1959 Jefferson Nickel Improperly Annealed Black Beauty HOW The distinctive and unique look of a black beauty comes from an improperly handled annealing process. Annealing is the process of heating up the planchet for it to be ready to be struck. The planchets are heated in a large furnace warmed by gas heaters to "relax" the metal alloy for the striking process. They are then rinsed to remove tarnish, which gives the nickel planchets the familiar shiny "BU" (Brilliant Uncirculated) finish. HISTORY At the Philadelphia Mint in 1959, a full batch of nickel planchets were left in the furnace too long during the annealing process. As a result the unique black appearance was created. In 1959 Baltmore used more nickels than any other city. Baltimore city received seven 15-ton shipments of nickels a year. There were 670 bags of nickels in each tractor-trailer load that backed up to the rear of the Federal Reserve Bank in Baltimore. How To Tell Them Note that color of these is not actually black but more of a dark gray. The color must run all the way through the coin/planchet look at edges Check any slight gouges, or nicks to make sure its not just another environmental damaged coin. They should also have luster. The ones with red are acid/envornmental/dugged/damaged coins often confused with Improperly Annealed ones.