investors have been holding on to them in the event that the laws are amended.
Pre-1982 U.S. Coins
Coins included in this category were minted before the important 1982 inflection point, and include a diverse array of numismatic items. Classic U.S. commemorative coins, produced by the Mint between 1892-1954, will fall under this umbrella, as well as other numismatic coins issued by the U.S. prior to 1982. You may find key date pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, or half dollars, or special issues such as the silver "War Nickels" or steel "War Pennies" minted during the Second World War. These coins can add some variety to any U.S. coin collection.
In addition, many of the coins found in this category have been certified, meaning they have been professionally graded by a third-party that not only authenticates the coins, but assigns a grade to the coin based on its condition. Graded coins come in slabs, or hard plastic holders, that include a label identifying the individual coin. The label also lists the qualitative and quantitative grade for the coin--for example, Mint State (MS) and a number between 60 and 70. The slab protects the coin from the wear and tear of the external environment while still allowing you to view both sides. Occasionally, we will come across interesting mint error coins from this era that are attractive to collectors as well. check out all of the pre-1982 numismatics for sale here at gainesville coins!