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Change to Small Date deliberate

 Close-up views of the 1982-D Large Date cent (top) and the 1982-D Small Date cent (bottom).

Close-up views of the 1982-D Large Date cent (top) and the 1982-D Small Date cent (bottom).

Was the change made deliberately from a Large Date to a Small Date cent in 1982?

Cents made early in 1982 are primarily composed of copper, while the later issue is comprised of copper-plated zinc. The obverse die was modified to allow better strike detail on the copper-plated zinc coins.

What are Masonic pennies?

Masonic “pennies” are actually medals identifying the individual as a member of the Masons. Most of these identify the Masonic lodge and the member. The concept of a medal as a membership card likely began at a time the Masons were a clandestine society. Most are about the diameter of the large British pennies last struck in 1967. There are also Lincoln cents on which a Masonic symbol has been punched. These are souvenirs rather than membership medals.

I sent the cent to Sac dollar from two 2017 [225th Anniversary] Enhanced Coin sets (10 coins) to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation for grading. I was stunned when they all came back Specimen 70. I have had several coins over the years graded 70 but very rarely. Have you heard from others having great luck in having a large number of coins from these sets grade 70?

The NGC census report will indicate if Specimen 70 will be commonplace or not for coins from this set, but it is too soon right now to get sufficient statistics to draw this conclusion. Modern minting technology allows superior quality coins to be produced than was possible years ago, with -69 and -70 grade assignments becoming more commonplace for many recent issues.

Any explanation for why so many of our new Brilliant Uncirculated cents come to us with black spots on them? I have heard these called carbon spots perhaps from oil or lubricant in the dies or machinery. I have also read that the final process at the Mint includes a wash designed to remove such foreign matter.

Spots on cents, recent and older, are the result of environmental issues. Black spots appearing on recent U.S. cents fresh from the Mint are primarily due to contaminated planchets. An attempt to remedy is made through the rinsing process.

What is the difference between Brilliant Uncirculated and Mint State 60?

There is no difference between the two, one being the numeric equivalent of the other. BU also describes an MS61 or an MS62 coin. Select Uncirculated is MS63, Choice Uncirculated is MS64, Gem Uncirculated is MS65 and MS66, Superb Gem Uncirculated is MS67 to MS69, while Perfect Uncirculated is MS70.

How can I tell if a 1913 Liberty Head nickel is genuine or not?

There are five known examples. The ownership of each is available. It is extremely doubtful although not impossible a sixth could exist. Most commonly the date of a 1912 nickel is altered. If you think you’ve got the real thing I would recommend it being sent to a third-party certification service for verification. Excellent fakes exist.

How can I tell if a racketeer nickel is genuine?

It is simple to make your own racketeer nickel. All you need to do is gold plate a Liberty Head nickel. It is almost impossible to determine when such a nickel was plated. All are genuine nickels underneath, but which of those are contemporary to the 1880s and which are modern concoctions is the challenge. Nobody at the moment is attempting to collect originals that I am aware of. But if readers have better information, please send it in.

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More Collecting Resources

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .

• With nearly 24,000 listings and over 14,000 illustrations, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues is your go-to guide for modern bank notes.