US 1942 experimental glass cent valued at $30,000

Heritage Auctions will offer a unique US 1942 experimental glass cent in its January 5 sale in Fort Lauderdale.

It's expected to make in the region of $30,000.

The US Mint experimented with ways to reduce its use of copper during the war 

The cent was minted in Tennessee by the Blue Ridge Glass Company, although its commission came from the US Mint.

Mark Borckardt, Heritage Auctions' senior numismatist, said: "The present 1942 glass experimental piece is the only intact example discovered in nearly 75 years since the experiments.

"Although glass was never used for emergency U.S. coinage, this piece represents a unique artifact of the ingenuity and determination of Mint officials and private industry."

The idea behind using glass was to reduce the need for copper, which was crucial in munitions manufacture.  

The coin comes from the collection of Roger Burdette, an expert in US experimental coins and patterns from the World War II era.

He explained: "Wartime scarcity of copper required the U.S. mint replace copper for the one cent coin.  

"Plastics fabricators, particularly those who made buttons, began to experiment with pieces the size of a cent but the Blue Ridge Glass Company of Kingsport, Tennessee, requested an opportunity to experiment with glass in late 1942."

Glass turned out to be a poor material for minting coins, as both glass and die had to reach extremely high temperatures.

This proved hard to achieve and the project was shelved. Of the handful of glass cents minted, this is the sole intact survivor.

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