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  #1  
Old 09-14-2003, 08:08 PM
Seven Seven is offline
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A US 1997 100% zinc penny?

Here's the image..

http://www.tictokmen.com/seven/coins/odd-1997-penny.jpg

The scan doesn't show it real well but this penny is not made of copper -my guess is zinc.

In person, the redish/greenish colour is not so pronounced. It's more gray.

If you look at the bottom lower left closeup there is a chip or some decay on the edge of the coin. It looks like how aluminium acts when it corrods, which is how (I think) zinc looks when it corrods.

My first thought when I saw it was it had paint or some other gunk on it. I rinsed it under water and carefully tried to get under the "gunk" with a fingernail (I figured this coin is so messed up I couldn't hurt it much ). The "gunk" didn't budge. After I dried it and gave it a closer look I noticed there isn't gunk on it at all, I think it's just corroded.

Too bad it's so ugly. It would be a pretty cool coin otherwise.

Any ideas on this? Has anyone heard of 100% zinc pennies before?
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2003, 08:12 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Apparently it's a common mint error.
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2003, 09:55 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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IIRC.... a few zinc (or was it aluminum) pennies were made in 1996 as a test. It was during this period that copper prices were skyrocketing.

Anyway, some of these coins were circulated to congressweasels in charge of the mint. In all the excitement at least one of the coins went missing.

The mint sicced the FBI on the job, but they of course turned up nothing. The mint insists there will be hell to pay if the missing coins ever come up for sale.

They have never been seen publicly.
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Old 09-14-2003, 11:02 PM
Alereon Alereon is offline
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As Q.E.D.'s link mentions, since 1982, pennies have been solid zinc with a thin copper plating. It looks like someone just dissolved off most of the copper in this case, hence the corrosion and green/yellow color.

I have some Zinc-plated steel pennies from the 1940s (copper was being used in the war), the zinc flakes off in powder form and is quite nasty. That's one of the reasons they stopped making them.
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Old 09-14-2003, 11:05 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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You got a cite for that story, Paul? I can't imagine the government getting that uptight over a few missing pennies. Secondly, it's not the FBI in charge of investigating currency, it's the Secret Service, a division of the Treasury Department (though these days it's probably some arm of Homeland Security or somesuch).
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Old 09-14-2003, 11:28 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Q.E.D.
You got a cite for that story, Paul? I can't imagine the government getting that uptight over a few missing pennies. Secondly, it's not the FBI in charge of investigating currency, it's the Secret Service, a division of the Treasury Department (though these days it's probably some arm of Homeland Security or somesuch).
I think perhaps you're thinking "counterfeiting", as opposed to "theft from government facility". IIRC from my coin collecting days, the FBI was the agency of authority when Mint workers were suspected of taking home "samples" or "mint errors" for later re-sale.

While a few missing pennies doesn't sound like much, the Treasury Dept. has always had a very authoritarian attitude towards people taking money from them - a "zero tolerance policy". There have been stories (uncited) for years about how the TD has supposedly "threatened" people over trying to sell mint errors or rare coins where the chain of legal ownership from the Mint is vague or missing entirely. I do not know if anyone ever actually had any action taken against them.
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2003, 12:37 AM
Black Train Song Black Train Song is offline
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I have a "mint condition" (no pun intended) completely shiney zinc penny (1993). I've read that it's worth $100.00

coin site

Down bottom it gives prices for unplated pennies
Quote:
Completely unplated $100.
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2003, 01:31 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rooves
I have a "mint condition" (no pun intended)
But that's where the term "mint condition" comes from. Not from the herb.
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Old 09-15-2003, 02:42 AM
Seven Seven is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Q.E.D.
You got a cite for that story, Paul? I can't imagine the government getting that uptight over a few missing pennies. Secondly, it's not the FBI in charge of investigating currency, it's the Secret Service, a division of the Treasury Department (though these days it's probably some arm of Homeland Security or somesuch).
There is a story about the pennies here.

www.pcgs.com/articles/article1821.chtml

They made 1.5 million aluminums in 1973 (dated 1974). They were loaned out to goverment for inspection, most were returned, some were not.

It is my understanding they are not legal to own without permission from the government.

As for the Zinc penny, it does seem to be zinc (a Zincoln as it were ). You can't tell from the crap scan, but it had to have been struck that way. The detail in some areas are too sharp to have had the copper stripped.

I wish it were in better shape and not so ugly.

It makes a nice addition to my collection.
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  #10  
Old 09-15-2003, 08:11 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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(Gee, I am glad you people have a cite for my story. I certainly didn't.)
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  #11  
Old 09-15-2003, 08:33 AM
Governor Quinn Governor Quinn is offline
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Extending the story further...

Of the 1.5 million aluminum and zinc pennies made as a test, the only ones that survive are 14 that weren't returned by members of (I believe) the House Banking Committee, the one in the Smithsonian (not on display when I visited this summer), 8 that a steelworker picked up off the ground when they were being melted, and any that the Mint has kept for their own purposes.
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  #12  
Old 09-15-2003, 08:43 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Governor Quinn said

Quote:
Of the 1.5 million aluminum and zinc pennies made as a test, the only ones that survive are 14 that weren't returned by members of (I believe) the House Banking Committee, the one in the Smithsonian (not on display when I visited this summer), 8 that a steelworker picked up off the ground when they were being melted, and any that the Mint has kept for their own purposes.
Let's get it straight. The MInt struck Aluminum cents as a test in 1973. They did not strike zinc cents in 1973.


As to the current value of unplated zinc cents dated between 1982 and today:

We first started finding cents that had never gotten a plating of copper on their zinc core in late 1982/early 1983. They were a novelty at the time an were easy to sell for $100 of more.

I don't think that is the case today. The mint certainly learned over the years how to do better quality control on the plated cents we have used the last 21 years.

While I haven't checked ebay, I doubt that real unplated cents bring that much today. And, they can be faked.
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2003, 08:50 PM
Governor Quinn Governor Quinn is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by samclem

Let's get it straight. The MInt struck Aluminum cents as a test in 1973. They did not strike zinc cents in 1973.
I'm not sure where I've stored my coin-collector magazines, but I recall that the Mint struck both aluminum cents and zinc cents. (The zinc cents weren't as common as the aluminum cents.)

Of course, there's a chance that my memory is failing me, but I know for certain that there were two types of test cents made that year.
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2003, 09:16 PM
Governor Quinn Governor Quinn is offline
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I was wrong. The other metal used was brozen-coated steel.

(Interestingly, there were 66 1975 aluminum cents made.)
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  #15  
Old 09-16-2003, 01:27 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Quote:
(Interestingly, there were 66 1975 aluminum cents made.)
Governor. What magazine? did that come from? Who was the author? I'm not saying it's wrong, just interested in following up. And I don't have my books at home.

thx.
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  #16  
Old 09-16-2003, 01:50 AM
astro astro is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by samclem
Governor. What magazine? did that come from? Who was the author? I'm not saying it's wrong, just interested in following up. And I don't have my books at home.

thx.
http://uspatterns.com/uspatterns/p2084.html

http://www.uspatterns.com/uspatterns/1975.html
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