Dr. Sol Taylor

Q&A: We Get Mail

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
Saturday, September 1, 2007

ere are a few questions we have received and the answers we sent back:

Q: I have a Lincoln cent dated 1941 (or 1947) that weighs only 2.2 grams (versus 3.1 grams for a normal cent) and has some rippling in the field. What type of error is this?

A: In my column of May 26, 2007, I described the process of reducing cents to "dimes" by using nitric acid. This sounds exactly like one of those altered cents. It is not a Mint error.

Q: I have a bronze plaque, about 18x30 inches, that is an exact copy of the famous Brenner Lincoln plaque of 1909. This plaque has no copyright mark or date at the bottom. (Photos followed front and back.)

A: It could be one of the plaques Brenner made in 1909 before he went for the smaller version. Heritage sold such a plaque earlier this year. Check with Heritage.com.

Q: If the cent is discontinued, do you think hoarding Lincoln cents would make sense?

A. No.

Q: I have a sheet of 32 $1 bills I bought at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Washington many years ago. If I cut off a few bills, would that affect the value of the remaining sheet?

A. If you still have a square or rectangular format with neat edges, the remaining sheet would still have a premium over the face value of the notes. However, it is not a good idea to tamper with the original format. Get your few dollars elsewhere.

Q: I attended the 1967 Expo in Montreal and bought rolls of coins at the local banks as well as proof sets at the Canadian pavilion. Are these of any value?

A. Yes. Any coin dealer would quote you the buying prices for such coins. The 1967 dimes, quarters, halves and dollars are worth several times face value, while the cents and nickels worth somewhat more than face value. The proof sets (with or without the $20) are worth strong premiums. Call any dealer for a quote.

Q: I lived in Reno from 1954 to 1965 and then moved to Oregon. My dad had many cigar boxes with silver dollars he won or bought at the casinos. I am told the "CC" dollars are worth lots of money. What is a "CC" dollar and how do I check them out?

A. The "CC" dollars were minted in Carson City, and even well-used examples are worth more than the other Mint coins. The letters "CC" appear under the bow in the wreath under the eagle's tail. It does not require a magnifier to see them. The majority of silver dollars, even back then, were not from the Carson City Mint and worth about $10 each except in mint condition. Carson City dollars range in value from a minimum of $25 to several hundred dollars for the 1879-CC, 1889-CC, and 1893-CC. Other high-grade CCs are also worth hundreds of dollars. Wrap each coin in Saran wrap for protection and show them to any coin dealer for a more precise valuation. Do not try to clean any coin that you feel needs cleaning.

Q: I read somewhere that slaves wore metal identification tags. I found a copper tag (photo followed) in the beach at Hilton Head, S.C. How do I know if this is a slave tag?

A. In my column of July 15, 2006, I described in detail what slave tags were and how to recognize them. They are made of copper and have the name "Charleston" on them, plus a number and a trade stamped in incuse. They come with a hole at the top and come in various shapes. These tags were also known as "slave hire tags" and were not worn by slaves in general, but by those who were hired out by their owners to others who needed their services. Even in lower grades, they are worth a few hundred dollars, and for some trades, many times that.

Q: My grandfather served in the Marines during World War I and visited Lebanon, where he had a pair of gold sovereigns made into cuff links. Are these of any value?

A. If the coins were also bought in Lebanon, it's a good chance they are fake — probably 10- to 14-karat, not 21-karat gold of real sovereigns. If the rest is also gold, they are worth about $650 an ounce based on gold value. If they are a family heirloom and attractive enough to wear for special events, keep them.

    Dr. Sol Taylor of Sherman Oaks is president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors and author of The Standard Guide to the Lincoln Cent. Click here for ordering information.