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Battlefield Brass to Brass Centavo - No Tin about it!



The 1944-S USA/Philippine One Centavo was made from salvaged shell casings. Since this wartime alloy used no Tin the resulting coins were actually Brass rather than Bronze.

The 1944-S USA/Philippine One Centavo uses the same obverse and reverse designs as the pre-war One Centavo but has a different Wartime composition. For information about the obverse and reverse designs see my USA/Philippines Type Set at: http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/registry/coins/SetListing.aspx?PeopleSetID=51257

The pre-war One Centavo was a Bronze Alloy of 95% copper, and 5% zinc and tin. Both Copper and Tin are important strategic materials during wartime. In order to conserve Tin the wartime composition of the One Centavo was changed to a Brass Alloy of 95% copper and 5% Zinc. This is the same alloy the mint used for the production of U.S. Wartime pennies dated 1944-1946. The mint produced this alloy by combining ingots of pure copper with salvaged 70% copper shell casings.

During the 1942 through 1944 Japanese occupation of the Philippines nearly all coins disappeared from circulation. In the occupied areas the Japanese collected all of the coins melted them down and shipped them back to Japan. The few pre-war coins that escaped the melting pots were horded and hid away until after the war. Most daily commerce was conducted with low denomination paper currency (Emergency or Guerilla Currency) printed by Guerrilla military units, local municipalities, or Military and Civilian Currency Boards authorized by General MacArthur or the Commonwealth government-in-exile under President Quezon.

During the Japanese occupation there was a very active resistance movement in the Philippines and allied inteligence was very much aware, of the economic situation in the islands, and the need to bring new coins and currency with them when they liberated the Philippines.

In preparation for General MacArthurs return to the Philippines the Treasury Department ordered the San Francisco Mint to strike millions of One Centavo coins.

When American forces liberated the Philippines in 1944 - 1945 they brought with them Fifty Eight Million 1944-S One Centavo coins.

The attached picture is a PCGS True View image of is a 1944-S One Centavo in MS67 RED. The PCGS population for the 1944-S One Centavo in MS67 Red is six coins with none graded higher. The combined PCGS/NGC certified population for this coin in MS67 Red is only 11 coins with none graded higher.

This FULL RED SUPERB GEM is a die variety with the BASE OF THE LAST 4 MISSING AT THE LEFT SIDE (Allen number 3.06b). The 2008-2009 edition of the Allen guide book lists the highest certified grade for this die variety at MS66 making this coin unique in MS67 RED.


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