Skip to main content

Coin Clinic: Is There Any Way to De-Whiz Coins?

I have a sealed mint bag of Denver cents, dated Nov. 11, 1982. Would the coins be the small or the large-date variety?

They are probably the small date. Denver stopped striking the zinc large-date cents late in October. It would be best if you took them out of the bag and used a neutral solvent to clean off the oil and dirt. Bags are at the bottom of the list of storage media and in all too many cases wind up as a bitter disappointment for the bag’s owner because they offer such poor protection for the coins.

Is there any way to de-whiz coins?

No way. Once whizzed, always whizzed. The name applies to a coin that has been altered by some method, such as using a wire wheel, which removes metal or moves it about on the coin. It’s the same as cleaning a coin, as both leave marks that are unmistakable to the trained eye.

Does the softer metal in an alloy wear faster than the other metals?

When an alloy is properly mixed, the metal wears evenly.

Was there some specific limit on the amount of wear that a U.S. gold coin could have before it became unacceptable?

The figure was set at one half of 1 percent of the weight of the coin over a 20-year period or prorated for lesser periods. Coins with more wear than this were discounted, the final owner standing the loss. On silver coins, any such loss was borne by the Treasury.

Is it possible that I have a partially-plated zinc cent? I’ve heard of full un-plated ones, but not partials.

The plated coins turned up in all percentages of missing copper plating, so yours is just one of the group. The catch is that you must have your coin authenticated so that there’s no question of the plating having been removed with acid.

Supposedly there is a miniature Morgan dollar dated 1921 that was struck in solid gold. Do you have any information about it?

I have been unable to find any reference to such a piece, whether made at the Mint or outside. Perhaps a reader can help.

Were any of the war nickels accidentally struck on a copper-nickel alloy planchet?

Several of them have been reported over the years. One that is documented is a 1943-P that Bowers and Ruddy sold in 1974 for $1,450.