US Coins

Waffle-cancelled quarter strike in collector hands

A second waffle-canceled test strike from the U.S. Mint’s research into alloy alternatives for circulating U.S. coins has been identified from the same source as the first reported in August.

The newly identified piece was struck on a planchet the size of a quarter dollar, that is made of the same copper-nickel clad composition currently used for that coin. Saul Teichman, who manages the website, assigned the attribution number Judd 2225 based on United States Pattern Coins .

The new piece, reported by Jon Sullivan from Sullivan Numismatics in Johns Island, South Carolina, came from the same Pennsylvania collector who provided the initial waffle-canceled test strike that Sullivan reported in August. The first trial strike was a copper-plated zinc piece struck on a 5-cent coin size planchet.

Like the first piece reported, this new example was struck with nonsense dies bearing designs that differ from those used on the actual coins.

The source of the two canceled test strikes, according to Sullivan, is a Pennsylvania collector who searches through thousands of coins, in bags he obtains from several sources.

Sullivan says the quarter dollar test strike weighs 5.7 grams, within tolerance.

Both test strikes are believed to have been produced during the U.S. Mint’s 2011 and 2012 testing under provisions of the Coin Modernization, Oversight and Continuity Act of 2010. Copper-plated zinc is one of the alloys the Mint considered for use. 

The testing also included producing test strikes on planchets of the current alloys using what Mint officials refer to as “nonsense” dies. The dies bear designs that in no way would ever be issued for use in general circulation.

Except for strikes retained for the Mint’s archives, the remaining test pieces are condemned and then waffle-canceled. The Philadelphia Mint uses machinery from the Dutch firm Kusters Engineering to cancel test pieces and coins deemed unsuitable for release. The machinery uses a series of equally spaced knives to deform a coin into a shape resembling a rippled potato chip. The canceled coins are then shipped to contracted vendors who also supply coinage strip for blanking, so the metal from the canceled coins can be reclaimed for reuse into making coinage strip.

What is considered the obverse of the test piece carries a rendition of a rhinoceros on the side of a mountain. The word NONSENSE is inscribed along the border of the piece along with CAROLINA NORTH, the letters of E PLURIBUS UNUM scrambled, and a registration number 0034F.

The design template follows the format the Mint has used in the America the Beautiful quarter dollar program.

On the reverse of the quarter dollar test strike, the main design elements are not discernible because of the cancellation process. From what is discernible, the letters in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are spelled in reverse order and appear as DETINU SETATS FO ACIREMA, and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears as NI / GOD / EW /X05790 (the X designates an indiscernible digit in the die registration number because of the canceling). The denomination is reflected by the inscription RETRAUQ RALLOD instead of QUARTER DOLLAR. 

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