100% Nickle 1951 S Penny

Discussion in 'Error Coins' started by Tom987, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. Tom987

    Tom987 New Member

    Over the past few months I have started looking for penny errors and interesting things like that. Recently I went to a market and came across a booth with lots of steel pennies. They where mostly all corroded and in real bad shape. Then I saw this one mixed in with them. I got it because it looked interesting and I thought it was in real great shape. Later when I got time to look at it more closely I saw the date of 1951 S. I did some research since I thought it was a steel penny with the wrong date on it. I came across several posts saying that most pennies that are like this are plated with mercury or nickle. I was a bit curious on this one so I did some extra testing. I first tested the weight which was 3.4 grams. This is way heavier than the steel penny which from my research seems to run at 2.7 grams. I also read that the plating that is normally found on the pennies do not add weight like that to a penny. I then tested to see if the penny was magnetic which all of the plated pennies I could find info about are not. I first started with a weak magnet which was highly attracted to the penny. After this i used a normal magnet which also stuck and was attracted to the penny. This was the biggest factor that was different from what I have seen elsewhere. It did not have the magnetic strength of a steel penny so I decided it was probably not a steel penny. I wanted to compare the magnetic properties of a similar coin so I tested it against a 100% nickle Canadian which showed the same level of magnetic properties as this penny.

    I want to get the penny verified but before I do does anyone know what a penny with this kind of an error would be worth? I looked everywhere trying to find a similar example on record and I could not find anything. Thank you for any information anyone has.
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Your coin was plated after it left the mint. It is not an error.
  4. Oldhoopster

    Oldhoopster It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Electroplating was a common science experiment done in high school chem labs starting in the late 50s (the increased emphasis on science education due to the Russian Sputnik launch). It was a great lab experiment since the students got to take their experimental sample home when they were done. I have picked up a few over my years of collecting and there are many questions in the archives from people who found plated cents. Search the archives for plated cents and compare them to your coin

    BTW: The US mint did not strike any pure nickel foreign coins in the 1950s, so it could not be struck on a foreign planchet
  5. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    The fellows above are absolutely correct. I have two in my junk coin box. I keep them there to prevent unsuspecting new numismatists from stumbling on them.
  6. Heavymetal

    Heavymetal Well-Known Member

    Likely nickel plated. We always used Canadian coins as donors here in Upstate NY. Gives a nice finish on old car, bicycle, motorcycle etc parts...cheaper than a chrome shop job
  7. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    It's plated. Welcome to CT.
  8. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Does a nickel planchet fit in the coining chamber for the pennies? ~ Chris
  9. tommyc03

    tommyc03 Senior Member

    I think Maynard Sundman, the founder of Littleton Coin Company was the first to make this widespread sometime in the late 40's. It was a gimmick to entice people to order their coin approvals through the mail. His son, who owns the business continues this old tradition along with Mystic Stamp Company, which they purchased.
  10. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Gross. I avoid anything Littleton. I have 2 things from them, one is a 2001 ASE that my grandpa bought from them and was passed down to me. The other is a Justinian II and Sofia Follis from Constantinople that I bought for $5 on ebay and it came with a Littleton tag.
    tommyc03 likes this.
  11. l.cutler

    l.cutler Member

    Agreed on the nickel plating. This would also account for the slight extra weight.
  12. Tom987

    Tom987 New Member

    Thank you for all of the replies. How would a nickle plated penny have magnetic properties when a standard nickle that only contains about 25% nickle shows no magnetic properties? Should there not be more nickle in the nickle than in the plating? I was curious about this and when I looked it up all of the information I could find stated that nickle is magnetic near 100% composition. This is why the Canadian nickle will stick to a magnet where a standard nickle will not. I'm just wondering how plating explains the magnetic properties because I have never come across a nickle plated quarter, nickle, or anything else that has stuck to a magnet. Coins are really a vast and interesting topic.
  13. Oldhoopster

    Oldhoopster It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    The 75Cu25Ni alloy used for U.S. Nickels and clad layers is not magnetic. 100% Nickel is magnetic. Just because a metal alloy has Ni, doesn't mean it has magnetic properties.
    furryfrog02 likes this.
  14. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    If your coin truly does stick to a magnet, please post a photo, or preferably a video of it doing so.

    The Zinc/Copper US Cent physically is not magnetic.
  15. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Pure nickel is highly magnetic. When alloyed with other metals it will retain some of its magnetic properties until the percentage of other metals exceeds about 11%. At that point the nickel alloy stops being magnetic. In the case of a plated coin, that is not an alloy. The plating is still pure nickel so it remains highly magnetic. It is the plating on the coin, not the coin itself, that is being attracted to the magnet.
  16. l.cutler

    l.cutler Member

    Pure nickel is magnetic, hence pure nickel plating is magnetic.
  17. Tom987

    Tom987 New Member

    Ok so I took a video of me holding a very thin weak magnet that I had on my fridge and testing it against the penny as well as the Canadian nickle, a nickle, and then quarter. The penny jumps to the weak magnet like the Canadian nickle does. I also did a very tiny Scratch test on the corner edge of the coin and could not see any copper coming through any possible plating.

    Here is the video i took

    Here is a video I found of someone intentionally plating a coin with nickle multiple times and then used a stack of neodymium magnets to pick it up.

    I am arranging to test the penny in a lab using a special electron microscope to non destructively determine the composition of the material.
  18. Tom987

    Tom987 New Member

    I have posted the video like you requested.
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