Greg H. writes: My daughter was going through her pennies. She saves coins as all my children do. Any how I don’t know the answer to this one. She found a 1987 penny the looks like it was stamped from the same material as a dime. Looks like it is silver. Is this possible or is this some kind of counterfeit item? Looks neat. It’s not mercury on the coin, I have seen that before. Could it be maybe someone plated it? It slightly worn and I see no copper so I don’t think it is plated any ideas? Well thanks for any input.
It sounds like you have a cent struck on a dime planchet (blank). Dimes, by the way, are struck from a copper-nickel sandwich (There haven’t been silver dimes since 1964). This kind of error is prized by collectors and usually brings in the range of $100-$150 for an example in uncirculated or about uncirculated condition. If you look closely, you will see the edges of the cent design are flattened out. The dime flan is a little bit too small and is stretched by the cent die to fill the collar that holds the coin in place.
It is also possible you have a plated cent. I’ve seen many of these and I imagine they were used for some commercial promotion. In any case if you have access to a gram scale try the following:
If the coin is really a 1987 cent it will weigh 2.5 grams. If the coin is a cent struck on a dime it will weigh 2.27 grams