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Every week or so, Marshall Coin Vault will try to present you with some lesser-known coin errors, non-regular issues and varieties. We’re going to sidestep some of the more renowned anomalies, such as the 1913 Liberty Head nickel or 1922 High Relief Peace dollar, and place our focus more on commonly overlooked examples. We’ll try to provide some history and backstory as to how these coins came about. Perhaps, some day, you may even come across one of these rarities!

Lincoln Pennies

  • 1982-D Copper Penny - Beginning in 1982, the primary composition of the penny changed from 95% copper to 97.5% zinc. However, there appears to have been some leftover copper planchets as numerous 1982-D pennies continued to be minted using the older 95% copper composition. The best way to differentiate between copper and zinc pennies is by weight. A copper penny weighs 3.11 grams, while a zinc penny weighs 2.5 grams. Too small of a difference to detect just by hand. This will require a scale with high precision, a scale that is sensitive enough to detect 0.01 gram differences. A decent scale with this type of precision can be picked-up for around $20. With that being said, you still need to account for accepted coin weight variation.



Roosevelt Dimes

  • 1982 No P – Beginning in 1980, dimes produced by the Philadelphia mint started to include the letter "P" mintmark on the obverse. Dimes produced at the Denver and San Francisco (proofs) mints already included their mintmark. All mintmarks are located above and towards the right-side of the year. Shortly after this change, in 1982, a small percentage of dimes were minted in Philadelphia without the "p" mintmark. Apparently, a couple of the observe dies were created minus the "P".

    Estimates provided state that upwards of 100,000 examples of this error exist. This is a common enough error to be listed in both NGC and PCGS price guides. Lower MS grades are listed at over $100, those graded at gem level can command several hundred dollars.



Washington State Quarters

  • Minnesota Extra Tree – While the most well-known state quarter error remains the extra leaf variety on the reverse of the Wisconsin state quarter, a lesser-known state quarter error can be found on the reverse of the Minnesota quarter. To the right-side of the Minnesota state outline, four (more like 3.5 as one of the trees is partially covered) trees are displayed, followed by a gap, then the remaining tree series begins with the fifth tree. The extra tree, if displayed, is located in the aforementioned gap between this 4th and 5th tree. This error has been reported on coins from all 3 mints. If any extra material is found between these trees, it would be considered an extra tree error. This amount of extra material can vary from one error coin to the next.



Kennedy Half Dollars

  • 1971-D & 1977-D Silver Clad Halves – From 1965 to 1970, Kennedy halves were struck in a silver clad composition (40% silver, 60% copper). Beginning in 1971, Kennedy halves were struck in a copper-nickel clad with silver no longer present in the composition. Nevertheless, it seems that some unused silver clad planchets found their way into the Denver mint’s general production. The 1971-D examples most likely used leftover silver blanks from the 1965 – 1970 run, while 1977-D examples are thought to be leftover silver blanks from the 1976 Silver Bicentennial issue.

    How to tell the difference between silver and copper-nickel clad halves? Well, there are a few ways to accomplishing this task:

    • Coin edge – the reeded edge of a silver coin would display the same color as the coin – silver. The reeded edge for a copper-nickel clad coin would display a copper color, similar to that found on a modern copper-nickel clad quarter.

    • Weight test – a silver clad coin weighs 11.50 grams, while copper-nickel clad weighs 11.34 grams. Too small of a difference to detect just by hand. This will require a scale with high precision, a scale that is sensitive enough to detect 0.01 gram differences. A decent scale with this type of precision can be picked-up for around $20. With that being said, you still need to account for accepted coin weight variation.

    • Toning – silver clad & copper nickel clad coins tone differently. While this can be subjective at times, does the coin’s color look similar to that of other silver clad coins or that of copper-nickel clad coins? If possible, hold the coin up to a silver clad Kennedy, then hold the coin up to a copper-nickel clad Kennedy.

    There are other testing methods available, but it would be wise to avoid any test that could potentially damage the coin.

  • No FG – Engraver Frank Gasparro’s initials are absent on the reverse. Generally, the “FG” initials are located between the eagle’s tail feathers and left leg. Over polished dies are believed to be the culprit as planchets were struck without any visible “FG” initials. To truly be considered a “No FG” coin – there can be no trace or even the slightest hint of these initials.

    1972-D examples seem to be the most popular, but 1982-P specimens have been reported as well.

    As a sidenote, the 1966 Kennedy SMS issue does have examples without the "FG" initials. However, the liklihood of coming across one of these coins in general circulation, or some roll of Kennedy halves, is exceptionally low.
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