NGC Certified Experimental Glass Cents in Heritage Aug. 4 ANA Sale


Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has authenticated and graded a number of experimental cents and tokens made in glass, the company announced in a news release on Monday, July 24.

NGC certified glass cent and glass token
An experimental glass cent and glass token certified by NGC

In 1942, the United States Mint researched and experimented with alternative materials to make cents because of wartime copper shortages. The agency also invited private companies to test various types of materials.

Blue Ridge Glass Corporation of Kingsport, Tennessee, struck glass patterns (test cents) using blanks supplied by Corning Glass Works and dies prepared by the U.S. Mint.

NGC certified 17 experimental pieces by Blue Ridge, including 9 pattern cents struck on amber-colored glass blanks and 8 glass tokens. Seven of the glass cents are intact, and were graded from NGC MS 62 to NGC MS 64. Two are fragments NGC attributed but did not grade.

Numismatists were previously aware of just two Blue Ridge glass pattern cents, one of which was a fragment. The unbroken example recently sold at auction for $70,500.

Of the glass tokens, three were struck with a die depicting the factory with the text of BLUE RIDGE GLASS CORP. The others show more modest design elements. The tokens graded from MS 64 to MS 66, excluding two that are fragmented.

Heritage Auctions will offer the 17 experimental glass cents and tokens on Aug. 4, 2017, at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Denver, Colorado. View these lots at

"Following the success of Heritage’s $70,500 sale of a rare glass cent in January of this year, we were delighted to be presented with several high-grade examples," said Mark Borckardt, Senior Cataloger and Numismatist at Heritage Auctions.

Images of the pieces are also available at

Roger W. Burdette, author of the book United States Pattern and Experimental Pieces of World War II, noted that Blue Ridge Glass had some employees carry glass blanks in their pockets, but those blanks chipped, creating sharp edges.

These experimental glass pieces have been cataloged by Burdette and will appear in the next edition of his book. NGC used Burdette’s catalog numbers on its certification labels.

The fragmented pieces highlight the impractical use of glass for coins — they break too easily. The U.S. Mint eventually turned to zinc-coated steel as their composition solution for cents in 1943.

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Very interesting. I have a porcelain sort of coin a city in Germany made at the start of the 1923 inflationary period, and Japan had some clay coins minted at the end of World War 2, but obvious these didn’t work very well.


Richard: Those are interesting pieces! My wife has a few porcelain “coins” from Weimar Germany as well. They were called “Notgeld”, or “emergency money” (the word “Not” in German having a very different meaning from its English cognate, of course). The particular pieces in her set were made in the city of Meißen, about 30 km northwest of Dresden. Meißen’s been famous for centuries as a center for fine porcelain work, so it wasn’t a big leap for them to experiment with coinage substitutes.

Joe Brown

People out there with Hi – IQ and no common scents. First thing that came to my mind, I was maybe 9 or 10 during a stick ball game in the school yard. These two younger kids were shouting at each other at the top of their lungs driving us mad. They were fighting over marbles. One kid, all his pockets even back ones were full with marbles. The other kid had none. The kid with marbles would not even give him 1. I did not want to here no more. So I yelled some choice words, my voice ekoo… Read more »