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Missing silver matters

There are still some hard copy club newsletters being sent to members. As a courtesy some of these clubs send me copies, which I much appreciate. I read through them when I get the chance.

The May issue of “Nashua Numismatist” from New Hampshire arrived on my desk the other day.

It featured a very interesting circulation finds report. The writer, who was not identified, unless I presume it is the editor, Randy Bullis, reported that he had purchased an old roll set collection of Jefferson and Buffalo nickels.

In it he found a 1944 nickel that lacks the large “P” mintmark atop the dome of Monticello, as war nickels of the time required.

He used this find to write up the story of the Henning counterfeit nickel, which he believes this piece to be. They turned up in large numbers in 1954 in New Jersey/New York.

The lack of a proper mintmark was the most obvious sign they were fake followed by the fact that they were made of nickel and steel and weigh 5.4 grams compared to the 5 to 5.1 grams for a genuine 35-percent silver coin.

The newsletter report says Francis Leroy Henning of Erial, N.J. was sentenced to three years in jail and fined $5,000 after being caught. It was also noted that he made his own nickels dated 1939, 1946, 1947 and 1953 as well as having previously been arrested for manufacturing his own $5 bills.

It is a great story. It is told concisely. It is for the benefit of club members.

All in all, it is just what should be in a club newsletter and I congratulate the club for having such a capable editor.

The details of the story are also told online at, though this is not a club related site.

Numismatics thrives on information. If it comes in the form of a fascinating story, all the better.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."