US Coins

1944 Washington quarter dollar on steel cent planchet

John Whitney Walter, known to collectors as “Mr. 1796” because of his affinity for coins minted in that year, was also fascinated with impressive error coins.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries featured some of his magnificent errors at its August American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auctions in Philadelphia. Highlights included pieces struck during the World War II era.

Since 1943 Lincoln cents were struck on zinc-coated steel planchets, off-mental 1943 Lincoln cents struck on bronze planchets and 1944 cents struck on zinc-coated steel planchets are always expensive and coveted. This 1944 Washington quarter dollar struck on a zinc-coated steel cent planchet is a fun twist on an off-metal World War II error. 

1938 Jefferson 5-cent coinInside Coin World: Jefferson 5-cent coin turns 80: Our Cover Feature this month focuses on 80 years of the Jefferson 5-cent coin, while our World Coins and Paper Money features focus on festivals and value-added notes.

The subject coin has a full date and clear Mint mark area, identifying it as a Philadelphia Mint issue. The cataloger stated, “The obverse is bright and satiny, the reverse a bit darker with light granularity and scattered oxidation.”

Professional Coin Grading Service graded it About Uncirculated Details, Tooled, with the tooled area seen in scratches in the obverse fields. Error coins are often found scratched, cleaned or otherwise impaired, due to their odd appearance having attracted unwise attention from curious noncollectors who encountered them in circulation. It is exciting to think that this coin likely circulated for some time before being picked out by a sharp-eyed curious person, and it sold for $16,200. 

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