Side View Flying Eagle IHP

What is a Fatty Indian Head Penny?

It’s rude to call anyone a fatty, unless you are talking about the fatty Indian Head Penny (IHP).

The fatty Indian Head Penny refers to pennies minted from 1854-1864 when the pennies had a bigger diameter and were thicker. The 1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cents are also “Fatty” pennies.

  • Fatty Cent Weight: ~4.67 grams
  • Regular Cent Weight: ~3.11 grams

I don’t own a fatty Indian Head Penny, but I do have an 1857 Flying Eagle Cent we can use for comparison.

Flying Eagle and IHP obverse
Left: 1857 “Fatty” Flying Eagle Cent, Right: 1888 Indian Head Penny.

From above it is hard to see a difference between the size two coins. The 1857 Flying Eagle Cent has the same diameter as the 1888 Indian Head Penny.

When we look from the side, however, we can really see where “fatty” cents got their name:

Fatty Flying Eagle Cent vs Indian Head Penny

The Fatty Flying Eagle Cent is about 75% thicker than the regular cent. If these coins were being renamed today we would call fatty cents “chonky cents” instead.

Here is the reverse of these two coins:

Flying Eagle IHP Reverse Indian Head Penny
Flying Eagle Cent Reverse vs Indian Head Penny Reverse

Share any comments or questions in the comments below!

Top 7 Ugliest Coins in U.S. History

The U.S. Mint has made some really gorgeous coins over the last few decades… and some incredibly ugly coins. Let’s look at the ugliest coins ever made by the U.S. Mint.

Some of these are my opinion, and others were decided by popular opinion. If you feel like a coin deserves a spot on this list, post a comment or reach out on my Contact Page.

7.) JFK Presidential Dollar (2015)

John F. Kennedy Dollar Coin

We know the U.S. Mint can make a better JFK coin, because they did it on the Kennedy half dollar. All the presidential dollar coins are boring, but this one is on the verge of unattractive.

Not the ugliest coin on this list, but my biggest issue is how sad this coin looks. JFK looking down does not give him a presidential look, but more of a forlorn, forgotten look. Coins are all about symbolism, and I wish this coin had a more hopeful aspect to it.

6.) Cincinnati Half Dollar (1936)

cincinnati half dollar commemorative
Cincinnati Half Dollar

BORING!

This must have been done by one of the laziest engravers at the U.S. Mint. There are no details on lady liberty. She looks very blobby.

Besides the lack of detail, the ugliest part of this coin is Lady Liberty’s neck. Are you okay Miss Liberty? Necks are not supposed to bend like that.

5.) Flowing Hair Half Dollar and Dime (1794-1795)

1795 flowing hair half dollar
Flowing Hair Half Dollar

I can’t judge this coin too harshly, as it is one of the first coins made by the U.S. Mint, I’m sure they were still working out the kinks in the design process.

This coin has a some intricate detailing, but several design choices that are unappealing. First, Lady Liberty’s hairline looks strange to me. Perhaps she is suffering from early balding?

My biggest issue with this design is with the Eagle. This eagle looks more like a starving plucked chicken or a vulture than a powerful eagle. The head is way too small.

4.) Three Cent Silver (1851-1873)

Three Cent Silver Coin

Gosh, this coin is weird. It doesn’t resemble any other U.S. coinage, so I give the Mint points for bravery here.

The obverse reminds me of a sheriffs badge, and the reverse reminds me of a witches spell book. Most of the imagery makes sense, except for the large “C” on the reverse which I have yet to see an explanation for.

This coin was not popular in its time, nor is it popular for coin collectors today.

3.) Effigy Mounds Quarter (2017)

2017 d effigy mounds national monument quarter
Effigy Mounds Quarter

The Effigy Mounds Quarter is here due to public opinion, more than my own. Many coin collectors don’t like this quarter because the effigy mounds look like amorphous blobs in person.

In the picture above we can clearly see the blobs resemble animals, however in person the quarters are not as attractive once they’ve worn even slightly.

Personally, I like the effigy mounds quarter, I think the use of blank space is interesting and eye-catching, but I am in the minority with that opinion.

2.) Chain Cent (1793)

Chain Cent

The Chain Cent coin gives me the heebie-jeebies. Something is very scary about the depiction of Lady Liberty in the Chain Cent. She looks more like a body-less ghost floating around a haunted mansion than a symbol of strength.

The reverse is equally unappealing. I assume the chains are meant to signify unity, but it reads are more restricting and dystopian.

The shortening of “AMERICA” to “AMERI.” is also a strange choice, there is so much blank space on the reverse, there was easily room for the whole word.

I did not give this coin the number one spot on the list simply because it is a very early U.S. coinage.

1.) Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin (1979-1999)

1979 Susan B Anthony Dollar
Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin

So much went wrong in designing the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. There was interference from lobbyists, outdated laws, and public interest groups all working together to make this one of the ugliest U.S. coins.

On its own, this coin has some really attractive elements. The eagle landing on the moon is one of my favorite coin reverses. But what does the moon landing have to do with Susan B. Anthony? Nothing.

The U.S. Mint wanted to design a coin that was not a perfect square, but vending machine lobbyists interfered because it would be more difficult to use in a vending machine. Instead of scrapping that idea, the mint left in the hexagonal edges.

I know several people don’t like this coin because they think Susan B. Anthony looks too ugly, and that is a silly argument. We don’t put people on coins because they are attractive, we put them on our coinage because they were influential and inspiring. Abraham Lincoln is on the penny, but he was widely regarded as being unattractive for his time.

I like this coin for the lore around why it has so many different elements, but ultimately it is the ugliest coin due to the lack of a coherent theme.


What did you think about this list? Anything you would have changed? Share a comment below!

How to Properly Get Coins Into Whitman Coin Folders

If you have tried to complete a Whitman folder, then you know how hard it can be to fit coins into their respective slots. Some coins slide in easily, while others take minutes of pushing and shoving to still be not correctly in.

One of the golden rules of handling coins is not to touch the surface of the coin and only handle a coin by holding the rim. But how do you get a coin into a folder without touching the surface?

Using cotton gloves is recommended when you do have to touch the surface of the coin. This does not help you push the coin in, but it may give you confidence to put your fingers on the surface to get more leverage.

If the problem is that you cannot get enough leverage, or the hole seems too tight. I have a hack for getting coins in a folder that has been very successful for me.

Here is the best way to get coins into a coin folder:

1.) Take out the coin that does not fit properly.

1962D Quarter not fitting in the folder.

Here is my 1962D silver quarter that will not fit properly into the album no matter how hard I try pushing with my thumb.

2.) Insert a new coin, and press it in with another object

Pressing a 2020 Quarter in to widen the hole.

I am using a 2020 Quarter to widen the hole just enough for my other quarter to fit. I used the edge of a plastic putty knife, but you can really use anything that gets you enough leverage on the coin since you don’t have to worry about damaging the surface.

A hammer, pencil, or cup would also work well to press the coin in.

Here is the 2020 quarter in a folder.

2020 Quarter temporarily in the folder.

3.) Push the new coin out of the folder.

Using my thumb to press the coin out from behind.

You can use your thumb on the back of the folder to gently push the coin out of its position. Try not to bend the cardboard during this part, just push the thin paper section behind the coin.

4.) Put the correct coin in.

1962D Quarter in a Whitman folder.

Now I was able to put the correct 1962D Quarter in its slot with less force. Test how secure the coin is by flipping the folder upside-down and giving it a shake.


It may seem silly to put so much thought into coins going into a Whitman folder, more often than not, Whitman folder coins will not be your best coins. If you want to prevent damage it should be in an Air-Tite container.


If folders are too difficult for you, you can get a Whitman coin album. The albums have a clear plastic surface that you pull back, and then drop the coin in. The other benefit of an album over a folder is that you can see the front and back of the coins.

The Inside Of A Franklin Half Dollar Album

Share a comment below with any other tips or tricks you may have. Remember to vote in the poll below!


I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

Superbird 1952S Quarter

What is the 1952S Superbird Quarter?

The 1952S Superbird quarter is definitely one of the strangest quarter varieties known. It is named for a small “S” on the chest of the eagle on the reverse of the coin.

The current theory is that the “S” mark was made by a U.S. Mint employee who was a fan of the Superman comic series that was popular at the time. This is still a theory, as no one has come forward to claim responsibility for this quarter.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Circled
“S” on the 1952S Superbird Quarter circled.

We will likely never know who created this interesting variety. If the employee was 21 years old working at the mint in 1952, he or she would be 90 years old today!

This variety is only found on proof coins minted in San Francisco in 1952. Not every proof quarter from 1952 is a Superbird quarter. Currently, it is estimated that about 1/5 of every proof quarter from 1952 is the Superbird variety according to PCGS.

How visible is the “S”?

It is very difficult to see with the naked eye, this is why this coin made it out of the mint in the first place. In order to get a clear view of the S, you need about 5x magnification.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Close Up of S

I recently purchased a graded 1952S superbird quarter and I was surprised to find that it was very difficult to see the S with my naked eye. I had to move the coin into different lighting to even catch a glimpse.

How much is the Superbird Quarter worth?

This is not a very well-known variety, so the price has varied wildly.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Close Up
A side angled view of the 1952S Superbird Quarter.

Recently, (early 2021), the price has fallen since I first discovered this variety. Where an MS-63 was once catching $200 on EBay, they are now selling for closer to $90. I am not sure whether this is due to a decreasing demand, or an increasing supply.

Is this a good coin to own?

I definitely think this is a worthwhile coin to purchase if you like it. It makes a great conversation piece, as even non-coin collectors are intrigued by the idea of a Superman Quarter.

Get a graded one if you wish to purchase one. The S mark is so small, that even light scratches could easily make it illegible. Plus, grading will help others know what the coin is if it gets passed down, so having a slab with the words “Superbird” on it is a plus.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Obverse NGC Slab

If you can find one still in a proof set that would be an amazing find. These coins average around $100-$200, but can reach over $1,800 for higher grades.


If you want to learn more about proof sets, check out: “Buying Guide for United States Mint Proof Sets”

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Obverse Tape Before Peace Dollar

Removing Tape Damage From A Peace Dollar

There are several reasons why someone would tape a coin. Sometimes, coins are taped to walls, jewelry, or coin albums. While this may seem like a good idea at the time, tape can damage the coin after many years.

Here is a Peace Dollar that was taped.

Obverse Tape Before Peace Dollar

You can tell this coin has had tape on it for many years by the fact that it has a stripe where there is no toning. It may look as if the tape was good for preventing toning on the coin, but that is not the case.

While the portion of the coin covered by tape did not tone, there is a black stripe of toning where the oxygen, tape residue, and silver interacted. The portion of the coin completely covered by the tape did not tone because it did not have access to oxygen, but the rest of the coin toned faster due to material in the tape.

I have never personally removed tape from a coin. The goal will be to remove as much tape as possible with as little damage done to the coin as I can.

If this was a more valuable coin, I would not be doing this myself. For valuable coins, you should leave the restoration to the professionals at PCGS and NGC.

I used 3 methods to try to remove the tape residue.

1.) Acetone

If you have a valuable coin you are wishing to remove tape from, acetone is the recommended method. Acetone will have little to no effect on the silver, and should only loosen the glue of the tape.

Make sure to use 100% pure acetone in a metal or glass dish. Nail polish remover will not work as it often includes dyes, fragrances, and other ingredients.

Glass bowl with acetone.

I had high hopes that acetone would be able to remove all the tape and glue from the coin. Unfortunately, the acetone could not penetrate deep enough to dissolve all of the glue.

I was able to peel a small portion of the tape off with my fingernail, but it did not make a noticeable difference.

Coin in Acetone 1
Peace Dollar in acetone.

So after the acetone I tried another method I had seen online…

2.) Olive Oil

Peace Dollar in Oil
Peace Dollar in Olive Oil

I was hesitant to try this method, because I do not know the long term effects of trace amounts of olive oil will have on silver.

I set another bowl aside with olive oil and allowed the coin to soak for about half an hour.

This method worked surprisingly well! I managed to get a decent amount of tape off the surface of our 1922 Peace Dollar.

It was unfortunate that I had to use my fingernail to get it off, as even a fingernail can scratch the surface of a coin, but it seemed the least damaging way I had available.

Here is a close-up shot of the Peace Dollar after the acetone and olive oil.

There was a very stubborn chunk of tape on her hair that I could not peel off. This was the hardest and driest section of tape.

So next I moved onto step 3.

3.) Boiling Water

Leaving the coin in boiling water is supposed to loosen the tape.

I filled a pyrex measuring cup with boiling water and placed the coin inside. I left the coin in for only a few minutes, taking the coin out when I could reach in without burning my fingers.

Peace Dollar in Boiling Water

This method also worked great! I could see immediately that the section I had struggled to pull off in her hair was already loosened.

After Boiling water 1
Peace Dollar after boiling water soak.

I was able to get the last chunk of tape off in one motion now. There were still small amounts of residue in her hair, as well as discolorations on the surface of the coin.

Unfortunately, I had done all I could with my less-abrasive methods. At this point I had too options:

  1. Clean the surface with a Q-Tip (abrasive)
  2. Let it soak overnight in acetone and hope for the best.

I chose option 1, simply because it is faster. If this was a more valuable coin and I was a professional cleaner I would have opted for option 2.

The toning from the tape has already damaged this Peace Dollar to the point where I am not worried if it gets a few scratches on it.

4.) Q-Tip and Acetone

After gently cleaning with a Q-Tip and acetone.

The Q-tip and acetone worked very quickly. You can see however, that it did cause some hairline scratches to appear on the coin. 😦

Here is the before and after:

It’s a shame that this coin was taped in the first place. Aside from the tape in the first image, this coin was in relatively good condition with minimal scratches.

If you are looking for more information about proper coin handling, check out: 4 Essential Items For Proper Coin Handling and Storage.


Do you know a better way to remove tape from a coin? Share a comment below!

Reeded Edges Reeds Coins Grooves Edge

Why Are Coins Reeded and How Many Reeds Do Coins Have?

Reeds are what give a coin the grooves (or ridges) along the edges. The reeds are an anti-counterfeiting measure and to make sure coins have not been intentionally filed down.

When coins were made primarily of gold and silver, people would file off the edges of the coin to get some of the precious metals. Reeds were developed to make it immediately obvious if a coin was tampered with.

How do reeded edges prevent counterfeiting?

Anything that makes a coin more intricate is helpful to prevent counterfeiting. By making a counterfeiting job more time consuming and requiring it to have more special tools, the barrier to entry of counterfeiting becomes much harder.

Although no one will stop to count the reeds on a common dime, if a coin worth hundreds is being graded, the graders will check the reeding.

Why don’t pennies have reeded edges?

Since pennies have always been made of copper and zinc, there was no fear of the coins being filed down for their copper content.

Even though pre-1982 copper pennies are worth about 2 cents in copper today, you could not file enough of a penny to make a profit and keep the coin recognizable.

How many reeds are on each coin?

The number of reeds is available on the US Mint Website. The three coins in circulation with reeded edges are the dime, quarter, and half dollar.

Number of Reeds:

Common Circulating Coins:

  • Dime: 118
  • Quarter: 119
  • Half Dollar: 150

Uncommon Coins:

  • Morgan Dollar: ~189 (Rare Variety: 154!)
  • Peace Dollar/Eisenhower Dollar: 189
  • American Silver Eagle Bullion: 201
  • Susan B. Anthony Dollar: 133

Reed Errors

Some coins have been found with more or less reeding than they were intended to have. This is almost always due to a machine error.

One recent coin to be found with a reed error is the New Mexico 2008P Quarter. There is a very good article about it on error-ref.com. Along with this image:

New Mexico Quarter Abnormal Reeding Reed
Error-ref image of abnormal reeding on a 2008P New Mexico Quarter.

Even most coin collectors neglect to look at the reeding of coins. This is probably why these errors are so uncommon. Most people do not notice if a coin has 189 or 154 reeds (like in the case of the Morgan Silver Dollar).


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