Rarest of all Jefferson Nickels?
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I was so confused at first, and had to figure this out in my brain, maybe I have it and maybe I don’t. hm

 

Here’s the statement:

 

The rarest of all the Jefferson nickels is the 1942-S with the reverse of the 1941.

This unique coin (1 known) was actually found in a group of circulated coins in

1961.

 

Here’s the stats:

 

1941-S 75% copper, 25% Nickel 43.5 mil, Small mint mark “S” next to Monticello on reverse.

 

1942 75% copper, 25% Nickel 0 (zero) minted in San Francisco, none made.

 

1942-S 56% copper, 35% silver, 9% manganese 32.9 mil Large mint mark “S” above dome of Monticello rev.

 

So, the 1942-S with the reverse of 1941 is minted from the silver war time alloy, but has the small mink mark next to Monticello…do I have this right?

 

Anybody have any additional information on this unique Jefferson?

 

Reference Link

 

 

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I vaguely remember this being found and have read about it since.

 

As I recall there was initially some skepticism of its authenticity but was soon accepted. The coin is a nice high grade VF and was found out west maybe. Perhaps Iowa or Nebraska.

 

This sort of thing probably happens at the beginning of the year when the dies are being changed. Both reverse and obverse dies are supposed to be changed but the technician can get confused and think he's already changed the reverse when he hasn't. This is "common" on moderns where the reverse design change is fairly subtle. On the '42-s ag the technician probably noticed it after a few test strikes and one of these coins ended up in the product stream.

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There may be some other rare or unique Jeffersons.

 

I wouldn't rule out the possibilty of a proof from the SMS years. There's also a possibility that the '66 coins presented to Schlagg are identifiable.

 

Reverse design changes are common throughout the series so more exanmples of this type from the beginning of the year are possible.

 

There are also special finishes and the like though none of these might rise to the level of a type, variety, or mule.

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Since I have your attention, how do I tell the difference from a 1964 SMS and a proof?

 

CoinFacts:

 

The finest Uncirculated SMS non-Full Step example graded by PCGS is a single MS-68.

 

The finest Uncirculated SMS Full Step examples graded by PCGS are 5 MS-68's.

 

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The '64 SMS's I've seen pictures of have a more grainy appearance almost matte. Proofs are brilliant.

 

I'm not extremely familiar with these.

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They did not issue proofs in SMS date years. A 1964 SMS nickel does not look like a proof, at least none that I have seen do.

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My question might have been a bit confusing, so I will explain.

 

Traditional proof sets that we are accustomed to were issued from 1936-1942 then resumed in 1950 thru 1964. No proof sets were issued in 1965, 1966 & 1967 and resumed again in 1968 to present.

 

During the three year period from 1965, 1966, 1967 the Mint issued Special Mint Sets (SMS) Supposedly, there were some Special Mint Set coins minted in 1964 and collectors got a hold of them and we now have coins graded & labeled 1964 SMS…that was my question, how do I tell the 1964 SMS from the proof issued ones?

 

Heritage Link

These images appear to be scans, not well defined.

Edited by WoodenJefferson

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For those of you who are interested in 1964 SMS coins strikes, there is some on going research ATS. I don't usually link from the beyond, but this is interesting coin stuff here.

 

Link-a-fied

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Actually, I just received information about this coin from Mr. Ken Frith in the mail. He is the gentleman credited with discovering the coin in 1961.

 

It is made of the pre-war composition with the "S" small and to the right of Monticello. Mint records show that all 1942-S nickels were "war time" nickels with the "S" above the dome of Monticello.

 

I have copies of correspondence from Don Taxay and Walter Breen confirming that it is an authentic mint strike.

 

It was auctioned off in New York by the Schulman Coin and Mint, Inc. on June 29, 1973 and brought $1,850.

 

Mr. Frith also told me that someone had recently informed him that he had seen the coin at the Baltimore Show last year and the owner had it priced at about $175,000.00.

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I suggest the coin be authenticated using modern methods. Breen's authentications have not proven to be particularly reliable.

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Actually, I just received information about this coin from Mr. Ken Frith in the mail. He is the gentleman credited with discovering the coin in 1961.

 

It is made of the pre-war composition with the "S" small and to the right of Monticello. Mint records show that all 1942-S nickels were "war time" nickels with the "S" above the dome of Monticello.

 

I have copies of correspondence from Don Taxay and Walter Breen confirming that it is an authentic mint strike.

 

So, the one specimen from 1942 with a small "S" mint mark next to Minticello is made from 75% copper, 25% Nickel with 0 (zero) reported minted in San Francisco, none made, but yet one exsists...is that correct?

 

Welcome to the forum esduke...it would be nice to read some of that correspondence.

 

 

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That is correct. I have copies of letters from Don Taxay, Walter Breen, and Michael Kolman authenticating the coin, as well as a copy of an article that ran in the New York Times about the coin.

 

I also have a copy of the page listing the coin in the auction catalog of Schulman Coin & Mint, Inc., along with a photograph. The photo is not very good, but you can make out the mint mark.

 

I plan to add some or maybe all of these items to my website in the near future. I found your question about the coin when I noticed a few days ago that my site kept getting hits that were generated from here and I was curious.

 

By coincidence, I also received an email from Mr. Frith about the same time. He had also seen the short bit about the coin on my site and asked if I would be interested in the documentation he had. He has also given me written permission to use the information as I see fit.

 

Anyway, I hope to have it up on the site in a few days, and I will post here again when it is up.

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Welcome to the Board esduke. What a way to make an entrance. I for one hope you continue to post here. Any input you have, and it appears you have a ton of it, will be greatly appreciated. (thumbs u

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Actually, I just received information about this coin from Mr. Ken Frith in the mail. He is the gentleman credited with discovering the coin in 1961.

 

It is made of the pre-war composition with the "S" small and to the right of Monticello. Mint records show that all 1942-S nickels were "war time" nickels with the "S" above the dome of Monticello.

 

I have copies of correspondence from Don Taxay and Walter Breen confirming that it is an authentic mint strike.

 

It was auctioned off in New York by the Schulman Coin and Mint, Inc. on June 29, 1973 and brought $1,850.

 

Mr. Frith also told me that someone had recently informed him that he had seen the coin at the Baltimore Show last year and the owner had it priced at about $175,000.00.

 

 

Thanks for the info. My memory was pretty far off on this one.

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I vaguely remember this being found and have read about it since.

 

As I recall there was initially some skepticism of its authenticity but was soon accepted. The coin is a nice high grade VF and was found out west maybe. Perhaps Iowa or Nebraska.

 

This sort of thing probably happens at the beginning of the year when the dies are being changed. Both reverse and obverse dies are supposed to be changed but the technician can get confused and think he's already changed the reverse when he hasn't. This is "common" on moderns where the reverse design change is fairly subtle. On the '42-s ag the technician probably noticed it after a few test strikes and one of these coins ended up in the product stream.

 

This is exactly what the letter from Michael Kolman mentioned. His authenticator, Myron Zadowski believed that the San Francisco mint employees changed out the obverse die getting ready for the 1942 coins but a reverse die that was used in 1941 was left in the same die holder. For some reason they tried it out with some regular nickel planchets left over from 1941. Then they switched it out for the new silver content planchets and the few struck with "S" to the right of Monticello were left in the hopper and were mixed with the new silver content coins.

 

Who know, there could be some more of these floating around out there.

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Does your documentation specify the time line for use of the old and new design reverse dies? Has the piece been authenticated by NGC or PCGS?

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Does your documentation specify the time line for use of the old and new design reverse dies? Has the piece been authenticated by NGC or PCGS?

 

No, I don't have any sort of time line concerning the dies. I doubt that any one knows when this might have happened, except that it was obviously early 42.

 

My documentation only goes through 1973, when the coin was in Ken Frith's possession, and it had not been authenticated by NGC or PCGS at that time. I don't know where the coin is now, but Ken did tell me that he had received a phone call from someone who had seen it in the Baltimore Show last year with an asking price of $175,000.00

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I am very skeptical of claims of a genuine copper-nickel or silver alloy 1942-S five cent coin with the mintmark at the side of Monticello existing. Sometimes, things are not quite so obvious as it might seem. Please note the following passage in a letter dated October 8, 1942 by acting director Leland Howard to E. H. Hammond, Copper Branch, War Production Board. (Quotations in italics and underlining added for emphasis.)

 

…in compliance with the Second War Powers Act, on September 11, 1942, approved the alloy for the five-cent coin to be 35% silver, 9% manganese, and 56% copper, thus saving all of the nickel and more than one-fourth of the copper formerly used in this denomination. Because the coinage of the five-cent piece practically ceased early in March, and none has been executed since May, unfilled orders have piled up and there is an urgent heavy demand on the Mint….

 

To differentiate silver nickels from normal ones a simple expedient was adopted as noted in a letter dated September 14, 1942 to F. J. Haggerty, Superintendent Philadelphia Mint from director Ross:

 

…The engraver at Philadelphia is instructed to place a Mint Mark somewhat larger than usual, directly over the dome of Monticello, on the reverse of the new coin.

 

Production of silver nickels began about October 10 and was limited to Philadelphia and San Francisco because they had annealing furnaces capable of handling the new alloy. The SF Mint was extremely stressed for presses, and was under pressure to use every available press to strike coins for circulation and for foreign customers. It seems very unlikely that dies would have remained in a press, unnoticed for ten months, or that old dies would have been available to the die setters.

 

Further, San Francisco didn’t produce five-cent coins in the first months of 1942; it last struck nickels dated 1941. So any reverse die with a mintmark to the side of Monticello dated 1942 would have to have come from 1941 leftovers. Also, there are at least two sizes of mintmark on genuine 1941-S nickels – which variety is the coin in question?

 

OK, so what is the coin mentioned by esduke?

 

Henning counterfeits (1939, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1953) and 1927 Indian nickel fakes are well known. The 1930s through 50s were prime time for counterfeiting nickels. The coins were easy to fake, so common that people rarely examined them closely, and still had meaningful purchasing power. Contemporary newspapers and official documents mention the capture of counterfeiters specializing in nickels. There were likely many others who escaped capture or made a few thousand 1942-S pieces then switched to black market tires, or butter, or silk stockings.

 

Based on documentation (summarized above), the item in question has a greater likelihood of being a good fake, than of being the product of a US Mint.

 

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This would not fool the authenticators if it were a cheap knockoff counterfeit like the henning nickels. These are very poorly executed and wouldn't fool anyone.

 

If it's a counterfeit then it was intended specifically to fool the numismatic market.

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1. Henning nickels of various dates and other fakes circulated for years.

2. According to esduke the item has not been authenticated using modern techniques or knowledge.

3. From documentary information, the likelihood of it being a product of the San Francisco Mint is extremely small.

 

Draw you own conclusion.

 

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1. Henning nickels of various dates and other fakes circulated for years.

2. According to esduke the item has not been authenticated using modern techniques or knowledge.

3. From documentary information, the likelihood of it being a product of the San Francisco Mint is extremely small.

 

Draw you own conclusion.

 

 

I really appreciate your taking the time to assemble and post the information. It and your analysis is all most interesting but I don't find your conclusions especially convincing.

 

Mintages were up a little from 1941 mintages in San francisco but they were up substantially more in 1943. This would imply that unless they got presses from elsewhere they were not straining against capacity so nickel presses sitting idle with dies in them a few months isn't out of the question. I have some respect for Myron Z's expertise in these matters. He was still around just a few years ago and may be yet.

 

It's not plausible that someone making nickels for profit could make any of such quality as to fool these experts. Yes, it's entirely possible that someone would set out to fool the experts and succeed but then you have to wonder how the coin got in circulation.

 

I would strongly agree with you that there is something a little fishy here. Specifically how a cu/ ni planchet would be available after the obverse die was changed. But even here there are possibilities. This could be another "practical joke" akin to the WI quarters. It's not at all unusual for old planchets to get into the workings of the press. Perhaps the technician found one such planchet and struck it before changing the reverse die.

 

I'd have to see the coin to have a solid opinion on the matter but in a vacuum it seems more believable it's real than anything else.

 

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Without evidence that the item is legitimate, and given the production timeline and operations at the San Francisco Mint at the time, the supposition that the item is authentic is illogical. An old hearsay “authentication” is worthless – whether it is Walter Breen, Myron Zadowski, or anyone else. They lacked the expertise and knowledge base that PCGS and NGC have, and had no knowledge of the timeline or circumstances at the San Francisco Mint at that time.

 

As for “old planchets getting into the workings of a press,” it is clear this has happened on occasion. Assuming the unlikely scenario of a CuNi planchet sticking in a press that was in use for 10 months, it would still have been struck by a large mintmark die, not one that had been obsolete for 10 months. The comment “…perhaps the technician found one such planchet and struck it before changing the reverse die” looks straight through the fact that SF did not strike nickels after December 1941, so any “found planchet” piece would have been from large mintmark dies.

 

“…But in a vacuum it seems more believable it's real than anything else…” is a surprising comment – much contemporary information (as previously outlined) fills your “vacuum” yet you deny its existence, preferring to grasp at windblown smoke.

 

Trapping yourself in an old tale and wishful thinking will not change the 10 month delay in SF producing nickels in 1942. Neither will it change the very heavy foreign and domestic production demands and shortage of workers experienced by the SF Mint. (This is well documented in a multitude of letters and telegrams in the SF Mint operating records archive at NARA. Equipment did not sit idle with an old die stuck in it.) The attempt to “put your finger on the scales” to balance a “story” against facts only reinforces the weakness of any claim that the item is a product of the San Francisco Mint.

 

I understand the psychology of institutional myth and how much easier it is to simply accept it, than to investigate. It makes a great human interest story for Walter Breen to claim George Morgan made low relief Peace dollar hubs by smashing the high relief hubs with a board. Likewise, it is fun to have Charles Barber as the obstructionist villain of the Saint-Gaudens gold coins. Yet, on examination, these and many other numismatic myths turn out to be nothing more than oft-repeated fabrications, or opinions and speculation turned into “sacred received enlightenment” by commercial interests.

 

I agree that the item is "fishy" although I suspect it is a much older and aromatic fish than you propose.

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I understand the psychology of institutional myth and how much easier it is to simply accept it, than to investigate. It makes a great human interest story for Walter Breen to claim George Morgan made low relief Peace dollar hubs by smashing the high relief hubs with a board. Likewise, it is fun to have Charles Barber as the obstructionist villain of the Saint-Gaudens gold coins. Yet, on examination, these and many other numismatic myths turn out to be nothing more than oft-repeated fabrications, or opinions and speculation turned into “sacred received enlightenment” by commercial interests.

 

Haha, hadn't heard the one about Morgan before. So what did he use, some Brazilian Ironwood? Would take one mighty sturdy board to reduce the relief of some dies :lol:

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Morgan didn't use anything. De Francisci made new low relief models in early February 1922. Apparently, Walter Breen invented the board story, much as he made Charles Barber into a rogue.

 

Morgan’s skill in cutting the broken sword out of the master hub saved the Peace dollar from failure. His work was completely unknown until Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921 was published in 2005.

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There were relatively few foreign coins struck in San Francisco in 1942 as well. There were the East Indies coins but I'm confident production ramped up after 1942 significantly. Perhaps they were able to find more presses and capacity.

 

I'm not saying you're wrong, merely that the case isn't stong. Just as myth has been known to outlast the truth so has conjecture.

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Physics-fan3.14. Sorry. The Ironwood flew right over my head – good double pun, too!!!

 

Cladking.

Re: SF Mint conditions. There were large coinages for Australia and Fiji and possibly some others - but I'll not trust my poor memory on that. It is difficult to ignore letter after letter from the SF Superintendent complaining about insufficient staff, not enough presses, not enough M&R workers, etc. This does not start in 1942, but begins in 1937 and continues through the beginning of 1946. SF often worked 3 shifts or 2 12-hour shifts - and were still chided by Director Ross for insufficient production. In late 1942 and throughout 1943 they hired high school boys to run presses on weekends because they couldn't hire enough adults at the wages the government was paying. (There were also large quantities of gold coin shipped to the US from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Mexico and India that had to be melted into bars. With little capital investment during Coolidge and Hoover administrations, all the mints were out of date when Director Ross took office. )

 

Re: Alleged nickel. At this point, there isn't any objective information demonstrating that the item could have been produced at the SF Mint under any reasonable set of circumstances. The current owner should establish its authenticity using modern standards.

 

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1942 S mint coins struck for other countries

Australia 22 million coins

Fiji 2.5 million coins

Netherlands East Indies 107 million coins

Peru 8.2 million coins

 

Total 139.7 million coins

 

Considering they made 157.3 million US coins that year the foreign coins amounted to 47% of the mints production that year, I doubt they would leave a press standing idle with a nickel die in it for 10 months.

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