When I started collecting coins, there were two known and they were both on Lincoln Cents: 1955 and 1972. Today, there are many more doubled die coins out there. So, today we’ll learn more about doubled dies.
NOTE: Though some people call them “double die”, Numismatics will tell you the term is “doubled die” with the “d” at the end of “double”.
What is a Doubled Die Coin?
Contrary to popular belief, a doubled die coin does not mean that the coin was double struck. It actually happens before in the die hubbing process. A hub is the positive or relief image of a coin impressed on a steel die when a coin die is created. If the hub or die gets shifted or altered, the finished die will produce a double image. The doubled dies on the 1955 and 1972 Lincoln Cents are easy to see without using any magnifications. The die process back then was done manually, but today it is done through computers. So, doubled dies are not seen as much, but there are some out there that are not are easily noticed as the 1955 Lincoln Cent.
Doubled Dies are sometimes abbreviated as DDO if the Doubled Die is on the obverse of Coin and DDR if it is on the reverse.
So how are doubled dies being discovered?
Over the years, more coin collectors have been looking for coin varieties or errors on coins. They are known as cherrypickers. These people put in a lot of time and patience looking for something different on their coins. Doubled dies are one of the most popular errors that they find. There is even a book called the “Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins” that will show all the different varieties that have been found. I remember seeing this book years ago at a coin show and there was a lot in there. I can only imagine what they have today.
Some Doubled Dies Out There
Here are some popular doubled dies that I found in the 2018 Red Book (the doubled die is on the obverse unless otherwise noted):
- Lincoln Cent – 1917, 1936, 1943-D Doubled Die Mintmark, 1955, 1971-S Proof, 1972, 1995
- Buffalo Nickel – 1916, 1935
- Jefferson Nickel – 1939 Double Monticello and “Five Cents”, 1945-P Reverse
- Roosevelt Dime – 1960 Proof, 1963 Reverse, 1964-D Reverse
- Washington Quarter – 1934, 1937, 1942-D, 1943, 1943-S
- Walking Liberty Half Dollar – 1946
- Franklin Half Dollar – 1961 Proof
- Kennedy Half Dollar – 1974-D
- Morgan Dollar – 1888-O, 1901
- Peace Dollar – 1934-D
My Doubled Die Coins
As I write this, I have two doubled die coins, the 1995 Lincoln Cent and the 1974-D Kennedy Half Dollar.
The 1995 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die is not as rare as the 1955, but it’s definitely tougher to see. Using the magnifier, you can see it on the “BER” of “LIBERTY”.
The 1974-D Kennedy Half Dollars had another doubled die that is difficult to see without a magnifier. It is on the obverse and the most distinguishable part is the “RUS” in “TRUST”.
So Keep Checking Your Change
You never know, but someday you may look at a penny, and find out that it may be worth more than a penny. You may see a double date or a double Lincoln Memorial and add your discovery to the Cherrypickers’ Guide.