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What on earth do I have here? 1942 Proof Cent

FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

I recently purchased this 1942 cent on Ebay, albeit with some pretty bad pictures. I had originally purchased it with the hope it may be a zinc coated steel pattern. It arrived, and I can say that I doubt it is zinc coated steel. But I cannot rule out a pattern, right? The coin weighs 2.85 grams, which is 2x the legal tolerance underweight (minimum weight in legal standards is 2.98g, normal is 3.11g). My scale appears accurate, and weighs every other copper cent I tested within tolerance. The coin does not appear to have any visible reason as to why it is underweight, and appears to be a normal proof 1942 cent with some strange color to it. I would also think that a proof would be much less likely to be underweight.

Bad photo of the scale :smile:

Here are pictures:

Color comps:

The tenth edition of the Judd book states that pattern 1942 cents were struck with regular dies in zinc, copper and zinc, zinc coated steel, aluminum, copperweld, antimony, white metal, and lead (among other metals). Only three of these compositions are currently known.

This coin has a color that isn't anywhere close to any copper cent I currently have in my possession. I have to say that I'm stumped. I discussed it with @Eldorado9, and we both agreed that there may be something here, and that it was worth bringing up with the forums. Does anyone have any information that may aid me in figuring out what this is?

I have three possibilities that I can think of:

Normal coin
Mint error underweight cent
Pattern metal strike

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

Comments

  • DelawareDoonsDelawareDoons Posts: 3,233 ✭✭✭✭✭

    XRF time. 👀

    Professional Numismatist. "It's like God, Family, Country, except Sticker, Plastic, Coin."

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,831 ✭✭✭✭✭

    all those 1942 funny composition patterns had a Columbian Centavo obverse

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_experimental_cents

    it looks to me like a toned 1942 proof cent

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    all those 1942 funny composition patterns had a Columbian Centavo obverse

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_experimental_cents

    it looks to me like a toned 1942 proof cent

    Only some. There were many struck with a normal Lincoln cent dies, such as the J-2079–2081 patterns. There are also several more compositions that were struck with normal Lincoln cent dies that are not yet discovered.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,725 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I suggest you contact forum member @oreville.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,105 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    all those 1942 funny composition patterns had a Columbian Centavo obverse

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_experimental_cents

    it looks to me like a toned 1942 proof cent

    I don't think that is accurate. 1) There is reference in Judd to normal 1942's in experimental metals. 2) There is a known proof aluminum 1942 that was sold by Heritage here: https://coins.ha.com/itm/patterns/1942-1c-lincoln-cent-judd-2079-r8-pr66-pcgs/a/1204-5884.s 3) If it's a toned proof 1942, then what accounts for the drastic underweight measurement?

  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,105 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The weight tells a big part of the story for me. I just don't see how a normal proof Lincoln weighs 2.85 grams AND has really weird color. Could this be an experimental off-metal pattern made out of a combination of copper and zinc?

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,831 ✭✭✭✭✭

    is 2.85 vs 3.11 dramatic difference?

    it is not aluminum nor have modified wide rim

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    is 2.85 vs 3.11 dramatic difference?

    it is not aluminum nor have modified wide rim

    Yes, it’s double the legal tolerance. The lowest weight for a normal coin allowable under law is 2.98 grams.

    Also, like I said, five compositions we know were struck have coins missing. It’s not a stretch to assume this could be one of those patterns with the weight difference and color IMO.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @davewesen said:
    is 2.85 vs 3.11 dramatic difference?

    +/- is 0.13, so 2.98 would be within tolerances.

  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,751 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Until proven otherwise I think an underweight planchet is the most logical explanation.

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
  • lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here is a previous thread of a worn 1919 at 2.86. I make no claim that any of it is applicable here.

    https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/1066384/1919-wheat-cent-underweight-2-86-grams-possible-foreign-planchette

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    i've poked around a bit and really don't have much to offer but there is PROBABLY something in the archives along with a few other members insight/experience to get you where you need to go but setting a few things aside for later submission just to see what happens isn't a bad idea but the more esoteric something is/may be, the more verification of the experts opinions is requred. (illud est quod est, ya know?) at the very least, it may be worth the peace of mind due to the amount of peculiar actions of ours and other mints over the centuries have taken.

    that being said, the cent doesn't have any look i haven't seen before on multiple occasions, including the smudging on the rev. fwiw (even on other compositions/denoms)

    proof coinage surfaces can range quite a big even for just one year from matte, to PL, to semi-cameo etc. the best way i can describe the look from the coin in the OP is a UCAM/DCAM w/o the contrast/frost.

    i like you are being this thorough. it is how new information/examples come to light and one needs a lot of fortitude because most are strike outs as just like in baseball, you gotta go out there and keep on swingin'!

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 7,405 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd let Roger Burdette have a stab at it. I think he hangs out ATS. Too bad he got banned here, as he is a big wealth of information.

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,423 ✭✭✭✭✭

    XRF should at least let you know the composition. Then go from there. Hopefully you found something valuable.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • braddickbraddick Posts: 23,072 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think it is worth sending to PCGS under the error column.
    You may have something there.
    (There shouldn't be that much tolerance for a proof coin.)

    peacockcoins

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why don't you make a determination on what you think it is, then find pictures of one of those and compare for some diagnostic matches. Also, get a couple images of normal 1942 proof coins and compare diagnostics. My hunch is that you'll find a match like that and the mystery and intrigue will be ended.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl... I would say, based on information and pictures you have provided, the coin warrants further investigation. Certainly an in hand analysis by other experts and XRF results would bring further inputs to formulate conclusions. Cheers, RickO

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 6,747 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    @FlyingAl... I would say, based on information and pictures you have provided, the coin warrants further investigation. Certainly an in hand analysis by other experts and XRF results would bring further inputs to formulate conclusions. Cheers, RickO

    ditto, and good luck

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,244 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 18, 2022 8:24AM

    If possible, I would hand carry it to a coin show that PCGS et al. attend and have them look at it and slab it for protection. Might even be possible to have XRF performed there. No way to insure it with a value collectible and the concern that may occur with today's shipping. Wouldn't leave my hands. At the very least, you have an interesting and controversial object in your possession. Best of luck.
    Jim

    Edited to add: I would definitely contact Roger. He might know it's story.


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,105 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jesbroken Makes some extremely good points about keeping that coin as safe as possible.

  • P0CKETCHANGEP0CKETCHANGE Posts: 2,231 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Eldorado9 said:
    @jesbroken Makes some extremely good points about keeping that coin as safe as possible.

    image

    Nothing is as expensive as free money.

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,244 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The Lincoln Cent Pattern piece J2055 was made with Manganese added, not sure if 6.5% was the amount or not. It may have made the coin more silvery, but who knows what storage container kept this item for 80 years and how it would tone, as their probably aren't any of this composition to compare to. Does the coin have any magnetic properties? Truly neat that you picked it thinking it was proof as it appears to be at least that. I like the coin and its toning. Hopefully you can gain the knowledge you wish in its regard.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • 1madman1madman Posts: 1,287 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a suspicion this coin is going to be a “tuition lesson” in the money you’re gonna dump into it. But, if it were me and I felt strongly about it, I would submit to NGC and use their Metallurgic Analysis option for $75 (in addition to the grading fees). Get the main metal components listed on the label, then cross to pcgs if you find that warranted.

    I’ve struggled in getting pcgs to use the xrf in the past, and have given up using them for this grading option.

    I don’t know of many dealers who have the xrf gun to help out, but Daytona Coins is one that does if you’re in florida.

  • lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Not my area so this is just suggestion. No matter what it is, it looks discolored and particularly the reverse with all the different colorations from almost copper to dark. So could it be considered damaged/cleaned or other no matter what it is and how would that influence value? Would a density check help? If that checks at or close to copper then does that narrow the options?

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,244 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As I am sure that value immediately crosses some people's mind, the coin's condition, obtainment method and the fact only one or so were made 80 years ago as a trial piece only would be all the reward I would need, so spending some funds to verify it's manufacture, even if it were a thin plancet proof would be money well spent, in my opinion.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • 2windy2fish2windy2fish Posts: 805 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl just for fun message the seller and ask them the origin of the coin…especially if they are not a coin seller…i have had some interesting answers!

  • telephoto1telephoto1 Posts: 4,734 ✭✭✭✭✭

    First glance I thought normal 1942 proof cent, only toned...but the underweight and the weird color make me wonder if the pattern theory is right. What were we striking for other countries in 1942? Any chance this is a foreign planchet?


    RIP Mom- 1932-2012
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,529 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 18, 2022 10:53AM

    @DelawareDoons said:
    XRF time. 👀

    Or if that is not an option, a really good specific gravity test.

    Edited to add: Be sure to get all your testing done before the coin is slabbed.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Alright.

    @CaptHenway
    I ran a specific gravity test. A regular 1951-D cent ran 8.88g/ml, the 1942 cent ran 10.17g/ml.

    The coin has no magnetic properties.

    @MrEureka, can you weigh in on the possibility of a pattern/foreign planchet?

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,105 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The mystery continues. 1) It's a 1942, underweight, and not made out of copper (given the odd specific gravity measurement) 2) Its a proof coin 3) It's real, not a fake 4) And it has odd color characteristics, unlike a normal copper cent.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,826 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @telephoto1 said:
    First glance I thought normal 1942 proof cent, only toned...but the underweight and the weird color make me wonder if the pattern theory is right. What were we striking for other countries in 1942? Any chance this is a foreign planchet?

    Numerous. Some as light as 2.5 grams.

  • ThreeCentSilverFLThreeCentSilverFL Posts: 1,659 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting. Flagged to follow.

  • lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:
    Alright.

    @CaptHenway
    I ran a specific gravity test. A regular 1951-D cent ran 8.88g/ml, the 1942 cent ran 10.17g/ml.

    The coin has no magnetic properties.

    @MrEureka, can you weigh in on the possibility of a pattern/foreign planchet?

    It is lighter and more dense. If I multiplied correctly, then it is about 80% of the nominal volume.

    Another double check would be to ask (without me looking it up) what a normal copper cent should be compared to the measured 8.88. Kind of a check of the measurement.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lilolme

    I think its fairly close. I did re-run the tests a few minutes ago in a different manner that would eliminate some error, and got a 9.8g/ml value. I will state that my method is probably rather imprecise (probably +/- 0.4g/ml, though I have no idea), and I am using it to see if there is reason to send it off for an XRF test. What I really mean to say is that it's unlikely that we could find out what the metal is from my test.

    However, what I can be sure about is that it's not measuring the same as a normal copper cent when the same tests are done.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,105 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 18, 2022 4:11PM

    Normal copper cent specific gravity should be 8.84. So @FlyingAl measurement of 8.88 is pretty darn close. The fact that the 1942 proof cent in question measured at 10.17 strongly suggests this coin ain't copper.

  • lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks. That indicates 8.84 which agrees with the measured 8.88.

    So would go back to it is lighter 2.85 / 3.11 = .916
    But is more dense 8.84 / 10.17 = .869
    So about 80% of the nominal volume (.916 * .869)

    or
    nominal 3.11 / 8.84 = .352
    1942.... 2.85 / 10.17 = .280 (80% of nominal)

    Is it thinner?

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lilolme

    It appears to be a normal thickness for a proof cent but I don’t have another raw one to compare it with side by side so I’m going off of comparison to coins in slabs.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,531 ✭✭✭✭✭

    SG shows silver? Wow. Interesting for sure. Weirdo puzzle!

    bob :)

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), bobinvegas1989@yahoo.com
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,529 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A 1942-P Netherlands East Indies 1/4 Guilder is .720 fine silver which has a theoretical S.G. of 10.05. Diameter 19 mm.
    However, weight is 49.075 grains, or 3.18 grams. In color they look like a dingy Unc. War nickel, definitely silverish.
    This would have to be a lightweight foreign planchet that was given a light copper wash. The wash could happen during planchet preparation, OR if the coin was over dipped in used Jewelluster previously used to dip a lot of copper coins.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,529 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You need a precise S.G. I can do it for you if you pay the postage.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • DelawareDoonsDelawareDoons Posts: 3,233 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @CaptHenway said:
    You need a precise S.G. I can do it for you if you pay the postage.

    Take him up on this OP.

    Professional Numismatist. "It's like God, Family, Country, except Sticker, Plastic, Coin."

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DelawareDoons said:

    @CaptHenway said:
    You need a precise S.G. I can do it for you if you pay the postage.

    Take him up on this OP.

    I will. PM to be sent.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,725 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's still a cool example to own!

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:
    Quick update:

    The coin was sent to @CaptHenway for a specific gravity test, and he came up with 8.64g/ml, which is effectively normal (though a bit low). My test was probably conducted incorrectly, which led to the incorrect figures in my earlier posts.

    However, the weight of 2.85 was confirmed, so the coin is still struck on an underweight planchet. Still a somewhat interesting coin!

    almost any reason to work with some of our esteemed board members is indeed a good reason!

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,783 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LanceNewmanOCC said:

    @FlyingAl said:
    Quick update:

    The coin was sent to @CaptHenway for a specific gravity test, and he came up with 8.64g/ml, which is effectively normal (though a bit low). My test was probably conducted incorrectly, which led to the incorrect figures in my earlier posts.

    However, the weight of 2.85 was confirmed, so the coin is still struck on an underweight planchet. Still a somewhat interesting coin!

    almost any reason to work with some of our esteemed board members is indeed a good reason!

    I'll second that!! 👍🏻 👍🏻

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

  • tincuptincup Posts: 4,758 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Might not have turned out as you wanted... but interesting post!

    ----- kj

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