Skip to main content

Cent shares design element with $5 note

Do the $5 Federal Reserve Notes and the Lincoln cent have something in common? Both have the Lincoln Memorial on the back, or reverse. On both it’s difficult to see the statue, especially on a cent from worn dies.

Do the $5 Federal Reserve Notes and the Lincoln cent have something in common?

Lincoln Cent

Both have the Lincoln Memorial on the back, or reverse. On both it’s difficult to see the statue, especially on a cent from worn dies.

In a question you discussed the problem of counting reeds on the edge of a coin. What about an optical comparitor?

Several people suggested the comparitor, which I’m familiar with. However, while it’s possible to pick up a used one fairly cheaply, it would probably be beyond the means or needs of virtually every collector. It’s more of a tool for the dedicated specialist or someone who is doing a lot of authentication work.

Are there coins with the wrong number of reeds?

Unfortunately there has been very little research in this area. We do know that reeding was standardized in 1964. Prior to that, there are several listings, including the 1921 Morgan dollars with abnormal reeding of 157 (normal is 188), the 1876-CC quarter with a normal 119, or those with 153 fine reeds. Almost without exception, New Orleans dimes have 103 reeds while most contemporary Philadelphia-struck dimes have 113 or, for those between 1855 and 1860, 121 reeds.

I have a reeded edge 1909 cent. Is this a pattern?

Sorry, but it’s an alteration. No modern reeded circulation cents or nickels were ever issued from the U.S. Mint.

Would you please explain edge die slippage that would cause letters to be missing on a lettered edge planchet or coin?

The stated cause in the past has been edge die slippage in contact with the planchet or in the drive. After years of discussion, the cause has been assigned to faulty installation of the edge dies, allowing their impressions to overlap.

Didn’t the Mint propose a change in the alloy of the nickel a few years ago?

The proposal was contained in a study commissioned by the Mint, but never officially endorsed, that would have changed the proportion of the 75-25 percent copper-nickel alloy to 93-7 percent to use the scrap from the clad coin metal strip. The same 1970s study recommended the mini-dollar (the only major change actually instituted) and elimination of the cent and half dollar.

Has there ever been any official action toward doing away with the cent?

Treasury Secretary William Simon in a report to Congress at the end of his term recommended eliminating the cent and the half dollar and reducing the size of the Ike dollar.

Why did the original ANACS move to Colorado Springs, Colo.?

At the time it was part of the American Numismatic Association. The intent of the Washington location was to be close to the Mint lab and Smithsonian, but neither had a major role in authenticating or grading, so it was cheaper to be under one roof.

Did Chief Engraver John Sinnock do any Presidential medals?

He is credited with doing them for Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

What ever happened to the new mint they were building at Denver?

A new Denver Mint was planned in the early 1970s, but it never reached the building stage. Although a site was purchased, Congress failed to appropriate the money to construct it, and the building plans were cancelled. Since then they have added a die shop so that Denver can make its own dies.

I was recently offered a U.S. coin die. Can I legally buy it and keep it in my collection?

Someone at the General Services Administration had a mental lapse and sold several hundred dies to a scrap metal dealer in 1969, and he in turn sold them to several coin dealers, so the dies have been sold to collectors all over the country. They were an embarrassment, as some had as much as 40 percent of the face intact and at least a couple were used to strike fake minting varieties, but the sale was legal and possession remains legal. Recently more dies have been sold, but they have had the entire face ground off so there is no design left.

Email inquiries only. Send to Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions.

More Coin Collecting Resources:

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin Books & Coin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition