Why are there so many different types of 1982 pennies and how do you tell them apart?

Between changing the composition of the US one-cent coin (often referred to as a "penny," even though the word has never appeared on the US coin) and experimenting with the size of the date, there are 7 different types of 1982 pennies: * 1982 copper, small date * 1982-D copper, small date * 1982 copper, large date * 1982-D copper, large date * 1982 copper-plated zinc * 1982-D copper-plated zinc * 1982-S copper proof It's easy to tell between the different mint marks; just look below the date. The plated zinc cents are slightly lighter, and don't give the distinctive "ring" of a copper (actually a copper-zinc alloy) cent. The only way to tell between the date sizes is to study pictures of the two, and notice the distinctions in how they look. Note that there was only one proof type, minted only in San Francisco.