Some interesting coins of  The United States  of
America
By Joel A. Burdick


The Sacagawea Dollar coin depicts Indian guide Sacagawea in three-quarter profile carrying her infant son Jean Baptiste, who was born early in the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Modeling her likeness for
the coin's engraver is American Indian Randy'L He-dow Teton.
 Sacagwea was a guide on the Lewis and Clark Expedition as they explored the Louisianna Purchase which doubled the size of America at the time. Notice on the reverse image of the coin that there are 17 stars surrounding the American Bald Eagle and not the usual 13 stars (one for each of the original 13 colonies). At the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804, there were 17 States in the Union.
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Lincoln penny, heads
Lincoln penny, tails

The 1943 Steel Lincoln Cent. Because of the scarcity of copper needed during the Second World War, Lincoln cents ("pennies") were minted from zinc-coated steel. All three U.S. Mints made them. The Philadelphia Mint created over 684 million,
the Denver Mint created over 217 million and the San Francisco Mint made over 191 million steel cents.  Prior to this and returning the following year, U.S. pennies were made from a copper-alloy. The zinc-coated steel, not being 'compatible' metals, quickly eroded their shiney coatings under humidity and many suffered 'reprocessing' to regain their distinctive shiney 'dime-like' coatings of zinc. The zinc coating's lack of longeveity may be why the steel pennies earned the disdainful and enduring nickname of being 'lead pennies'.

 Corroded steel cents looked like lead, and their fall from favor probably also contributed to copper-alloy pennies returning the following year... Several genuine copper-alloy cents were minted in 1943 however. It is said that several copper planchets ("blanks") were leftover from the previous year, in an 'attached hopper', and were thus stamped and circulated. Today, they would be VERY valuable, if proven to be genuine. Fakes exist. Copper-coated steel pennies are known to exist. I have one that was purchased from a 'novelty shop' and sold openly as such (a novelty).

  Being made of steel, this 1943 'copper penny wanna-be' is only worth a few dollars. Collectors should be aware that these can be faked. A genuine copper-alloy 1943 penny is highly valuable. A test for copper-coated steel pennies is simply to apply a magnet. A genuine copper penny will not be attracted to the magnet, but the steel penny will.  Another trick to create a fake 1944 copper-alloy cent as being 'zinc-coated steel' is to place a few drops of liquid mercury on the penny. The mercury will eventually 'soak into' to copper, permanently colorizing the copper into looking very steel-like...
  In 1944, the copper-alloy pennies returned, although all three U.S. Mints erred and struck undisclosed (presumeably small) numbers of cents on those zinc-coated steel planchets and once again, these were leftovers from the previous year.


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