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Cents look like copper coating is missing

Last week while searching through penny rolls, I found six pennies that have a pure zinc look to them. No copper coating at all. I have found very little information on this. One page said they might have slipped through the copper plating process. Please let me know what you think.


You submitted a scan of a 1996 Lincoln cent. I am assuming the other five are the same date and mintmark. Your coins could have been acid treated, they might have been struck on dime planchets, the coinage blanks might have had an abnormally thin copper coating, or they might be struck on zinc planchets that never received a copper coating. Someone needs to examine your coins to determine exactly what they are.

I have a circulated 2009 Lincoln cent that appears to be brass. Were brass cents made during 2009?

I can’t give a definitive answer without first seeing the coin, but it may be due to the plating process at the U.S. Mint. Zinc planchets are plated with copper; however; the solution is corrosive. Some of the zinc dissolves into the solution. As the same solution continues to be used, some of this zinc will plate with copper onto future planchets, leaving these planchets with a yellow, brassy appearance.

In general, I find the Lincoln/Memorial cent series to be unexciting. Are there rarities of which I am unaware?

The major cents to look for in this series are the 1969-S doubled die, 1970-S Small Date, 1984 doubled die, 1990-S No Mintmark in proof sets, and the 1995 doubled die. There are many minor varieties as well, but these are generally of more interest to specialists than to someone trying to complete a date and mintmark set.

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