US Coins

Inside Coin World: Turning a Judd 2 cent into a Judd 1 cent

In the July 22 Coin World, numismatist Robert Rodriguez outlines how a research team confirmed an earlier study finding the “Morris specimen” of the 1792 Silver Center cent to be actually a cent altered to resemble the desirable rarity.

Original images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.

Guest Commentary: Adding a plug to a cent

The 1792 Silver Center cent is one of the most fascinating early patterns for U.S. coinage, an experiment in which a small silver plug was inserted into a centered hole in a pure copper planchet, to give the denomination an intrinsic value equal to its face value. When examples appear at auction, they often sell for high prices.

One example, according to researchers, is actually an altered coin. In his “Guest Commentary” appearing in the July 22 issue of Coin World, numismatist Robert Rodriguez outlines how the researchers confirmed an earlier study that found that the “Morris specimen” of the pattern coin is actually a copper Judd 2 piece (its catalog number in the standard reference) that was altered to resemble a Judd 1 piece by drilling a hole into it and inserting a silver plug, with both sides of the plug then uniquely engraved.

To read more about the research team’s findings, see the “Guest Commentary” in the digital and print issues of the July 22 Coin World.

Coin Values Spotlight: Jackie Robinson $5 coin

In 1997, the United States Mint issued a commemorative silver dollar and gold $5 coin honoring Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play on an integrated Major League Baseball team. Each of the two denominations was issued in Uncirculated and Proof versions, with several pieces incorporated into special sets.

Paul Gilkes, in his “Coin Values Spotlight” column, writes about the poorest selling of the four coins — the Uncirculated gold coin. Its final sales figure was well below that for the Proof gold coin, and prices now reflect the differences in rarity. Paul examines how prices for both versions have fallen over the past decade, though the Uncirculated coin continues to see for a hefty premium over its issue price.

To learn more, read Paul’s column, found only in the July 22 issue of Coin World.

Collectors' Clearinghouse: Inverted dies used

Mike Diamond reports on the discovery of the second known example of a 1992-D Washington quarter dollar struck with the obverse and reverse dies positioned in the press with an orientation opposite to what had become standard.

Over the decades, the United States Mint changed how it used dies. For 45 years after 1945, most coins were struck with the obverse die serving as the hammer die and the reverse die serving as the anvil die, but the Mint gradually inverted that arrangement for all circulating denominations by 2002. A couple of 1992-D Washington quarter dollars show evidence of the inverted die setup in use at the Denver Mint that year.

It is impossible to tell what orientation was used to strike any given coin unless a particular error provides additional evidence. To learn how these two quarter dollars were identified as being struck from an inverted die pair, read Mike’s column in the July 22 issue of Coin World.

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