Irregular Postings on Coin Collecting & Numismatics - Both Canonical & Conanical

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Numismatists Do Not Fear Change

Hot On The Trail – June 6, 1984

Hot On The Trail – June 6, 1984

“There was a double line …”

– The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet (BERY)

Illustration by Bill King – Numismatic News June 6, 1984 issue

In the early 1980’s, the United States Mint had an issue with many of the Lincoln cents it was striking having small doubling on many of the letters in the coin’s design. Sharp-eyed numismatists who collected errors and varieties hunted for these coins, and nearly every week in the numismatic press there were reports of new varieties being found. Bill King, an illustrator for Numismatic News, drew the above cartoon showing a Sherlock Holmes character on the search for these doubled die varieties.

The three major areas of doubling on a 1955 Lincoln cent – PCGS Coin Facts

The doubling that occurred on the Lincoln cents of the early 1980’s is relatively minor and generally needs a magnifying glass to be seen easily. We are illustrating this post with a picture of a 1955 doubled die cent, where the doubling is quite obvious. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 of these cents made it into circulation before the error was caught at the mint.

For the non-numismatists reading this post, it is important to remember that these coins were not struck twice, but only once. In the process of transferring the design from a master hub to the actual die that would strike the coins, these two items would become misaligned and created a doubled image on the die that struck these coins. There are 8 different classifications of doubled die errors.

John A. Wexler is a noted authority in the area of doubled die errors and has written several books that are the standard works on the topic. Check out his web page for a much more detailed description of how these occur.

Thanks to David C. Harper, Editor of Numismatic News for sharing this with us!

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