Counterfeit Nickel

(1944 No P)

An unofficial variety of the wartime nickel dated 1944 was counterfeited in 1954.

These nickels were made by Francis Leroy Henning, a 62 year-old mechanical engineer from Erial, New Jersey.

The counterfeits were quickly spotted since Henning neglected to add the large mark of the Philadelphia Mint

(P) on the reverse of the coin. Also, the R in “E Plurbis Unum” had a loop in the lower-left leg, probably done by mistake whiling engraving the reverse die.

Reports say that counterfeit nickels dated 1939, 1946, 1947, and 1953, were also produced by Henning.

It’s estimated that more than 100,000 of Henning's nickels reached circulation. Henning is supposedly reported to have said he dumped another 200,000 nickels— of which only 14,000 were recovered—and his counterfeit coin dies in the Copper River of New Jersey. Another report states that an additional 200,000 nickels where dumped in the Schuylkill River.

When caught, Henning was sentenced to 3 years in jail and had to pay a $5,000 fine, which amounts to about $37,000 today.

“Henning” Nickel

No (P) Mint Mark



Looped R

Non looped R

(P) Mint Mark

Coin Type: Silver “War” Jefferson Nickel - 5¢

Genuine Weight: 5 grams

Metals: 56% Copper, 35% Silver &

9% Manganese


Counterfeit’s Weight: 5.4 grams