Adrien's Blog

07 Apr 2020

A Small Question Regarding 1981 Proofs

| Adrien

I was taking a look through my coins the other day when I happened to catch a glimpse of the edging on the 1981-S type 1 quarter. The Quarter's edge looks a lot like the edging on my MS Mercury dime and my AU 1906-O Barber half. I'm not sure what to think of it. I don't think a silver 1981 set was made, but I looked at the others in the set and the SBA$1, 50c, and 10c. They were all clad. I would really like to know if I am just misinformed or if all quarters in that set are silver.

Any help would do.



Level 6

Sam said it all. Thanks, good question with an excellent answer.

Numinerd got this one pretty good... A scale will reveal..(although don t forget to account for the weight of the packaging)


Level 5

Hi Adrien, Are you looking at this quarter's edge through the plastic - is it still in the original Mint package? If yes, then it is an optical illusion; the copper won't show well, so it would appear to be an all 'silver-looking' edge if that's the case. The US Mint did not strike any quarter-sized silver coins for the USA or any other country at that time, so it's not really possible that you'd have a silver coin. If the coin is not in the Mint's hard plastic package and you're seeing what looks like an all silver edge, it is still probably not a silver coin. Sometimes when a blank is stamped out of the gigantic coiled sheets of copper-nickel clad metal used by the Mint, the shearing effect sometimes allows the nickel layers to obscure the copper core. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, sometimes just in places on the edge, and sometimes the entire edge. I've seen it on coins in circulation as recent as 2019. Of course, if it is out of the original package, maybe someone plated the coin. In that case you'd have to weigh it with a good digital scale to know the difference; if it weighs a bit more than 5.67 grams, it's probably been plated. If it weighs 6.25 grams (the same as a 90% silver US quarter) then further study by an expert may be warranted. -Sam Gelberd, ANA Numismatic Educator.


Level 3

Thanks! I will use a scale to figure out the weight. I've had it certified in a PCGS holder so it could very well be an optical illusion. I have another uncertified 1981-S Type 1 quarter but the rimming looks totally different and the clad is highly visible. I'm going to weigh it right now.


Level 5

Interesting question. I don't have the knowledge for answering you, but I am sure one of our regulars will know something. I hope you have something special ! That would be exciting for all of us, if you had some kind of error, or packaging error? I am sure your set would have a premium value if it's unusual. Let's see what the others have to say about this??

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