Two modern Matte Finish Jefferson 5-cent coins were offered to
collectors in commemorative coin sets in 1994 and 1997.
The Matte Finish 1994-P Jefferson 5-cent coin had a mintage of
167,703 pieces and was offered in Jefferson Coinage and Currency sets,
which also contained an Uncirculated 1993 Thomas Jefferson
commemorative silver dollar and Series 1976 $2 Federal Reserve note.
The set was offered at a pre-issue price of $34 and a regular issue
price of $39.
The set was supposed to be a limited-edition offering of just
50,000 sets, but this information was omitted from sales brochures,
and the mintage was expanded to meet widespread collector demand.
While the Jefferson dollar honored the 250th anniversary in 1993
of his birth, delays by Congress in passing the bill moved the actual
striking of the coins to 1994, although the dollars are dated 1993.
Hence, the inclusion of a 1994-P Jefferson 5-cent coin in a “1993” set.
Thankfully for collectors, these Matte Finish 5-cent coins were
very well-produced and their expanded mintage makes them affordable.
In August, Teletrade sold an example graded by Professional Coin
Grading Service Specimen 69 Full Steps for $39. Sets with original
packaging can trade for as little as $60.
At the time that those coins were released, there was no mention
that the 1994-P Jefferson 5-cent pieces had a special finish. The
special nature of the coins was only publicized when a Coin
World reader studied his coins, noticed the differences between
circulation strikes, and informed Coin World, who
investigated the coins and directed questions to Mint officials. The
Mint later stated that the intent of the Matte Finish was to make the
surfaces of the 5-cent coin match the Uncirculated Jefferson silver
dollar in the set.
The Mint’s promotional literature described the process of making
Matte Finish coins: “Matte Finish requires two extra steps in the
minting of the coin: one, sandblasting the face of the coinage die
with a mixture of glass beads and aluminum oxide and two, adding a
hard chrome plate to the die for hardness and lubricity.”
The Matte Finish coins were also struck twice on a semi-automatic
Graebener coining press, typically used to strike commemorative coins.
Another Matte Finish Jefferson 5-cent piece would be issued in
1997, and its release resulted in a frenzy among collectors that will
be addressed in next month’s column.
The Matte Finish would show up on one more regular-issue design
included in a commemorative set of the 1990s, when it was used on the
1998-S John F. Kennedy silver half dollar in the Kennedy Collector’s set.
Steven Roach is associate editor of Coin World. Email him