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thatcoinguy's Blog

12 May 2022

Henning Nickels

Coins-United States | thatcoinguy

Hello fellow YNs and YNH!


Counterfeiting has and will always be the biggest threat inside our numismatic circles. Thanks to third party grading we have kept up, but counterfeiters will only get better. We can only hope we stay ahead. One of the most prominent and well known counterfeiters of US coins was Mr. Francis LeRoy Henning. Henning was a 62 year old engineer from Erial, New Jersey. In 1954, he placed into circulation an estimated 100,000 counterfeit nickels into circulation. But he was caught by our very own, the coin collectors. The Camden County Coin Club's members noticed some 1944 nickels that were not the normal 35% silver of the time, but nickel. They also lacked the large mintmark above the dome of Monticello. When they notified the Secret Service and the Mint, it was originally thought that the counterfeits were genuine coins. But soon the Mint realized their mistake, and sent the Secret Service on the hunt for this counterfeiter. After learning the authorities were on his tail, Henning dumped his remaining 400,000 nickels into Cooper Creek and the Schuylkill River. He was captured and arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, in October of 1955. His counterfeit nickels have the dates 1939, 1944, 1946, 1947, and 1953.


Henning nickels today are actually very collectible. They sell for multiples above face value (recent sales have surpassed $100), and have actually been found in rolls of nickels in the 21st century. There are some main key points to identifying a Henning nickel. The first way is to look at the R in PLURIBUS. The left leg of the R has a low sport, or void, at the bottom. This does not appear on all Henning nickels. Another way to ID a Henning nickel is weight. A normal nickel of the time will weigh 5 grams, but Henning Nickels weigh 5.4 grams. Some 1939 and 1944 Henning nickels also have a die crack extending from the US in PLURIBUS to the dome of Monticello. 1944 is the most common date.


Keep collecting,

Thatcoinguy

Comments

Jackson14

Level 4

Very interesting!

Long Beard

Level 5

One of the few counterfeits that exceed the value of a genuine grading higher.

AC coin$

Level 6

Interesting . Good eyes .

Kepi

Level 6

Wow! Really interesting! Thanks for the information! ; )

Longstrider

Level 6

Great story. I'm glad you put this one up. One question, Bibliography? You are a good enough blogger to put one up. Makes the blog more professional. I like this one. Very good photo showing everything. Thanks.

Mike

Level 7

Good info. However there was a time when NGC put some counterfeit Morgan's into slabs . That was along time ago. But they were that good. And NGC has been allot better

Longstrider

Level 6

Mike it is the 1896-O, 1900-O, and the 1902-O all with the micro O. They even made the Top 100 Morgan Vams. Three different Vams. https://www.pcgs.com/News/Pcgs-Announces-Contemporary-Counterfeit-Status-Of-1896-o-1900-o PCGS Announces Contemporary Counterfeit Status of 1896-O, 1900-O, and 1902-O ''Micro O'' Morgan Dollars April 25, 2005

CC

Level 4

wow! how do you identify the 1953 nickels?

CheerioCoins

Level 5

Pretty good counterfeit with a great story behind it. The question is, why didn’t he counterfeit coins like quarters instead to make more profit? Thanks for sharing!

thatcoinguy

Level 5

Probably harder to counterfeit, and too costly.

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