1972 Penny Value Guide (“P”, “D”, “S” & Error Coins)

Jenson Cambell

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Penny

The 1972 Penny is no stranger to coin enthusiasts. Now, these coins are over 50 years old, so you may wonder, “Are they worth it after all these years? Have they increased in value?”

This article will explore the 1972 Penny Value guide, its background, varieties, and notable errors to look out for to equip you to make a well-informed decision.

But first, here’s a summary of the 1972 Penny value, which we grabbed from the NGC:

1972 Penny Value Chart
Mint Location MS BN MS RB MS RD
Philadelphia $0.05 – $7.50 $1.50 – $15.00 $12.50 – $275
Denver $0.05 – $7.50 $5.00 – $15.00 $10 – $400
San Francisco $0.05 – $7.50 $5.00 – $15.00 $15 – $400

Truthfully, most 1972 pennies in circulation are not scarce and won’t cost more at face value. The valuable ones are often the error coins, which we will look at further in the article.

1972 Penny: Historical Background

1972 Penny Historical Background

he Lincoln pennies were first introduced in 1909 to celebrate the 100th birth Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, replacing the Indian head.

Victor David Brenner created this design, showing Abraham Lincoln on the obverse side and the wheat stalk on the reverse. Later, Frank Gasparro changed the reverse side to showcase the Lincoln Memorial. The obverse side remained the same.

As the year implies, this penny was first minted in 1972 with a face value of one cent, like most pennies. However, it may be more valuable to coin enthusiasts or collectors if it’s still in mint condition.

Aside from minted coins, 1972 pennies can increase their value if they come in certain rare varieties or have peculiar minting errors. For instance, the Double Die Reverse (DDR) coin or the Double Die Obverse (DDO) coin errors are quite rare, hence more valuable, costing as much as $5600 for higher grades, based on NGC estimates.

Another factor that can increase the 1972 penny’s value is the copper content. Before 1982, coins had about 95% copper and 5% zinc. But then it changed to 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper because copper prices became astronomical, so substituting it for zinc was more feasible to reduce production costs.

If you have the 1972 penny, don’t think of melting the coins to get the copper. It’s illegal.

1972 Penny: Physical Features

For non-experts, the 1972 pennies may look the same, but they are not. So far, we have three color variations: Brown (BN), Red-Brown(RB), and Red (RD).

What are their physical features? Here’s a summary:

Physical Features Notes
Color Red

Brown
Red-Brown

Metallic Composition 95% Copper

5% Zinc

Weight 3.11g
Diameter 19.05 mm
Edge Plain

The Obverse Side

1972 Penny obverse feature

This side hasn’t changed since the Lincoln penny era began, much to the credit of Victor D. Brenner, based on a picture taken by Mathew Brady.

Victor created the obverse side with the following details:

  • Profile Picture: President Abraham Lincoln(Right-facing)
  • Motto: “IN GOD WE TRUST” (above)
  • Inscription: “LIBERTY” (Left-side)
  • Date: “1972” (Bottom right)
  • The mint mark: None, S, or D (Underneath the year)

The Reverse Side

1972 Penny reverse feature

The latest reverse side design is credited to Frank Gasparro, the 10th Chief Engraver of the US Mint. It showcases the Lincoln Memorial monument, located in Washington, DC.

This structure resembles the ancient Greek temple with twelve pillars, which doesn’t necessarily reflect the American culture at the time. Then, you will see the statue of Abraham Lincoln safely squeezed between the two central pillars.

Here’s a summary of its details:

  • The Lincoln Memorial structure
  • Inscription: “The United States of America”(above)
  • Lettering: “E.PLURIBUS.UNUM”(Meaning: Out of Many, One)
  • Coin Face-value: “ONE CENT” (bottom)

1972 Penny Value Guide: Penny Varieties and Valuation

The three major mints produced the 1972 penny: Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and that’s how we got the three prominent varieties.

Here is a detailed account for each of them:

1972-P Penny Value (No-Mint Mark)

1972 P Penny value
1972 1C, RD (Regular Strike) Lincoln Cent
  • US Mint: Philadelphia
  • Mintage: 2,933,255,000
  • Mint mark: None

The Philadelphia Mint produced the highest mintage any facility had produced that year.

1972 pennies generally reserve one cent value per coin, especially in circulation. Most of these coins are heavily circulated.

The brown variety is typically more favored than the red and red-brown varieties, valuing around one cent or less. You’d scarcely see the red and red-brown varieties in circulation. The NGC mostly graded high-grade coins in minted conditions.

In mint condition, the brown variety is the least valuable because it’s the least common. According to the NGC, this variety ranges between $0.05 to $7.50. The NGC has graded thousands of these coins, so they don’t cost much.

The red-brown variety is more valuable than the brown, costing between $1.50 to $15.00 for higher grades. The red variety is the most valuable, with the NGC valuing the MS67 at around $275. The PCGS values the MS67+ for over $3500.

Let’s take a look at the value of these coins side by side, according to the NGC:

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4) $0.05
Very Good (VG8) $0.05
Fine (F12) $0.05
Very Fine (VF20) $0.05
Extremely Fine (XF40) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU50) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU53) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU58) $0.05
Uncirculated (MS60) $0.10
Uncirculated (MS 63) $0.75 $1.50 $2.50
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $2.50 $5.00 $10.00
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $5.00 $15.00 $25.00
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $7.50 $275

Even though the prices might be uninspiring, they have actually been auctioned at good prices in the past. Here are some auction sales prices:

Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firms
Red MS65 $336 Heritage Auctions
Red MS67 $384 Heritage Auctions
Red MS67 $840 Heritage Auctions
Red MS64 $230 David Lawrence RC

1972-D Penny Value

1972-D Penny Value
1972-D 1C, RD (Regular Strike) Lincoln Cent
  • US Mint: Denver
  • Mintage: 2,665,071,400
  • Mint mark: D

The Denver Mint was also busy that year, second only to the Philadelphia Mint. Like the no-mint mark pennies, their value is not much. It often doesn’t surpass one cent when in circulation.

Also, like the no-mint mark pennies in the minted state, the brown variety is the most circulated and the least valuable. The NGC grades such pennies between $0.05 and $7.50. The red-brown variety is also more valuable than the brown, but only the higher grades. The NGC values the MS66 around $15.00.

The red variety is the most valuable and least circulated, with the MS67 valued at $400.

Let’s take a look at these coins side-by-side, with values we grabbed from the NGC:

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4) $0.05
Very Good (VG8) $0.05
Fine (F12) $0.05
Very Fine (VF20) $0.05
Extremely Fine (XF40) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU50) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU53) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU58) $0.05
Uncirculated (MS60) $0.10
Uncirculated (MS 63) $0.75
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $2.50 $7.50 $15.00
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $5.00 $15.00 $20.00
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $7.50 $400

You may be unimpressed with these values as they’re relatively low, but the 1972-D penny have been auctioned at incredible prices:

Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firms
Red MS67 $528 Heritage Auctions
Red MS67+ $2,040 Heritage Auctions
Red MS67 $2,820 Heritage Auctions
Red MS67 $3,290 Heritage Auctions

1972-S Penny Value

1972-S Penny Value
1972-S 1C, RD (Regular Strike) Lincoln Cent
  • US Mint: San Francisco
  • Mintage: 376,939,108
  • Mint mark: S

Even though the San Francisco mint had the lowest mintage that year, the coins they produced still have the same value as the other penny types.

While the circulated pennies are still worth one cent or less, the mint versions might be of higher value. Like the others, the brown variety is the most popular and least valuable, ranging between $0.05 to $7.50.

The red-brown variety is more valuable than the brown one, ranging between $5.00 to $15.00 for higher grades. The red variety is the scarcest and the most valuable, ranging between $15 to $400, based on NGC estimates.

Here’s a comprehensive summary of their values:

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4) $0.05
Very Good (VG8) $0.05
Fine (F12) $0.05
Very Fine (VF20) $0.05
Extremely Fine (XF40) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU50) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU53) $0.05
About Uncirculated (AU58) $0.05
Uncirculated (MS60) $0.10
Uncirculated (MS 63) $0.75
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $2.50 $7.50 $20.00
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $5.00 $15.00 $35.00
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $7.50 $400

Despite its seemingly low value, Heritage Auctions sold the 1972-S MS67 penny at a whooping price of $1,410.

1972 S-Proof Penny

1972 S-Proof Penny value
1972-S 1C, RD (Proof) Lincoln Cent

Some people often confuse the S-Penny with the S-Proof Penny because there aren’t many differences. But you shouldn’t.

Unlike what many people believe, proof refers to the coin’s specific manufacturing process to produce coins with exceptionally sharp detail and a mirrored background. It also has nothing to do with the grading.

The term ‘proof’ simply refers to the coin’s finish and the way it’s produced. The US Mint produces such coins for numismatists and marks them NIFC (Not Intended for Circulation).

In minted conditions, proof coins can actually cost a lot. Based on NGC estimates, the red variety is the most valuable, with the MS69 valued at over $550.

1972 Doubled-Die Penny

1972 Doubled-Die Penny value
1972 1C Doubled Die Obverse, RD (Regular Strike) Lincoln Cent

This penny is one of the rarest you can find. Since the US mint doesn’t produce them intentionally, they are quite scarce, thus making them more valuable. So you might want to search your coin car for a 1972 doubled-die penny and confirm its value.

1972 Doubled-Die Penny

Like their counterparts, the brown variety is more common, so it’s not as valuable as the red-brown and red ones. You can confirm their values from this table:

Coin Condition Estimated Value
Brown (BN) Red-Brown (RB) Red (RD)
Good (G4)
Very Good (VG8)
Fine (F12)
Very Fine (VF20)
Extremely Fine (XF40) $175
About Uncirculated (AU50) $200
About Uncirculated (AU53) $230
About Uncirculated (AU58) $260
Uncirculated (MS60) $275
Uncirculated (MS 63) $360 $350 $415
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS65) $475 $500 $635
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS66) $650 $785 $1,000
Brilliant Uncirculated (MS67) $2,100 $5,600

As you already know, these values are merely estimates. The price can increase or decrease beyond these values. Below are some notable auction sales that will inspire you:

Variety Grade Sales Price Auction Firms
Brown MS64 $810 Heritage Auctions
Red MS66+ $1,380 Heritage Auctions
Red MS66 $1,500 Heritage Auctions
Red MS66+ $1,680 Heritage Auctions

1972 Penny: Valuable Error Pennies

Nothing in life is perfect, especially the production of US pennies. It’s almost impossible for any mint facility to perfectly produce pennies without some form of error or defects. Many coins, especially from the Philadelphia and Denver mints, were struck in very poor conditions that year.

Here are common 1972 penny valuable errors:

1972-D Lincoln Penny Double Struck Rim and Close ‘L’ Coin: Selling For $500.00

1972-D Lincoln Penny Double Struck Rim and Close ‘L’ Coin value
As I mentioned, the Denver mint produced many coins in poor conditions, so this error is unsurprising. If you look closely, the overlapping images are on the rim of the coin.
This unassuming mistake is extremely valuable to coin enthusiasts.

1972 Lincoln Memorial Cent PCGS MS 63 RB Doubled Die Obverse: Selling for $150.00

972 Lincoln Memorial Cent PCGS MS 63 RB Doubled Die Obverse value

This coin is valuable for two reasons. First of all, aside from having the DDO error, this red-brown variety is also quite uncommon. Looking closely, you can see the slightly misaligned design. The PCGS graded this coin MS 63, and it looks the part because it’s so pristine.

1972 PCGS MS64RD Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Memorial Penny: Selling for $650.00

1972 PCGS MS64RD Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Memorial Penny value

Here’s another PCGS-graded coin with DDO error. Aside from this being a red variety, which is uncommon, the DDO error shoots up its value. You can clearly see the double strike on the motto, ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ and ‘LIBERTY’.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions people frequently ask:

Is the 1972 D-Penny Rare?

Unfortunately, the 1972 D-Penny isn’t rare. The Denver Mint produced over 2.6 billion pennies, so there’s enough to go around, except you’re looking for the ones with errors.

What Year is a Penny Most Valuable?

For now, the 1943 D-Penny tops the list. This wheat penny is valued at almost $2 million at auctions because only one original exists in human history. Every other coin you see is an iteration, even though they are valuable.

How Do You Know if a Penny is Worth a Lot of Money?

There are several key things you should look out for. Firstly, start by looking out for way older pennies. In most cases, they’re worth more. Also, look out for their copper content. Coins produced before 1982 had massive copper content that made them valuable.

Finally, look at the coin’s condition. Look out for errors or rare defects.

Final Words

Now that you’ve read the 1972 penny value guide, what’s next? You may be wondering if this coin is worth collecting.

The 1972 Lincoln penny is one of the most popular pennies, especially the ones with errors. As a coin enthusiast, they are worthy to be part of your collection.

1972 Penny Value chart

1 thought on “1972 Penny Value Guide (“P”, “D”, “S” & Error Coins)”

  1. Hello,
    I have a 1972 Philadelphia (no mint mark) strike-through penny and it has doubling, (doesn’t look mechanical), I am trying to find some information on it but am having difficulties in doing so. Perhaps you could help? You can email me @ iusedtobehappy@gmail.com or anyone else who may have some information. Thank you
    P.s
    IT IS VERY BRIGHT RED IN IN GOOD SHAPE FOR A ’72.

    Reply

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