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Proof coinage move not part of plan

Wasn’t the present Philadelphia Mint (the fourth, constructed in 1969) intended to continue proof coinage?


Up until then, the Philadelphia Mint had struck almost all the proof coins issued. However, the coin shortage, capped with the failure of the roller-die press, caused a change in plans. The Special Mint Set production had already been shifted to San Francisco, which also had successfully struck proof coins for Panama. So the decision was made to convert San Francisco to proof production.

Were there any other changes in the Lincoln cent besides the 1969 revamping?

The modifications in 1969 are about the only major changes, other than the change to the Memorial reverse in 1959 and the reverse design changes in 2009 and 2010. By 1969, the master die had spread to the point that the motto was merging into the rim.

Changes in several other years amounted to minor touch ups, a regular practice every few years.

There were also some minor changes made during World War I that reflected new methods of making dies. A study of the series reveals that the most significant of these changes have been to Lincoln’s hair.

What is the purpose of the specific colors for the Olympic rings?

The colors are blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white field. These are the official colors for the rings, because one or more of the six colors appears in the flag of every nation on Earth. The five rings represent the five major continents.

Wasn’t there a case where a mismatched nickel obverse and reverse caught a spy?

While it sounds like a movie script, it actually happened. A box coin, a hollowed-out coin made from two nickels, was used by a Russian spy, Col. Rudolph Abel, to conceal microfilm.

The coin was accidentally given to a paperboy. He discovered what it was when he dropped the coin, which had been made from the obverse of a 1948 nickel and the reverse of a silver wartime nickel with large “P” mintmark. The boy contacted authorities. Abel was arrested and later was traded for Gary Powers, the U-2 pilot who was shot down over Russia. Perhaps you have seen the Tom Hanks movie about this bit of history.

When did B. Max Mehl issue his first catalog?

The famous Texas coin dealer issued his first fixed-price catalog in 1904. He had issued his first coin circular a year earlier.

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More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.

• 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.