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Is a 1988 d Lincoln penny that appears to be steel or zinc real?


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2005-10-28 16:46:26
2005-10-28 16:46:26

It is probably real. All US cents minted since 1983 are zinc planchets with a thin coating of copper. Occasionally an unplated planchet slips through and these are worth a few dollars to an error collector. However, this error is easily faked by dipping a normal penny in a mild acid, so it really needs to be certified by an expert and the cost of certification exceeds the value of the error. The composition of pennies since 1983 is almost entirely zinc, with a thin outer coating of copper. Yours evidently did not get the outer copper layer. This is not as rare as you might think -- I get asked about them all the time. They generally sell for a dollar or two at most coin shows.


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