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March 24, 1970


Quite a stir was created in 1970 when it was discovered that cent coins were being minted with two different date sizes. Collectors began hunting for “small” date 1970-S cents.

Small Date Cents Also Found in Proof; 54 Rolls Plucked from Early Production

Hard in the heels of last week’s disclosure by the News that 1970-S cents have been minted with both large and small dates came a report from another source that the varieties have also been found in proof coins, and that a total of 54 rolls of the small date cents are known so far.

All examples of the small dates were gleaned from bags of coins released early by the mint, and it is not known if the mixed coins have been found in each bag, and sources estimate that less than one million small dates were struck before the die was changed.

According to spokesmen familiar with the discovery, the small and large date cents can be recognized more easily than the 1960 small and large dates. The 1970 small date shows a 15 to 20 per cent reduction from the large, and there are obvious differences.

Difference in size is best seen with the naked eye. A magnifier distorts the actual size of the date, but helps to show other variations in the striking.

On the small date, the figures in “1970” are almost perfectly aligned at the tops; the figures “9” and “0” are higher than the “1” and “7” on the large date, and the “0” on the large date, and the “0” is considerably nearer the edge of the coin than on the small date.

The word “Liberty” is clear and bold on the large date, but is flat and somewhat distorted on the small. The motto, too, shows variations. Reverse dies of bother coins are identical, as was true of the 1960 large and small date cents.