Seventeen experimental cents and tokens struck in glass during World War II to test the unusual composition for coinage were certified for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. They were to be part of a Heritage auction at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money held early August in Denver.
The U.S. Mint experimented in 1942 with a variety of alternative materials for cents because copper was needed for the war effort.
Pattern (or test) cents were struck in bronze, brass, zinc, zinc-coated steel, manganese, white metal, aluminum, lead, rubber, fiber, plastic and even glass. Ultimately, zinc-coated steel was selected for 1943 cents.
The glass patterns were created by Blue Ridge Glass Corporation of Kingsport, Tenn., using blanks supplied by Corning Glass Works and dies prepared by U.S. Mint engraver John Sinnock. The 1942-dated obverse was based on the then-circulating Columbia Two Centavos while the reverse featured a design proposed by Anthony Paquet in the 19th century.
The group certified by NGC includes nine pattern glass cents, of which seven are intact and two are fragments. All are struck on amber-colored glass blanks. The grades of the intact specimens range from NGC MS-62 to NGC MS-64 while the fragmented pieces were attributed but not graded. Numismatists were previously aware of just two Blue Ridge glass pattern cents, one of which was a fragment.
Also certified by NGC are eight glass tokens struck at the same time as the glass cents by the Blue Ridge Glass Corporation. Three of these were struck with a die depicting the factory and text BLUE RIDGE GLASS CORP. The others feature more modest design elements. The tokens have been graded MS-64 to MS-66 except two that are fragmented.
Roger W. Burdette, author of United States Pattern and Experimental Pieces of World War II, noted that Blue Ridge Glass employees carried glass blanks in their pockets, and they chipped, creating sharp edges. These experimental glass pieces have been cataloged by Burdette and will appear in the next edition of his book. NGC used Burdette’s catalog numbers.
View all 17 at NGCcoin.com/GlassCents.
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