Magical coin experience

Lincoln cent actually novelty
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 04/29/11
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Searching through rolls of hand-wrapped United States cents is always a magical experience.

I’ve been a roll searcher for five decades and I still get a high voltage charge out of the anticipation I feel as I open and examine the contents of each roll.

My excitement is, and always has been, a direct result of not knowing what will be discovered amongst what are mostly normal and unremarkable coins.

When I find something as unusual as this week’s highlighted coin or of a portion thereof, I really feel the magic that makes this hobby so much fun!

While some of you might immediately recognize what the pictured coin is, I thought that I might start by telling you what it is not.

I am only mentioning these possible scenarios since, over the years, I’ve actually heard some of these concepts either in jest or as actual explanations proffered as to what a piece like this one truly is.

The coin discovered this week is not a rare U.S. Mint manufactured experimental half cent. Nor is it a type of error coin that is missing a clad layer. It is definitely not a portion of a “spy coin” that was used to clandestinely conceal a microchip used to track the circulation of U.S. coins. Finally, it is not a post-1982 copper-plated zinc composition cent that has lost, due to damage, its obverse along with the zinc core.

I know, I shook my head, too, when I first heard those explanations, although the microchip one almost made sense.

This piece is actually a component part of something known as a “Magician’s Coin.”

The illustrated portion, known as the “shell,” is supposed to have another modified coin called an “insert” placed within the hollowed out portion.

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