This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
>> Subscribe today!
Just because a proof coin isn’t shiny doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.
Some folks are taken aback by the lack of a mirror finish on the reverse of the 2010 Hot Springs silver proof quarter. They have called and written to Numismatic News wondering if the “rough and rippled” finish was a U.S. Mint error.
It is not.
“The background of that coin is not intended to be a mirror finish,” said Tom Jurkowsky, U.S. Mint director of public affairs. “It is supposed to be very slightly textured as it represents the sandstone building in the background.”
The National Park Service (NPS) logo is a prominent feature on the building, he said, and that is what shows to the right of the fountain.
“If the background were not textured, the NPS logo would appear to be floating in mid air,” Jurkowsky said.
Alan Hepler of Laytonsville, Md., noticed the difference in the coin’s finish, but wasn’t surprised.
“I went through the four I got from the Mint and I doubt the lack of a black mirror finish is an error,” he told NN. “All the others have it as they are showing skylines in the background. The Hot Springs has a wall or building as a backdrop and that is what is showing up as grainy. At certain angles, it goes to black. I doubt this would be an error.”
And Hepler is right.
This isn’t the first proof coin with a less than mirror-like finish. They are found on proof coins struck from 1908-1916, Peace dollars struck in 1921 and 1922 and some Jefferson nickels.
From 1909 to 1917, the Mint manufactured the Lincoln cent as a matte proof as well.