Zinc Indian head
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17 posts in this topic

I found this 1891 one cent that looks like yellow brass even though I know that it isn't. But I do know that there is zinc in them. And when I weighted it. It is lighter than even the most worn out one that is 2.87 and the one in question is 2.80. Any ideas or is this in tolerance?  

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There is a +- tolerance of .13g on IH so yours would be a bit under. Hard to say exactly why but it may be from a thin planchet. Quality control was a little more lax back then. ( Although from some of the modern coins I have seen on here lately, it doesn’t appear all that great today).

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Your scale is not calibrated correctly.? (shrug)  I am ruling out the possibility of a Zincian Head though. :insane:

Could be a thin planchet, when you take the tolerance into consideration the weight is not that far off.

Composition is 95% copper and 5% Tin and Zinc, expected weight 3.11g, tolerance .13g.

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Cent planchets were purchased under contract to Scoville Mfg Corp. They were spot checked for diameter, thickness and weight. Struck cents were checked en mass (count vs weight). The only zinc at the Philadelphia Mint was used for precipitating silver during refining. By 1899 final refining was done electrolytically. (See my book From Mine to Mint for details.)

Edited by RWB
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Color is not a reliable method to determine the composition of a copper coin, especially if its worn. Copper is a very reactive metal. Yours looks like it's stained and suffered environmental damage.  

You could always get it checked with a handheld XRF, but I'm not sure how well those a calibrated to measure elements less than a few %.  IMO, it's not worth the effort for this coin.

Regarding the lower weight:

Your coin is worn and damaged.  Since you don't know the original weight of the planchet (spec = 3.11 +/- 0.13 grams), It's nearly impossible to figure out how much weight was lost to wear and how much to damage.

BTW: I recommend @RWB book "From mine to mint". Wish it would have been around when I started collecting in the 70s.  Back then, information  on the minting process (current and historical) was scarce and very difficult to find

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Well I checked it with my 2021 and weighted it 4 times and got the same thing and did another one it was 31.34  besides I weighted a worn out  penny and it was still more. In pictures. Scale appears to be working but I do agree that I do need a better one. And I weighted 1 that is in better condition.

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On 11/5/2021 at 11:46 AM, Patman54 said:

Is there a place where I can read it online or do I have to buy it.

I got a copy off Ebay. It is an excellent book. It answered many of my questions i had. Its very informative. You will enjoy it very much. I sure did. 

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