US Coins

Packaging safe for premium 2019-W Lincoln cents

Collectors have begun receiving their 2019 Proof sets accompanied by the U.S. Mint’s added premium of a Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent, and some are concerned about the appearance of the added cents and about the long-term storage safety of the plastic in which they are packaged.

The U.S. Mint is including 2019-W Lincoln cents as a premium with the annual 2019 Proof set, Silver Proof set and Uncirculated Mint set. A Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent accompanies the Proof set, a Reverse Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent will be with the Silver Proof set, and a 2019-W Lincoln cent with Uncirculated Mint set finish is the premium with the Uncirculated Mint set.

NGC and PCGS slabsInside Coin World: Collectors who buy the holder, not the coin: The April monthly issue of “Coin World” features exclusive features and columns, including a look at collectors who advise others to “buy the holder, not the coin.”.

The premium cents are the first Lincoln cents to bear the W Mint mark. 

According to the Mint, the Proof 2019-W cents are housed in heat-sealed plastic bags manufactured from low-density polyethylene (LDPE) that is used in a variety of applications including food storage containers.

The Reverse Proof and Uncirculated 2019-W Lincoln cents will be packaged in Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) heat-sealed plastic bags that are LDPE embedded with a corrosion inhibitor.

The regular coins in the Proof and Silver Proof sets are encapsulated in inert, hard plastic lenses while the plastic blister that holds the 20 coins in the Uncirculated Mint set is fabricated from PETG (polyethylene terepthalate glycol), according to the U.S. Mint. The PETG material is safely used in a number of long-term coin storage products.

Susan L. Maltby, who writes about the preservation of collectibles for Coin World, has said that polyethylene is considered safe for storage.

Same locations

Some collectors have expressed concern about the quality of the Proof 2019-W Lincoln cents themselves.

California collector George Houle ordered four 10-coin 2019 Proof sets from the Mint. The shipment also included the premium Proof cent with each of the Proof sets. 

According to Houle, “the four premium cents exhibit distracting marks on the same location on the obverse of each coin — in the field below the IN in the motto, in the field to the right of the second T in TRUST and along the rim above the blotch in the field.”

Houle suggests four possible scenarios that he believes may be responsible for the marks:

??“One of the Dies were installed incorrectly, or unevenly in the Press head creating an uneven pressure to the blank. NOTE the marks are repeated in the same area, Not something a bag could repeat or a difference in the coin blank composite material. The marks are consistently in same area.

??“One of these Dies were polished incorrectly that left a low or a high spot on the face of the die causing and uneven pressure applied, similar to the three legged Buffalo die that was polished and the leg removed. Once again, the marks are consistent in the same area.

??“The difference in Color is pressure related, [caused by] Striking, handling, movement of a down stream automated device, etc., otherwise if chemically induced, the coloring would vary without a pattern or specific area on the coin similar to the Milk spots on the blanks from the late 50’s and early 60’s [Franklin half dollars] due to soap on the blanks being stuck into the silver.

??“They are not [on] every coin, this isolates them to a Press, a Die or a automated piece of machinery on the production line. Possible one Stamp press not functioning at the proper pressure? A Die that is not damaged yet placed in the press incorrectly or with dirt under the die body causing a difference in stamping height? A piece of equipment that transfers the coins on one conveyor or feed line applying pressure to the coin before or after bagging. ...” 

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