How Much Is a 1942 Penny Worth?

How Much Is a 1942 Penny Worth?

Apr 16th 2024

1942 Wheat penny value. 1942 Penny Worth.

Ever wondered how much a penny in your pocket change is worth? The value of a 1942 penny depends on its condition, mintmark, and rarity. A circulated wheat penny can be worth 10 to 25 cents, while an uncirculated coin can be around $3 to $3,000 USD.

Keep reading to learn more about the 1942 Lincoln wheat cent and what this amazing old coin might be worth.

History of 1942 Lincoln Wheat Pennies

The 1942  Lincoln wheat penny, also known as the Lincoln Cent, was minted during a period of significant change in the United States. The country was in World War II, and the copper penny was redesigned to help conserve copper needed for the war effort.

What Does the 1942 Penny Coin Look Like?

Designed by Victor D. Brenner, the 1942 Lincoln penny has a design that is very similar to other Lincoln pennies minted before and after that year. The obverse, or front, of the coin features a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, facing to the right, with the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” above his head and the words “LIBERTY” and the year “1942” below his portrait.

The coin's reverse, or back, features two wheat stalks on either side of the words “ONE CENT” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around the circumference.

Before 1942, Lincoln pennies were made with 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. However, in 1942, the United States Mint (US Mint) changed the penny's composition to conserve copper. The new design was 95% copper and 5% zinc, with no tin. The 1942 Lincoln penny was lighter and slightly different in color than previous years.

1942 Penny Values: Numismatic Values

The value of the Lincoln penny, the U.S. coin, including the 1942 Lincoln D wheat penny, 1942 Lincoln S wheat penny, and a 1942 Lincoln penny with no mint mark, can vary depending on a few factors, such as the coin’s condition, rarity, and demand from collectors. For an accurate appraisal of the condition/mint state, reach out to a professional coin grading service (like the PCGS) for more information.

1942 Lincoln D Wheat Penny

The Denver Mint produced 206,698,000 wheat pennies in 1942. A 1942 Lincoln D wheat penny in circulated average condition can be worth five cents to $1, while coinage in uncirculated condition can be worth up to $15 or more.

1942 Lincoln S Wheat Penny

Minted at the San Francisco Mint, a 1942 Lincoln S wheat penny is the most valuable coin of the three Lincoln pennies. When coined, fewer Lincoln S wheat pennies were produced, making them rare and higher in value. In circulated average conditions, it is worth between 20 cents to $3, while coins in uncirculated conditions can be worth upwards of $2,000 or more, depending on the situation.

No Mint Mark Value

Coins minted at the Philadelphia Mint contain no mint mark because it was the only mint. Due to its high mintage, a 1942 Lincoln penny with no mint mark, in circulated, good condition, is generally worth between three cents to $1, while coins in uncirculated condition can be worth up to $145 or more.

Rare 1942 Penny Errors: What They’re Worth

The 1942 Lincoln penny has a few notable mint errors that can significantly increase its face value for collectors.

Wondering which error cons are worth money? Here are some essential facts and value guides for the  1942 penny errors:

Double Die Error

The double die error results from a mistake during the die creation process where the design on the die is duplicated, creating a slightly distorted image containing a shadowing or doubling effect.

The 1942 double die error is rare and highly sought after by collectors. Depending on the coin's condition, a 1942 double-die penny in mint condition can be worth anywhere from $500 to over $1,000.

Struck on a Thick Planchet

This error occurs when a coin is struck on a planchet that is thicker than usual, which results in a coin that is slightly larger in diameter and weight than other coins of the same year. A 1942 penny struck on a thick planchet is a rare error and can be worth anywhere from $100 to $1,600 or more, depending on the coin's condition.

Mirror Brockage Obverse 40% Off-Centre

A mirror brokerage error occurs when a coin is struck with an already-struck coin still in the press, creating an indentation on one side of the coin and a raised image on the other. A 1942 penny with a mirror brokerage obverse that is 40% off-center is a rare error and can be worth $2,500 or more.

Obverse Struck Thru Error

A “struck through” error on a coin occurs when a foreign object, such as a piece of debris or another currency, becomes lodged in the die used to strike the coin. This foreign object then becomes impressed onto the surface of the struck coin, leaving a raised or indented area.

In the case of the 1942 wheat pennyobverse struck through error, the foreign object would have been present on the obverse die used to strike the coin. A 1942 wheat penny with this specific error can be worth up to $485, depending on its condition.

Struck on a Brass Planchet

A 1942 wheat penny struck on a brass planchet is a rare and valuable error coin. This error occurred when a brass planchet intended to produce World War II ammunition was accidentally mixed with the copper planchets usually used to strike pennies.

The brass planchets were not supposed to be used to create pennies, but a few somehow made it into the production process and were struck by the coin dies. The value of a 1942 wheat penny hit on a brass planchet is highly sought after by numismatists and coin collectors alike.

This penny can be worth anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 at auctions, depending on the specific condition and rarity of the coin.

Find the Most Valuable Pennies From the Coin Collecting Experts

Whether you are a numismatist, coin collector, or just curious about the value of your one-cent coins, it is always wise to seek out the evaluation of a coin by a professional or a coin dealer to determine its condition and authenticity before making any decisions about buying, selling, or trading.

For more information on valuable pennies or rare coins in general, we at Bullion Shark are the coin-collecting experts that can give you the answers you need.


How much is a 1942 penny worth?

The value of a 1942 Lincoln Wheat Penny typically ranges from 15 cents for a coin in good condition to over $4 for coins in uncirculated (MS-60) condition. Exceptionally high-grade examples (MS-67 or higher) might fetch up to $30 or more.

Are there any rare versions of the 1942 penny?

While the 1942 penny itself is not particularly rare, certain varieties, like the 1942 proof penny or coins with notable errors (e.g., double die), are more valuable.

What is the value of a 1942 D penny?

A 1942 D Lincoln Wheat Penny in good condition is worth about 15 cents, similar to the Philadelphia mint coin, but in uncirculated condition, it can fetch around $4 to $6. Like the standard 1942, high-grade examples are more valuable.

How much is a 1942 S penny worth?

The 1942 S penny values are roughly the same as the 1942 and 1942-D in lower grades, starting at about 15 cents. In uncirculated conditions, its value can range from $4 to $10, depending on the quality.

Can a 1942 penny be made of steel?

No, 1942 pennies were not made of steel. The steel pennies were only made in 1943. Any 1942 pennies found to be magnetic (like steel) would be considered error coins or possibly counterfeit.

What increases the value of a 1942 penny?

Factors that increase the value include the coin’s condition (the higher the grade, the more it’s worth), lower mintages, and significant errors. Proof coins and those with red original luster are also highly prized.

What is the value of a 1942 proof penny?

A 1942 proof penny is quite valuable due to its lower mintage as a proof coin. Depending on its condition, it can range from about $65 in lower proof grades to over $200 in higher grades.

How do I know if my 1942 penny is valuable?

Examine the coin’s condition, look for any mint marks ('D' for Denver, 'S' for San Francisco, and none for Philadelphia), and check for unusual features such as errors. Consulting a professional coin grader or appraiser can also help determine its value.

Where can I sell my 1942 penny?

You can sell your 1942 penny at coin shops, online platforms like eBay, at coin shows, or through an auction house. For valuable or rare versions, consider professional auction services that can attract collectors willing to pay a premium.

Is it worth getting a 1942 penny graded?

If your 1942 penny appears to be in very good condition or has unique features, it might be worth getting it graded by a professional service like PCGS or NGC. This can help accurately assess its value and make it easier to sell at a higher price.


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