What makes a 1962 D penny rare and valuable? The 1962 D Lincoln penny can be quite valuable if it contains certain rare errors and varieties. But what exactly makes this specific coin so special to collectors and numismatists? Keep reading to uncover the details behind the 1962 D penny’s scarcity and worth.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The main things that make a 1962 D penny rare and valuable are having a strong doubled die variety, being struck on a copper blank instead of a zinc blank, or being in extremely high uncirculated condition with no marks or wear.

Key Date and Mintage

The 1962 D penny stands out as a key date in the Lincoln cent series due to the fact it has a strong doubled die variety, or for being struck on a copper blank instead of a zinc blank. Even though it has a high mintage volume, this coin is extremely hard to find in uncirculated condition.

Why So Few Cents Were Minted After the 1960s?

The main reason fewer coins were produced is that the need for new pennies dropped off significantly starting in the early 1960s. The United States was locked in the Cold War and public faith in paper money had stabilized after some uncertain years.

The great velocity of coins churning through commerce began to wane.

Additionally, vending machines were becoming widespread in the 1960s and they created efficiencies in small change distribution. With fewer pennies getting lost or worn out in circulation, the U.S. Mint scaled back production of new ones.

And the cuts were dramatic, going from over a billion pennies a year to just 75 million in 1964 – a staggering 98% drop!

Rarity Equals Value for Collectors

For coin collectors, significant low mintage numbers virtually guarantee increased interest and value. Also, when there a so few mint state examples surviving from a small original pool, prices for pristine 1962 D cents should continue rising. Lesser condition coins are also collectible as affordable representatives from an important low mintage year.

So whether you have one in perfect shape or just average, a 1962 D penny is worth holding on to!

Condition Rarity in Higher Grades

1962 D pennies in higher circulated grades like MS-65RD (Red) or MS-66RD are quite rare and valuable compared to lower grades. Here’s why:

  • High-grade specimens are difficult to find – Most 1962 D cents exhibit significant contact marks, abrasions, spots, etc. from decades of circulation. So unblemished, high-grade examples are tougher to obtain.
  • Special care is required – To reach MS-65 RD or better, a 1962 D cent needed exceptionally careful handling over the years to prevent markings or discoloration. So few received this kind of special care after being minted.
  • Demand outpaces supply – Collectors, investors, and dealers ardently seek problem-free, high-grade examples. However, with so few in existence, demand severely outweighs supply for MS-65 RD or better 1962 D cents.

The numeric mintage for 1962 D Lincoln cents was an enormous 3,218,019,768 pieces. Yet PCGS estimates only around 100-125 genuine MS-65RD examples exist, and even fewer in higher grades like MS-66RD or MS-67RD.

This enormous gap between original mintage and surviving top-tier specimens demonstrates why mint state 1962 D cents are so condition-rare.

Peak Red Examples

Additionally, many uncirculated 1962 D cents do not retain the full original mint red luster and coloration. Cents that do exhibit vibrant cherry red hues and no evidence of fading/toning are designated “Red” examples by grading services like PCGS and NGC.

These “Peak Red” coins have extra collectability and value.

Only a tiny fraction remains in true mint red condition at grades like MS-64RD or higher. This further illustrates why condition rarity directly translates to high market values for top-grade survivors.

Doubled Die Varieties

The 1962 D penny with a doubled die error is one of the most famous and valuable varieties in all of US coinage. This was caused by a hubbing error during the minting process which resulted in a dramatic doubling of design elements on the coin.

How the Doubling Happened

During the hubbing process at the Denver Mint in 1962, excess pressure or grease on the hub caused it to shift slightly while pressing into the die. This small shift resulted in a secondary, blurred impression of the design overlapping the primary one.

Coins struck from this misaligned die show a strong doubling on the words “In God We Trust” and “Liberty” on the obverse, and the words “One Cent” on the reverse.

Rarity and Value

The 1962 D doubled die penny was unknown to the collecting community for over 8 years after being struck. Once discovered around 1970, collectors scrambled to find examples. Of the billions of 1962 pennies struck in Denver, only around 20,000 are believed to bear the doubled die variety.

This relative scarcity results in high values:

  • AU-50: $750
  • MS-60: $1,000
  • MS-65 RD (full red): $50,000+

High-grade specimens with no wear and full original mint red color can sell for over $100,000 at auction. Even well-circulated examples in VG-8 fetch over $100.


Because this variety is so scarce and valuable, authentication is highly recommended for any 1962 D pennies that appear to show doubling. Reputable third-party grading services like PCGS and NGC provide authentication along with numeric grades and other assessments.

Slabbed and certified examples command the highest premiums when selling.

There are also some minor doubled die varieties on 1962 pennies from the Philadelphia Mint, but none approach the dramatic doubling seen on the famous 1962 D. With only an estimated 20,000 in existence, this famous “Double D” stands as one of the premier rarities of US coinage.

Strike Errors and Off-Metal Planchets

Strike errors and off-metal planchets can make 1962 D pennies rare and valuable for collectors. Here’s an overview of some key things to know:

Double Strikes

Double strikes happen when a penny gets struck multiple times by the coin die. This results in a partial secondary impression of the coin’s design on one or both sides. These errors are rare and make the coin more desirable to collectors.

Off-Center Strikes

Off-center coins occur when the penny planchet isn’t properly aligned when the coin die strikes it. This leaves the coin’s design to drift to one side. The more dramatic the off-center strike, the more valuable the error coin tends to be.

Wrong Planchet Errors

Sometimes pennies get struck on planchets meant for other coins, resulting in off-metal errors. For example, a 1962 D Lincoln penny was struck on a dime planchet instead of the correct copper planchet.

This extremely rare and unusual error makes the coin highly desirable to collectors and commands a high price.

Here’s a comparison of what a normal 1962 D penny looks like next to one with a dramatic double strike error and one struck on a silver dime planchet instead of a copper penny blank:

Normal 1962 D Penny 1962 D Penny Double Strike Error 1962 D Penny Struck on Dime Planchet

As you can see, errors like double strikes, off-center strikes, and off-metal planchet mix-ups can make a 1962 penny stand out. Coin collectors tend to go crazy over rare error coins like these!

What Makes A 1962 D Penny Rare – Conclusion

In summary, the top factors that contribute to a 1962 D Lincoln penny’s value and rarity are its condition, die varieties like doubling, and major errors like off-metal strikes. Circulated examples are common and only fetch face value, while uncirculated coins and those with noticeable errors can sell for a significant premium to collectors.

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