These experimental pieces were made in various metals at the mint and in various plastics by private firms as a possible replacement for copper, tin and nickel which were needed to fight World War II.
Judd (seventh edition pages 222-223) and Pollock (pages 390-391 and 429-430) mention an article by Dr. William Anderson which appeared in the September 1942 edition of the Numismatist.
The obverse design apparently was copied from the Columbian two centavo and the reverse from a Washington medalet (Baker 155).
Examples are known in the following metals and are believed to have been struck at the mint:
Bronze J2051/P2073. Pollock lists the Ruby coin last sold in Bowers and Merena's sale of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Research Foundation sale.
Zinc J2053 which may be a misdescription of the next one.
Zinc Coated Steel J2054/P2074. About a half dozen are known. The 2 pieces listed as J2056 in Heritage's January 2006 Jules Reiver sale were found to be this instead.
Manganese J2055/P2075. Pollock lists one example.
White Metal J2056.
Aluminum J2057/P2076. Pollock reports the story of one example which has not since been confirmed.
Metallurgical analysis is recommended for any of the listed pieces.
These were also struck by the following companies in various plastics and glass - Durez Plastics and Chemicals, the Patent Button Company, Blue Ridge Glass Corporation, Bakelite Corporation and Colt Patent Firearms Company.
Bakelite J2067/P4001. Pollock lists one example from the 77 ANA set. This one or another was in Heritage 1/06 Jules Reiver sale. Bakelite is a condensation polymer of formaldehyde and phenol.
Transparent Amber Plastic J2065/P4005. Pollock lists one example from the 77 ANA set.
Hard Rubber Composition J2068/P4010. Pollock lists the Bowers and Merena 9/89 sale piece.
Lead Gray Plastic J2061/P4015 with several apparently known.
Fibrous Hard Black Plastic-like Material J2059/P4020. Pollock mentions the Melnick 7/82 example.
Light Tan-Colored Plastic J2063/P4025. An example is in the Smithsonian.
Dark Tan-colored Plastic J2063/P4030 with apparently several known.
Brown Plastic J2060/P4035. Pollock mentions one from the Bowers and Merena 1/92 sale.
Brass-colored Plastic J2064/P4040 with several known according to Pollock.
Reddish Brown Plastic-Type I J2062/P4045 with several known according to Pollock and are struck in normal 180 degree die alignment.
Reddish Brown Plastic-Type II J2062/P4050 with several known according to Pollock. These were struck with a 300 degree die alignment.
Rust-colored Plastic J2062/P4053. These were made by Durez Plastics and Chemicals and were molded from phenolic resin per Pollock.
Red Fibrous Composition J2066.
Tempered Glass J2069. These were made by Blue Ridge Glass Company. A solid example is illustrated in the October 14 edition of Numismatic News and also on the PCGSCoinFacts.com website. It was offered in Heritage 1/17 FUN sale where it was graded PCGS64. Another is cracked in half.
Photo courtesy of Bowers and Merena.