Coin specifications can be hard to find. We’ve found coin specifications that we would like to share. These will help with error coin attribution and may solve a coin mystery or two.
How coin specifications can help you identify a major error coin
Believe me, this information helped me find a match for the 1976-S Proof Kennedy Half Dollar that more than likely is struck on Philippines 1 Piso planchet ! That article is here:
Coin specifications are a great tool to use to see if you have a coin that may be on an off-metal planchet, wrong planchet or possibly on a foreign planchet. It’s always a good idea to approach this in a logical fashion and know the coin specifications for the coin you are attributing. Most US coin specifications are actual laws that the US Mints must follow.
The more logical your approach the more sense coin attribution will become. Know the coin specifications to include diameter, weight and thickness of the coin. Know as much as you can about the coins that were made in the same era and which ones could be considered off-metal, wrong planchet or transitional type coins.
The link directly below offers some pretty specific information about US coin specifications.
U.S. Code Title 31
Another US code reference for coins is here:
U.S. Code Title 31
CHAPTER 51 S
Want a more specific reference? This article offers the law in great detail and about 50% of the way gives more information Look for “§ 5112”
Iit is also very wise to know if the US Mint has ever produced coins for foreign countries. Why yes they did ! The reference below gives some detailed coin specifications and can be extremely helpful in coin attributions.
A US Mint reference
The US Mint does carry a webpage that shows specifications for US coins, but I do not see any older US dollars listed on this page. It may help others if they are looking for official references though.
Foreign coins struck at the US Mint (unofficial reference)
Remember – the weight and the diameter (and year) have to be EXTREMELY close.
Another unofficial website offers some reference material on a lot of different US coins. It is listed here:
LC-2560 US Type Booklet_LC-2560 US Type Booklet (littletoncoin.com)
Check out our other coin attributions under our “educational series” : https://minterrors.org/?cat=5
Some other useful information
If you have generic questions about coins, there are a ton of forums out there that can help you. You can also use a search engine of your liking to research a coin type with the information you have available. You need to post in a logical fashion, explain in a condensed manner of what you have researched and stay factual. The seasoned veterans on the site should answer those tougher questions if information is factual and sufficient.
Photographs are always a plus. They do not have to be perfect but make sure there is no glare on the coin. If you have to find a light that you may be able to cover with a sheer cloth temporarily to take the photo and remove the cloth.
Photos can be taken with a cell phone. Don’t try to get too close to the point where the coin photograph is blurry. many cell phones offer a magnification feature. make sure you tap the coin one time prior to taking the photo so it stays in focus. If the phone shakes when taking the photo, try to brace your hand as best you can, or have some one else assist and hit that snap button for you. Be creative, but have a good clear photo of the coin in question !
A good scale which goes at least to the 100ths of a gram is vital as well as a magnet. make sure the magnet is not too overly powerful to damage the coin surface.
Good Luck !