A Bad Penny?
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5 posts in this topic

Hi, I just joined this forum.  I'm not a real "collector" as I only collect to acquire representative designs and variations, not for value or scarcity.  I ran across this ugly looking thing among my hoard of copper Lincoln cents.  It's smaller than a normal cent--18.4 mm diameter compared to 19 normal.  I don't have an accurate scale to weigh it, but I measure the thickness at 1.1 mm vs 1.4 for a normal cent.  The surface finish and strike quality are very poor, and a portion of both sides are silver in color instead of copper.  On the front there appears to be a defect across Lincoln's jacket and continuing up through his cheek--possibly a hair on the die or a die crack?  On the back, the E appears almost completely missing from the motto, with weakness right above it in the word "States".  I don't find anything like it in online descriptions of error coins.  Could it just be a bad planchet or something else?  It doesn't seem likely to me that anyone would counterfeit a penny of ordinary year and mint mark.  Thanks!

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A casting is a good suggestion--the surface finish does look consistent with a casting.  Maybe someone thought it would be cool to try to make a mold of a real penny, fire it, and then make castings.  I'll check the edge of the coin to see if there's evidence of grinding or of an opening in a mold.  I'll bet if you do it right, you could make counterfeit pennies for just pennies each.  :facepalm:

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Looks more to me like it got a soak in something corrosive. That would account for the muddied detail, reduced diameter while retaining roundness, and so on. My bet would be a weak acid, likely vinegar or phosphoric acid.

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