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Joe Falcetti
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Can someone help me? I recently found a 1942 Wheat penny, I mistakenly tried to clean it by using vinegar. I also tried to clean it by scubing it. My question is, on the front where the word WE is, the E is farther down than the W. Is this an error? I know that I basically destroyed the coins value, but still wondering about the E. Thanks for any info I can get. 

20200421_122724.jpg

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Welcome to the hobby! I’ve been collecting for over half a century, and learning new things about coins and currency never stops!

Anyway, that peculiarity exists on all Lincoln cents up till the 1960s. There are lots of sites with good closeups - I’ve tended to use PCGS' CoinFacts - and all the images back to 1909 show a lowered "E". My guess is that the letter was that way on the original master and for some reason was never addressed for all those years.

In 1968 the Mint decided the cent needed a facelift. There'd been so much wear that the obverse image was becoming quite "mushy", with details lost and mottos starting to merge into the edge-upset. Based on the photos I reviewed, it looks like the 1969 refresh finally kicked the E up by a fraction of a millimeter. 

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