US/Philippines One Centavos
The USA/Philippines One Centavo Set is a fascinating series. With 42 coins in this set, it is the largest of the individual USA/Philippine competitive sets defined by NGC.
There is some debate over which side of the coin is considered the obverse and which is considered the reverse. I posted a journal entry on this topic in which I discussed why I consider the date side of the coin as the obverse (http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=9876). I post all of my pictures accordingly and refer to obverse as the date side and reverse as the figure side in my descriptions.
This set can be organized in many ways. First is by the obverse design. From 1903 through 1936, it was struck with the Territorial obverse depicting an eagle atop the shield of the United States which contains a field of 13 stars over 13 vertical stripes. The obverse was then changed in 1937 to acknowledge the Philippines’ change from a US Insular Territory to the “Commonwealth of the Philippines.” The commonwealth obverse first appeared in 1936 on three commemorative coins designed by Ambrosio Morales and was used on all USA/Philippine coins until the Philippines gained independence in 1945. The commonwealth obverse contains a much smaller eagle perched atop the shield of the commonwealth with a banner below proclaiming the “COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES”. This second obverse design is often poorly struck, showing a flattened, poorly defined banner and shield center.. Coins with the word “OF” in the banner fully struck up command a premium and should receive special designation much like “FSB” designation for Mercury dimes or “FBL” for Franklin Halves.
Unlike the obverse, there is one common reverse design that carries through the entire series. It depicts a young Filipino man holding a large hammer in his right hand, seated next to an anvil. He appears to be gazing at the image of the Mt. Mayon volcano, smoldering in the distance. It also contains the denomination “ONE CENTAVO” across the top and the word “FILIPINAS” across the bottom. Both the reverse and the territorial obverse were designed by the Filipino artist Melicio Figueroa, who lived just long enough to see his coins minted.
A second way to organize this set is by which US Mint was involved in production:
Philadelphia: 1903-1908 – mint state coins (1903-1905) and all 5 proof issues.
San Francisco: 1908-1920 and again in 1944, “S” mint mark to the left of the date. Much like their American cousins, the Indian Head and Lincoln cents, the early centavos minted in San Francisco often have a distinctive look to them. Untoned centavos often have a very pale brassy appearance and look significantly different from the more reddish or coppery Philadelphia centavos that preceded them. Lightly toned centavos often display a so-called "woodgrain" pattern which appears as light brown or tan streaks across both sides of the coin. This was caused by impurities in the alloy or concentrations of pure copper that did not completely blend with the added zinc and tin. This may also account for the rarity of full red and red brown examples of these particular dates.
Manila: 1920-1941, A variety of mint marks were used by the Manila mint in this series:
• 1920-1922 – No mint mark
• 1925-1936 – Very prominent Block “M” with serifs.
• 1937 – Thin stick-like “M” with no serifs
• 1938-1941 – Thin stick-like "M" with no serifs that looks like an inverted “W”
There are many varieties in this set and they are best identified by their “Allen” number. Of all the varieties identified and cataloged by Lyman Allen in his book “U.S./Philippine Coins,” NGC has only included the most famous one in the set. The 1918 Large “S” variety was most likely created when the S mint mark stamp for the 50 Centavo coin was used on the One Centavo die. There are also numerous doubled mint mark varieties, doubled date varieties and several doubled die varieties. Collecting all of the distinct die varieties would add a substantial challenge to completing this series!
• Composition (1903-1941): .950 copper, .050 tin and zinc
• Composition (1944): .950 copper, .050 zinc
• Weight: 80 grains (5.18 grams)
• Diameter: 25 millimeters
• Edge: Plain
In each of my coin descriptions I have tried to include the Allen number, information pertaining to specific year/mint of issue and information about the specific coin in the collection. I hope you find it informative.
Set goals: A complete set of coins grading MS63RD or above. This may be very difficult to achieve for several dates, but it will always give me something to aspire to!
• "U.S./Philippine Coins" by Lyman L. Allen 7th Edition 2012 updated and edited by Tom Culhane, Union NJ, 2012
• "U.S./Philippine Coins" by Lyman L. Allen 6th Edition 2008-2009 published by Lyman Allen Rare Coins Virginia City, NV 2007
• "United States Territorial Coinage for the Philippine Islands" by Neil Shafer, Whitman Publishing Company Racine, Wisconsin, 1961
• "Coins, Medals and Tokens of the Philippines 1728-1974" by Aldo P. Basso, second edition Bookman Printing House, Quezon City, 1975
• "The Rarity Book, United States Administration Coinage for the Philippines 1903-1946" ’94-’95 edition by Jeffrey A. Springsteen 1994
• "Foreign Coins Struck at United States Mints" by Charles G. Altz and E. H. Barton, Whitman Publishing Company Racine, Wisconsin, 1965
• "Domestic and Foreign Coins Manufactured by Mints of the United States 1793-1980", Department of the treasury, Bureau of the Mint, 1981
• "San Francisco Mint Cents 1908-24" posted by David Lange, NGC Research Director on July 1, 2003 (http://www.ngccoin.com/news/viewarticle.aspx?IDArticle=726)