by | Feb 4, 2024 | History, Numismatics

1759 (Circa 1985) Martha Washington Five Cent Test Piece, Judd-2182, Pollock-Unlisted, R.7 PCGS AU58.

77.08 gn, virtually equal to the 5.0 gm statutory weight of a Jefferson nickel. Struck in nickel with a plain edge. Unlisted in Pollock, who describes only dime, quarter, and half dollar diameter pieces struck in 1965 from similar Martha Washington dies. The alloy of the five cent piece has remained unchanged since 1866, with the exception of the 1942 to 1945 “war nickels.” 

The first Martha Washington 5 cent piece to come onto the marketplace was offered as lot 899 in Superior’s August 2004 sale and also ANR’s 3/05 sale. As of 2017 (30 years after issue) only a dozen examples are confirmed.

Its existence confirms that the U.S. Mint has created these “token” dies in all currently minted denominations.

The Martha Washington design has been used by the Mint as an all-purpose test piece since 1965 when it was first used for testing the cupro-nickel clad sandwich alloy on most of todays coinage.

This discovery piece was struck from dies using the original 1965 design with the lettering close to the rims, Edward Groves initials under the portrait and on the reverse the tree touching the “A” in “Washington”. T

It also represents some kind of enigma. To our knowledge, the Mint had not contemplated changing the alloy of the 5 cent piece. The piece is described by Superior as being struck in “cupronickel-copper composite metal”, but, according to NGC, was struck on a standard nickel planchet.

We believe it was likely struck to test the Schuler coin press which means it was struck no earlier than 1985. As these dies were given by the Mint to outside contractors, it is not known whether this coin was struck inside or outside of the Mint.

We are hoping that additional information will be forthcoming now that the coin is available as to how many and what year they were struck.

This is truly a rarity and would be a storybook coin in any coin collectors collection.  This is only the second time we have been able to offer this really cool pattern.  

20938492  1116C900

Jonathan Lerner Revised

Jon Lerner

Jon Lerner, Scarsdale Coin president, is a recognized expert in the numismatist field. Jon has spent over 30 years collecting and evaluating coins. He is often sought out by fellow coin collectors for his advice and knowledge of rare coins.


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Scarsdale Coin

Jon Lerner, a renowned figure in numismatics, discovered his passion for rare coins in his Scarsdale, New York upbringing. With a keen eye for quality, he founded Scarsdale Coin in 1985, quickly establishing it as a premier destination for collectors. Beyond dealing, Jon is a respected speaker and prolific writer, sharing his expertise with enthusiasts worldwide. His commitment to integrity and professionalism has earned him admiration throughout the numismatic community. Jon remains dedicated to enriching collectors' experiences and preserving the legacy of rare coins for future generations.