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Test shows pure copper in 1792 cent patterns

Numismatic scholarship has indicated that some cent patterns of 1792 were made of a mixture of copper and a tiny amount of silver.

Weinberg specimen top, Wolcott bottom (Photo credit: PCGS CoinFacts.)

Weinberg specimen top, Wolcott bottom (Photo credit: PCGS CoinFacts.)

Tests of three patterns shows them to be made entirely of copper, reports the Professional Coin Grading Service
Results of metallurgical testing on two different examples of the extremely rare 1792 pattern cent have just been announced. Both were shown to have been made of essentially pure copper instead of a “fusible alloy” containing copper and a small portion of silver.

“The results give a clearer picture of how the U.S. Mint experimented on the earliest American coins in preparation for official coining in 1793. At least three of the nine known 1792 cents originally designated as the Judd-2 variety now are confirmed to be composed of virtually pure copper,” said Ron Guth, President of PCGS CoinFacts (www.PCGSCoinFacts.com).

One of the recently tested Judd-2 cents has been owned by collector Alan Weinberg of California since 1988.

World coin collectors will want to check out the Chicago International Coin Fair, held April 15th to the 17th.

World coin collectors will want to check out the Chicago International Coin Fair, held April 15th to the 17th.

The other recently tested coin, graded PCGS VF-35, was unknown until 2004 when the Wolcott family from southwestern New York State brought their inherited coin to the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Pittsburgh, Pa.

A third Judd-2 1792 cent, confirmed to be pure copper, is in the American Numismatic Association Edward C. Rochette Money Museum collection, and graded good.

The search for a real Fusible Alloy cent continues. “Hopefully,” concluded Guth, “testing of the remaining 1792 cents will reveal the true nature of these remarkable coins.”

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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