Can coins of two different sizes contain the same half-ounce of gold?
When it comes to First Spouse coins and the new gold Walking Liberty half dollar, the Mint says the answer is yes.
The question cropped up when Numismatic News reader Fred Korr sent this inquiry:
“There is a notable inconsistency in the gold content of the two 99.99% gold coins the U.S. Mint is offering this year.
“I have written to the U.S. Mint, which has been unwilling to admit there is a problem.
“The discrepancy in the specs of the two half-ounce gold coins is:
“a) Diameters (per U.S. Mint webpage)
First Lady 26.5mm
Walking Liberty 27mm
“b) Net gold purity (99.99% for both coins) and
“c) A notable difference (per U.S. Mint webpage) in the thickness of these two coins
“Walking Liberty 1/2 oz gold 2.16 mm
“First Lady 1/2 oz gold 1.88 mm”
“The Walking liberty is 15 percent thicker than the First Lady gold coin, which means it will contain 15 percent more gold.
“The Walking Liberty coin is also 0.5mm larger in diameter.
“So, if both coins are 99.99 percent gold, the Walking Liberty coin’s gold content will be about 15 percent more than the half ounce First Lady $10 gold coins.”
The Mint responded with the following explanation:
“The First Spouse and Walking Liberty gold coins use the same half-ounce, 24 karat planchet and thus are identical in weight and content. Differences in diameter and edge thickness are due to the specific die/collar configuration and the geometry of the design on the coin.”
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More Collecting Resources
• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2017 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.
• When it comes to specialized world paper money issues, nothing can top the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Specialized Issues .