Lincoln reverse upside down?

Value of 1981 silver round?
Published : 09/02/12
Text Size

I found an oddity recently among my pocket change. It is a 2011 U.S. 1-cent coin. One side, of course, has the Lincoln profile, but when you turn it around, the Shield image on the other side of the coin is upside down — a full 180-degree rotation in relation to Lincoln. Does this coin have any particular value?

Tim McComb

Toronto, Ontario

The obverse-reverse orientation for this 2011 Lincoln cent sounds perfectly normal and, if circulated, it has no excess worth above its face value of one cent.

This coin’s obverse-reverse orientation is called “coin alignment,” where the reverse of the coin is upside down (or 180 degrees rotated) in relation to the obverse of the coin. With the exception of some Gobrecht dollars from the 1830s, all U.S. coins have been struck with coin alignment.

If one finds a U.S. coin where the reverse is “right side up” in relation to the obverse, that would be an error.

Many world coins are also struck with coin alignment, but some circulating world coins are instead struck with what is termed “medal alignment,” where the reverse and obverse are right side up in relationship to each other.

It is perfectly natural that a Canadian might find the coin alignment style of U.S. coins curious to the eye, as Canadian coins are generally struck in medal alignment.

I need to know the value of a silver coin in my possession. The obverse of the coin shows Liberty and the date 1804; the reverse says one troy ounce .999 FINE SILVER/31.1 GRAMS/GEMS BY MICHAEL.

The reverse also has a bell and a eagle.

Ricardo Gonzalez

Jalisco, Mexico

The piece in question appears to be a privately produced silver round.

An Internet search found the same round, bearing the date 1981 in addition to the other designs and legends on the reverse.

If struck in 1981, it was produced on the heels of the “silver rush” that occurred during the 1979 to 1981 time period.

The obverse is a replication of the famed, and rare, 1804 Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle silver dollar.

The bullion piece has little, if any, numismatic value. However, if it is genuinely one troy ounce of .999 fine silver, it does possess value, albeit based upon its silver content. The spot price of silver, of late, has been about $28 (in U.S. funds) per ounce, so this round would be worth about that much. If selling to a dealer, Mr. Gonzalez should expect to be paid a small percentage less than $28.

Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins or other items for examination without prior permission from staff member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to or call 800-673-8311, Ext. 274.

You are signed in as:null

Please sign in or join to share your thoughts on this story

No comments yet