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#1
Old 08-14-2009, 10:57 PM
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Counterfeit penny?

I have a penny that's not like the others. (On the right.) It sounds very subtly wrong when I drop it. The edge is rounded and made greyish base metal that wraps around and covers a tiny bit of "United States of America". The color is off, and the images are in very crude relief compared to the genuine article.

It's dated 1998 and weighs 2.46 grams when it should weigh 2.5. When I grab the edge with pliers, it scrapes off easily to reveal a bright and silvery base metal. No seam, even when I scraped off a full section of the edge.

So it's not a spy coin or a smuggling coin or an obvious magic trick, but what is it? I can't imagine that anyone would bother to fake a penny in 1998, but it looks like someone did.

#2
Old 08-14-2009, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wunderkammer View Post
So it's not a spy coin or a smuggling coin or an obvious magic trick
Are you sure? I used to buy a gimmick from magic shops where a fake dime would fit in a fake penny and I'd spend them on accident. Throw it hard on a table or shake it in a glass and see if it comes apart.
#3
Old 08-14-2009, 11:07 PM
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Looks like a penny that has tumbled around inside a washer or dryer for a long time. When it bounces around while tumbling it keeps impacting on edges and the rim becomes rounded and flared. This exposes the zinc inside the coin.
#4
Old 08-14-2009, 11:08 PM
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Maybe something like this:
Quote:
This coin was at one time encased in a "Lucky Penny" token. ther rim looks like that due to the crimping of the aluminum ring to it.
http://cointalk.com/t53182/

I expect the 'greyish base' metal is the zinc alloy which pennies are now made of.
It should melt over a gas stove.
#5
Old 08-14-2009, 11:08 PM
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Pennies have been mostly zinc, with a copper plating, since 1982. Yours looks like it had the rim scraped somehow.
#6
Old 08-14-2009, 11:24 PM
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Hmm. I'm thinking that the tumbled edge explanation is most likely at this point. I never imagined that tumbling could roll the edge like that, but it seems to be zinc (I scratched another newish penny, and it matched pretty well).

Hurling it at the floor a few dozen times didn't do anything.

I was really hoping for a cyanide tablet or a microfilm dot or some tiny guerrilla art, though. *sigh*
#7
Old 08-14-2009, 11:41 PM
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I one had a handful of coins retrieved from inside a washer or dryer that had been tumbling around in there for a long time. I don't mean in the the tub with the clothes, but the coins had fallen between the tub and the casing, possibly near the motor shaft (forgot the details). All those coins had rounded edges like the penny in the OP. The most extreme was a penny with a very flared edge and had been reduced to the diameter of a dime.
#8
Old 08-15-2009, 04:16 PM
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Besides, who the heck would want to go to the trouble of counterfeiting a penny?
#9
Old 08-15-2009, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlondikeGeoff View Post
Besides, who the heck would want to go to the trouble of counterfeiting a penny?
In of itself a penny isn't worth much, but if it's a misprinted penny from the mint (or thought to be) it's worth a lot to collectors (that is if it is a genuine real misprint)

So you fake a penny and hope to pass it off as a misprint
#10
Old 08-15-2009, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wunderkammer View Post
I have a penny that's not like the others. (On the right.) It sounds very subtly wrong when I drop it. The edge is rounded and made greyish base metal that wraps around and covers a tiny bit of "United States of America". The color is off, and the images are in very crude relief compared to the genuine article.

It's dated 1998 and weighs 2.46 grams when it should weigh 2.5. When I grab the edge with pliers, it scrapes off easily to reveal a bright and silvery base metal. No seam, even when I scraped off a full section of the edge.

So it's not a spy coin or a smuggling coin or an obvious magic trick, but what is it? I can't imagine that anyone would bother to fake a penny in 1998, but it looks like someone did.

I see from your profile that you're from Wisconsin. You may wish to contact a reputable coin dealer to get his or her reaction, or contact the U.S. Secret Service field office in either Madison, 608-264-5191, or Milwaukee, 414-297-3587. Be warned that, if the coin is counterfeit, the USSS will seize it without giving you another penny to replace it.
#11
Old 08-18-2009, 09:29 AM
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Yeah, good luck getting away with counterfeiting pennies. Once the Secret Service picks up your cent, they never stop.
#12
Old 08-18-2009, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
Yeah, good luck getting away with counterfeiting pennies. Once the Secret Service picks up your cent, they never stop.
And now that we all know about this, someone is sure to drop the dime on you.
#13
Old 08-18-2009, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
And now that we all know about this, someone is sure to drop the dime on you.
And there's no quarter given.
#14
Old 08-18-2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
And there's no quarter given.
NICKEL!

There, I said it.
#15
Old 08-18-2009, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flymaster View Post
NICKEL!

There, I said it.
...and once said, you can never take that nickel back.
#16
Old 08-18-2009, 02:30 PM
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Actually, I'm not so sure the Secret Service would be too eagle to look into counterfeit one-cent pieces.

(Now if we can work in a joke involving "trimes", we can have the full set.)
#17
Old 08-18-2009, 02:44 PM
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I'm sure not going to buck the trend.
#18
Old 08-18-2009, 04:19 PM
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I can't make heads or tails of this thread. But I'm bumping it so it will maintain its currency.
#19
Old 08-18-2009, 04:54 PM
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Naw, that penny ain't worth two bits.
#20
Old 08-18-2009, 06:40 PM
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Man, you folks don't do things by halves, do you?
#21
Old 08-18-2009, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Naw, that penny ain't worth two bits.
Not even a red cent.
#22
Old 08-19-2009, 05:33 AM
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I once saw a counterfeit $1 - yes one dallar bill, and it was bad. I told the clerk that it was counterfeit and that he should not take it, and he said he did not believe me. I'm sure he gave it out as change ASAP (and broke a federal law). (Knowingly passing a counterfeit bill is just as illegal as printing it in the first place)

It was a photocopy on white paper - the worst counterfeit I ever saw.

Have I ever mentioned that my super hero power is that I can spot counterfeit bills from further away than I can tell what denomination it is? (not really, But I once did it from over 10 feet away, and I did not touch the $1 bill at all and saw it from a few feet away. In both cases the receiver was looking closely at the bill already so I only confirmed their suspicions)

I have never seen a counterfeit coin.

(former) superteller Dag (dollar sign on chest, big $3 bill for a cape, faster than a currency counting machine, can roll coins in a single hand, yadda yadda yadda)
#23
Old 08-19-2009, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
I have never seen a counterfeit coin.
...that you know of
#24
Old 08-19-2009, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke View Post
Actually, I'm not so sure the Secret Service would be too eagle to look into counterfeit one-cent pieces.

(Now if we can work in a joke involving "trimes", we can have the full set.)
Does Bubba then give you a pound when you're in jail?
#25
Old 08-19-2009, 07:13 PM
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After all the ignorance I've seen lately, someone is finally making cents.
#26
Old 08-19-2009, 07:18 PM
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Yes, my pennies always get lighter when I drop them in cyanide.
#27
Old 08-20-2009, 12:27 AM
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Counterfeit a penny? What a loonie idea!

</Canadian>
#28
Old 08-21-2009, 07:33 AM
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Not entirely relevant, but about thirty years ago the cops in San Antonio, Tx apprehended a gang of teens who were meticulously filing and sanding pennies down to the size of dimes and using them in vending machines...one of the perps told officers that it took about six hours or so to get one right. not the brightest counterfeit syndicate...
#29
Old 08-21-2009, 09:25 AM
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It isn't exactly counterfeiting, but I used to know a guy who made and sold slugs. I'm not to clear, after all these years, on what alloy the sheet metal he used was or where he got it. As I recall, it was a gold or bronze color. He used a die he'd made himself and a press to punch out quarter sized discs. The vending machines, video games, and payphones of the era ( mid-80's) would accept them without problems. He'd sell you a big sack of them for a few bucks. He never did get caught, but the people who owned the vending machines and payphones locally really took an economic asskicking til he was finally unable to score any more of the sheet metal he used.
#30
Old 08-21-2009, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
Man, you folks don't do things by halves, do you?
I found out a while back that the zinc cents will easily snap in half. I tried to bend one, but it broke instead.
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#31
Old 08-21-2009, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DagNation View Post
I once saw a counterfeit $1 - yes one dallar bill, and it was bad. I told the clerk that it was counterfeit and that he should not take it, and he said he did not believe me. I'm sure he gave it out as change ASAP (and broke a federal law). (Knowingly passing a counterfeit bill is just as illegal as printing it in the first place)

It was a photocopy on white paper - the worst counterfeit I ever saw.
My husband and I went to a funeral last summer in a very rural area where we felt like big-city sophisticates. We stopped for lunch at a little cafe where they were all agog because somebody had just passed them a bogus $20. They really didn't know what to do; we advised them of whom to call, but when we told them the bill would be confiscated, they decided not to report it because they wanted to keep it as a reference in case it ever happened again, they'd have something to compare it to.

I know -- you're thinking they were just going to pass it along to the next person. But they were talking about where they could take it to have it laminated so as to preserve it.
#32
Old 08-21-2009, 04:56 PM
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I'm still trying to figure exactly what purpose a "spy coin" might serve.
Better yet what exactly is a "spy coin"?
#33
Old 08-21-2009, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
I'm still trying to figure exactly what purpose a "spy coin" might serve.
Better yet what exactly is a "spy coin"?
Like this.
#34
Old 08-24-2009, 11:46 PM
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Counterfeit penny theory...

The thing you have to remember is that it costs the US government somewhere around three cents to make one penny (and we wonder where this national debt came from). So if the gov't spends three cents making a single penny using a fine tuned, mass-production process I doubt the best counterfeiters in the world could turn a profit from making pennies.
#35
Old 08-24-2009, 11:57 PM
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More on the merits of the penny (the second article on this page): https://academicpursuits.us/columns/...esnt-wood-melt
#36
Old 08-05-2010, 09:12 AM
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What if the diameter is not changed?

I have a penny with a VERY pronounced flare around the rim / edge, BUT, it is exactly the same diameter of other pennies? and under close examination under a microscope, it does not have any kind of "band" crimped to it, it is a single unit.
Any ideas?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Manlob View Post
I one had a handful of coins retrieved from inside a washer or dryer that had been tumbling around in there for a long time. I don't mean in the the tub with the clothes, but the coins had fallen between the tub and the casing, possibly near the motor shaft (forgot the details). All those coins had rounded edges like the penny in the OP. The most extreme was a penny with a very flared edge and had been reduced to the diameter of a dime.
#37
Old 08-05-2010, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Never Say Dice View Post
Yes, my pennies always get lighter when I drop them in cyanide.
What the deuce?
#38
Old 08-06-2010, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manlob View Post
Looks like a penny that has tumbled around inside a washer or dryer for a long time. When it bounces around while tumbling it keeps impacting on edges and the rim becomes rounded and flared. This exposes the zinc inside the coin.
YES!
#39
Old 04-15-2012, 10:17 AM
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me too

my penny doesnt have rounded edges, but the "penny color" (copper?) hes seemed to rub off in patches... not gradually, like normal, but from "shiny penny" to "old penny" colors like the outside layer pealed off. what do you think?
#40
Old 04-15-2012, 11:31 AM
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I think you need to link to a clear picture.
#41
Old 04-15-2012, 11:36 AM
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Yes, it is a dryer coin, and yes, it is undead.
#42
Old 04-15-2012, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheresgeorge04 View Post
Yes, it is a dryer coin, and yes, it is undead.
I'd say a cent which came loose from a "lucky penny" as proposed in one of the first replies. It also could have been encased in a frame on a keychain or pendant, and then taken out. The dryer idea doesn't fly, IMHO.
#43
Old 04-15-2012, 12:45 PM
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Incidentally, a fun trick: Cut a small notch in the edge of a penny to expose the zinc inside, and then drop it in hydrochloric acid. The acid will eat away the zinc, but leave the copper untouched, leaving you with a hollow penny.
#44
Old 04-15-2012, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Incidentally, a fun trick: Cut a small notch in the edge of a penny to expose the zinc inside, and then drop it in hydrochloric acid. The acid will eat away the zinc, but leave the copper untouched, leaving you with a hollow penny.
You can then use it to make very spicy salsa, as everybody knows that hollow penny dip is extremely hot.
#45
Old 04-15-2012, 10:20 PM
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I used to turn pennies to silver then gold when I taught science. I usually did this as a demonstration, but the science club kids were allowed to do this as a club activity. They got to keep the coins as souvenirs. Beware, you can hurt yourself bad with the lye if you aren't careful. Follow proper lab safety procedures for heat and caustics (Rubber gloves, apron, safety goggles).

1. Put some zinc in a fairly strong lye solution (maybe 20 g Zn in 200 mL water with 10 g NaOH). Don't put in the zinc until the lye's dissolved. Heat 'til steamy, but not boiling.
2. While solution heats, clean some U.S. cents in white vinegar. Rinse well with distilled water.
3. Carefully place cents in solution using tongs. Cents will turn "silver" (really they are zinc plated).
4. Remove cents, rinse in distilled water.
5. Use tongs and heat cents gently over a flame. They will turn "gold" (really, the zinc and copper alloy, making brass). Be careful heating 1983 or newer cents over a Bunsen burner flame- they'll melt.

Cleanup- Drain the lye solution from the zinc. Rinse zinc repeatedly to remove all NaOH. Use a strainer or similar device to do this. You don't want the lye solution to dry on the zinc. It can catch fire.

These coins got around- I got a couple back in change over the years.
#46
Old 04-16-2012, 02:58 AM
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This talk of counterfeit pennies reminds me of one I have. At least, I used to think it was bogus.

http://i695.photobucket.com/albums/v...rfeitpenny.jpg

I collected this in my youth, and one day couldn't help but notice that the oldest penny in the bunch looked suspiciously too shiny. (Compare it to the 1911 coin, obviously well-circulated and typical of what I came across in my foraging.)

The 1909 coin has an odd patina, not quite smooth. Almost looks like a paint job, but it ain't paint - can't be scratched off (I tried). I suspect it was plated by someone looking to spiff it up, maybe for resale, but since I found it in a roll of pennies from the bank, it apparently got back into the general stream of currency, to be snatched up by a sharp-eyed ten-year-old.

Innerestin'.
#47
Old 04-16-2012, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
You can then use it to make very spicy salsa, as everybody knows that hollow penny dip is extremely hot.
Since nobody else has said it, I will:

Groan!

(Great pun, BTW!)
#48
Old 04-16-2012, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
You can then use it to make very spicy salsa, as everybody knows that hollow penny dip is extremely hot.
I'd rather have an Euro.


mmm
#49
Old 04-16-2012, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
I'd rather have an Euro.


mmm
One of these?
#50
Old 04-16-2012, 11:07 AM
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Plated pennies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vashbul View Post
This talk of counterfeit pennies reminds me of one I have. At least, I used to think it was bogus.

http://i695.photobucket.com/albums/v...rfeitpenny.jpg

I collected this in my youth, and one day couldn't help but notice that the oldest penny in the bunch looked suspiciously too shiny. (Compare it to the 1911 coin, obviously well-circulated and typical of what I came across in my foraging.)

The 1909 coin has an odd patina, not quite smooth. Almost looks like a paint job, but it ain't paint - can't be scratched off (I tried). I suspect it was plated by someone looking to spiff it up, maybe for resale, but since I found it in a roll of pennies from the bank, it apparently got back into the general stream of currency, to be snatched up by a sharp-eyed ten-year-old.

Innerestin'.
It looks plated to me also, especially the spotty surface because it wasn't cleaned well enough, or the solution was bubbly. It my have been a ten-year-old who did it, copper electroplating was a pretty common home chemistry set experiment back when you could still sell poisons to kids. And likely a young collector would be more likely to think shining up a wheat penny would make it better.

On another note, I have an indian head cent that has been gold-plated. The are close enough in size that apparently some people would pass them as $5 gold coins at the time.
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