- A spurious piece has an obvious complexion problem.
The 1931-S Lincoln cent has long been known as a key date in the series. It had the second lowest mintage after the famed 1909-S VDB, with only 866,000 struck.
Oddly enough, mint-state examples are readily available. This is because many remained unissued until 1935, when they were scooped up by the roll and bag by collectors and dealers. However, these coins are valuable even in lower grades. In fact, the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation ( NGC
) Price Guide lists a Good-4 example at $90 As such, the 1931-S is one of the most heavily counterfeited Lincoln cents.
"Pimples" on the surface of this 1931-S Lincoln cent (above) are a clear giveaway that the coin was produced using the spark-erosion process. Lincoln's bust and the date (right) are the areas most affected. A genuine example is at top. NGC
graders recently identified an interesting counterfeit 1931-S cent from a collector's submission. At first glance, an odd, pimply surface is evident on Lincoln's bust. This porosity indicates that this is a rarely seen spark-erosion counterfeit. These are made when a genuine host specimen is placed in an electrolytic solution opposite a blank piece of conductive metal. Electricity is then run through the coin, causing a spark to jump to the blank. The high temperatures leave a reverse duplicate (a die, effectively) of the host, which can be used to strike more fakes.Read the Entire Article