Nashua Coins

The Henning Nickel

The beginning

In 1954, collectors in the New Jersey/ New York area began reporting 1944 nickels turning up in circulation. Missing the “P” mint mark on the back and the lack of wartime 35% silver composition.  These have been referred to as the “Henning” nickel, these counterfeits made by Francis Leroy Henning of Erial, New Jersey. The  FBI quickly caught on in 1954, It is estimated that more than 100,000 of these put into circulation in 1954-55.  Also, the coins weighed 5.4 grams compared to 5-5.1 grams for authentic coins. 


The consequences

The legend is that Henning dumped 200,000 to 400,000 counterfeit in creeks and rivers in New Jersey when the Feds sought him. The counterfeits are made of 80% nickel with some steel and other elements.  One of the mysteries associated with the issue is why did he make them. Considering that given the materials and work involved, it was not economically beneficial. In fact, he probably lost money on them. Henning was also purported to have produced counterfeits dated 1939, 1946, 1947, and 1953.  He had a previous arrest for counterfeiting $5 bills. When caught, Henning was sentenced to 3 years in jail and fined $5,000.00 for his counterfeit American coins.

To learn more about historic American coins and also see our coin collection, visit Nashua Coins & Collectibles. If you have any questions about our business or what we have to offer, give us a call at 603 718-1018





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