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Firm put name on its reproduction

 An example of the Massachusetts Pine Tree shilling.

An example of the Massachusetts Pine Tree shilling.

I have a Massachusetts Pine Tree copper cent that has the word “Copely” on it. What is it?

It is a copy struck in 1960 by the Copely Coin Co. of Boston.

What is a “cogwheel” shilling?

The name is applied to an early copy of the Massachusetts Pine Tree shilling that has heavy lines forming the inner border, similar to the teeth of a gear. Two specimens are reported, one appearing in an 1864 sale.

Have there ever been any attempts to revive the 2- and 3-cent coins?

There have been several attempts over the years, primarily because of metal shortages or price problems. During World War II, proposals were advanced as a means of saving critical war materials for both a 2- and 3-cent coin. The idea was revived again in the mid-1970s when copper prices were threatening to make the cent cost more than its face value to produce. At that time, the then-chief engraver went so far as to produce a design for a new 2-cent coin, a model spotted in 1980 in his office in the Philadelphia Mint. There have been no recent attempts to revive these long-disused denominations, and continuing advances in noncash payments virtually guarantee no new attempts will be made

Were the zinc-plated steel cents of 1943 a serious problem as far as confusion with the dime was concerned?

Contemporary accounts indicate that the coins were something of a problem. One note of interest that does show that they were used by a few to make a profit was an item that was noted in the press at the time. The New York Post reported that the Third Avenue Railway company had been forced to install large magnets in the fare boxes to catch the “lead cents” that passengers tossed in an attempt to pay full fare with a single cent.

The 1943 zinc-plated steel cent was frequently mistaken for a dime. Wasn’t it supposed to have been issued with a hole in the center to avoid this confusion?

The problem didn’t make itself apparent until after the coin reached circulation, so while there was some popular sentiment for the coins to be modified, the idea of a hole in Lincoln’s head was worse, so the idea never was taken too seriously.

What did contemporary critics have to say about the Chain cent – or was it satisfactory?

Almost every coin issued by the U.S. Mint from day one has had critics, and the Flowing Hair Chain cents were certainly no exception. The complaint was made that the chain of 15 links represented bonds to England. The Liberty head was described as a “fright wig.” Liberty was said to be screaming in fear.

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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.

• More than 600 issuing locations are represented in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800 .