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‘Lead’ common nickname for 1943 cents


What was the most popular nickname for the zinc-plated steel cents of 1943?
Contrary to some published reports that they were widely called “silver,” “steel” or even “zinc” cents, by far the most common slang term for them was “lead” cents. The public equated them to the still common lead counterfeits of the Depression years.

Why did dealers offer 13-coin “sets” of the SBA dollars? I count only 12 coins in a full set (circulation strikes).
The 13th coin was added so that the common reverse can be displayed with all the obverses. Counting the proofs, plus the extra two mintmark varieties and the 1979 near and far date, a set actually could include a total of 16 coins plus the reverse.

What’s a Black Dogg?
This was the nickname for the French Cayenne sous that circulated in the U.S. colonies in the 1700s. They were intended for New France but spread into other areas despite an aversion to copper coins, possibly the cause for the nickname. More than 500,000 were struck but only 8,000 circulated in New France, the remainder being returned. At the time they passed for two pennies.

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Please explain what the “copperheads” were?
Dissenters on the Union side during the Civil War formed a number of secret organizations that in one way or another aided the Confederate cause. Members used a cut-down large cent showing just the head as a means of identification, and from this came the term, “copperheads.”

Today dealers talk about “raw coins,” the ones that haven’t been encased in slabs, but what did the old-time dealers mean by a “virgin coin?”
A virgin coin in years past was a coin that had never been cleaned and thus was in its original condition, as modified by any wear. There is ample evidence that leaving coins alone and not trying to clean them will enhance their value, but this is a point that newcomers to the hobby learn usually only after they have made the mistake of ruining some of their coins by cleaning them.
n What is a “force die”?
A force is actually more of a punch than a die, although they are similar in that the design on both the die and the force is incuse, or into the face of the tool. The term is probably pretty much obsolete, but it was once used to describe a tool that was classed as an embossing punch, as its use left a raised design on the metal being worked.

What is a “crippled” coin?
Usually applied to rarities, this is a coin that has been damaged but is collectible as an example of the particular coin, following the theory that a bad coin is better than no coin at all.

Another term that confuses me is “die suction” or “suction marks” on a coin. Can you help?
There are still many outmoded and obsolete reference works around. Some early “experts” worked on the mistaken theory that coins were minted on molten metal and that the dies would stick, or “suck,” when pressure was released, causing the marks that today are recognized as die damage, or clash marks from contact with the opposing die.

What was, or is, “country pay?”
Very often corn and other grains and tobacco were used in lieu of money in Colonial times. With coins short, it could even be used to pay taxes. The term continued in use and may still be used in some parts of the eastern seaboard.

Did the Mint understand the term “pattern” to mean the same thing as it does to collectors?
It all depends. The Mint Director in 1874, James P. Kimball, claimed that the only legitimate patterns were the proofs of the first year of an adopted design, attempting to outlaw the many true patterns that his predecessors had been selling to collectors.

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