glass cent

Glass Cent Trial Coin Goes to Auction

December 18th, 2016 by

What might a coin that was struck from glass look like? If this seemingly absurd question sparks your interest, January is your opportunity to finally see one!

The improbable glass cent pattern, a trial piece from 1942, that was discovered earlier this year will hit the auction block in Fort Lauderdale, Florida next month.

A Glass Coin?

Where did a glass coin come from? Why would someone want one? In short, what the heck is this thing?

glass cent

Image courtesy of CoinWeek

To briefly summarize, during the Second World War, the U.S. Mint was forced to experiment with a variety of different compositions for its low-denomination coins. The country needed the divert more of the copper and nickel used in these base-metal coins to support the war effort. Remember, this was the same era in which Winston Churchill urged Britons to donate their tin cans and aluminum yard fences so that these items could be scrapped for planes, tanks, and other implements of war.

The mint was basically looking for the cheapest and most reliable option available. There was some appeal to a glass cent: it wasn’t even made of metal and might alleviate the country’s wartime shortage of industrial metals.

Of course, striking of glass patterns quickly proved itself to be impractical. It was difficult to impress a clear image on the molten glass, and the pieces were too brittle when they finished cooling. Durability was not a strong point.

Consequently, the only surviving example of the glass cent pattern known previously was cracked into two pieces. This new discovery gives modern observers a firsthand look at what the quirky concept actually looked like.

Upcoming Auction

gavel

While it was unclear what would become of the glass pattern when its discovery was first reported this autumn, the rare trial coin will go on sale at auction on January 5th at the biannual coin show hosted by the Florida United Numismatists (FUN). According to Coin World, the piece has been certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as Proof-64. More importantly, of course, it is one-of-a-kind for all intents and purposes. With no precedent to use for comparison purposes, there is still no estimate about what sale price the pattern might realize.

 

The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.