Press Release - May 31, 2001

Heritage to Auction 1944-P Off-Metal Nickel at Atlanta ANA

Dallas, Texas: An intriguing and possibly unique 1944-P Jefferson nickel struck on a copper-nickel planchet has been consigned to Heritage's upcoming Atlanta ANA Signature Sale. The sale, the official auction of the Atlanta ANA Convention, will be conducted the week of August 6-11.

"Beginning collectors and advanced numismatists alike have doubtless heard of the 1943 copper and 1944 steel cents," opined Heritage Executive VP Greg Rohan. "These off-metal errors, perhaps the most famous in U.S. numismatics, were created when leftover planchets from the previous year's production run found their way into the coinage press. The existence of these errors is understandable, especially given the hectic wartime production schedule of the Mint and the corresponding erosion of its quality control. It is very easy to imagine how a few copper planchets found their way into the Lincoln cent presses early in 1944, and how a few steel planchets did likewise in early 1944."

Continued Rohan: "The creation of the off-metal Jefferson nickel that we are offering in Atlanta is, however, more difficult to understand. The Mint removed nickel, a critical metal for the production of armaments, from the five-cent coin in 1942. The Jefferson nickels produced from late 1942-1945 were composed of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. One would think that all of the pre-war copper-nickel planchets had been disposed of by 1944, but apparently they weren't. At least one of these planchets found its way into a nickel press sometime in 1944, and this error coin is the result."

"The 2001 Guide Book states that nickels dated 1944 without the large mintmark of the wartime issues are counterfeits," noted Bob Korver, Heritage's Director of Auctions. "The error that we are offering in Atlanta, however, displays the large P-mintmark over the dome of Monticello, and it was definitely produced by the Philadelphia Mint with genuine dies. In addition, this coin has been certified by NGC as an off-metal error. The grade assigned is VF 30, and it is interesting to note that this coin circulated for some time before it was recognized for the rarity that it is. The relationship between this off-metal Jefferson nickel and the 1943 copper and 1944 steel cents is sure to attract significant bidder attention in Atlanta."

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