Images courtesy of Ira
& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.
This unusual piece features an obverse
die identical to that on a 1759 dated trial piece called a Martha Washington
"Dime", reportedly from a group of experimental pieces struck in
1965 to test a variety of metal alloys. Mint officials claim that all
of the 1965 experimental pieces were either destroyed or otherwise accounted
for, so the appearance in private hands of the Martha Washington Dime was
stunning news to the hobby.
Shortly after the appearance
of the Martha Washington "Dime", a Martha Washington
"Cent" was found in a bag of 1999 Lincoln Cents by a Brinks
employee and was offered beginning July 24, 2000 by Byers Numismatic Corp.
for $39,500.00 on their website at www.byersnc.com.
The coin was offered simultaneously on eBay for ten days beginning on July 24, 2000 with an opening bid of $39,500.00.
The coin failed to sell there and re-appeared as Lot 1972 in Ira & Larry
Goldberg's Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale",
October 2-3, 2000, where it failed again to meet the seller's reserve.
The planchet alloy is the same
as that used on Lincoln Cents beginning in 1982, when the metal composition was
changed from pure copper to copper-plated zinc. According to Paul
Gilkes, author of an April 10, 2000 Coin World article (reporting the
discovery of the "Dime), "The Martha Washington/Mount Vernon dies
were most recently used during metallurgical die trial testing for the
Sacagawea dollar." This would explain how dies that were used
initially in 1965 came to be used on post-1981 Cent planchets.
The obverse of this piece was
struck approximately 10% off-center and the impression is quite weak,
showing only the details on the top portion of the die. The reverse is
Sources and/or recommended
April 10, 2000
The Byers Numismatic Corp.
website at www.byersnc.com