The 1992 Close AM Lincoln Cent is a transitional variety of the Lincoln Cent series. Beginning in 1993, the United States Mint sharpened certain details of the reverse design of the coin. Most noticeably, the letters “AM” from “AMERICA” were placed close together. A small number of 1992 Lincoln Cents were apparently struck with the new reverse die.
The “Close AM” variety can be identified by the lack of space between the letters. Additionally, the designer’s initial “FG” will be further away from the Memorial building. For the “Wide AM” version, the letters will have a visible space between and the initials “FG” will appear close to the building.
There have been a number of 1992-D “Close AM” Lincoln Cents identified, but only three 1992 (Philadelphia Mint) coins have been found. As such, these coins are considered a major rarity.
Despite the switch to the new reverse type for circulating coins, the old design remained in use for proof coins. In the late 1990’s several circulation strike Lincoln Cents were created using proof reverse dies. These are also rare and bring premiums, but not as much as the 1992 transitional variety.
The close "AM" meant that the letters "A" and "M" were very close and almost touching while the wide "AM" had the two letters separated much more. In Addition: The initials "FG" was closer to the Lincoln Memorial Building on the wide "AM" variety and it was further away on the close "AM" variety. The difference between the close "AM" and wide "AM" varieties is shown in the example image below.