Skip to main content

Date numbers mismatched on 1977 cent

 Recently I discovered that I have a 1977 cent that has the last two digits of different shapes. Is this unusual?

 Recently I discovered that I have a 1977 cent that has the last two digits of different shapes. Is this unusual?


When the Mint prepared the master die for 1977, they used the “197” from the previous year and added a “7” that was slightly different in shape. All of the 1977 cents have this feature, so it’s nothing unusual.

Why are there so many misspellings, reversed letters and other blunders on our Colonial coins?

You might say it was a lack of good help. At the time there were almost no places to learn engraving, as there were very few skilled artisans outside Europe. Since they were better paid than the average worker, there was little incentive for them to move to the Colonies.

When did the Whitman Journal cease publication?

December 1968 was the last issue I have a record of.

What is meant by “fining” a metal?

It means to make a metal, especially bullion, purer by the use of various methods to remove impurities or other metals that are alloyed with the bullion.

Years ago the post office sold half-ounce and 1-ounce gold medals. Were the sales of the medals a success?

My sources indicate that the post office sales were a flop, involving endless paperwork and dependence on the daily price of gold. Perhaps significantly, the U.S. Mint has not used the post office since.

Are you still collecting banana labels?

Sorry, but that was a previous conductor of this column, who apparently took his collection with him. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t collect them if the opportunity arose. I already have a shoe box of fruit box labels.

I happened upon a reference to a lenticular coin. What does that mean?

Actually, it’s a description of the coin shape. It’s round, like most other coins, but it is shaped like a lens, thick in the middle with a thin edge.

Was it legal for the Mint to strike 90 percent silver coins after Dec. 31, 1964?

The Coinage Act of 1965 ended silver coinage but specifically allowed coining silver after 1964, but with the 1964 date.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 44-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to