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.