Is My 1969-S Cent
"The" Doubled Die?
Copyright Ken Potter 2002
Images of 1969-S Doubled Die Courtesy of J.T. Stanton
Genuine 1969-S Doubled Die
Without question, one of the most frequent
questions we field in reference to doubled dies revolves around the 1969-S Lincoln Cent.
There are two key reasons for this; the first is that the 1969-S doubled die is an
extremely valuable coin with recent prices exceeding $10,000 and the highest price (for a
certified MS65) nearly breaking the $60,000 mark. As a consequence, folks are
naturally interested in knowing more about a coin that is of a vintage recent enough to
potentially still be found in pocket change and of a date still being offered in brilliant
uncirculated roll quantities at very modest prices.
The second reason we get so many questions about this coin is the fact that this date, along with the 1968-S and 1970-S cents, arguably share the distinction of boasting the largest percentage of examples of strike doubled coins within their respective mintages over that of any other US coins. The fact is, it is hard to find a roll of cents for any of these dates without finding pieces exhibiting this affliction.
Although worthless (and technically a form of damage) strike doubling damage is often confused by non-variety specialists as being hub doubling or what we commonly refer to as a doubled die. Strike doubling damage is often referred to by others as "mechanical doubling," "machine doubling damage," "shelf doubling," "die bounce," and a host of other terms.
The trick to learning if your coin is the valuable doubled die is to simply match your coin to the photos shown above. If you have the valuable doubled die, it will exhibit the doubling in all the areas exactly as shown in the images.
If your coin is strike doubling damage, (as 99.9+% of the finds are), it will show doubling in varying locations, directions and strengths on the coin (which can vary greatly from coin to coin). These areas of doubling may be in similar locations to the genuine doubled die but will not show the well-rounded, overlapping, raised images you see on the doubled die.
Conversely, strike doubling, (which is the result of die-bounce [due to vibrations in the press] that occurs within the split second after the coin is struck), will typically show as flat shelf-like extensions of the doubled characters; there will be no open field areas in-between the doubled images as are clearly seen on the genuine article. On many extreme examples of strike doubling you will actually see the narrowing of the original raised character from whence the lower shelf of doubling originated when that portion of that character was smashed down into the field. This narrowing of the original height of a character is not always obvious but is another diagnostic of strike doubling to look for.
We show typical examples of strike doubling damage on the dates of the 1968-S and 1957-D Lincoln cents below. We repeate that this doubling may show in any direction in any areas of the coin either widely across the entire design or just restricted to just one of two elements. It may be more closely doubled or more widely doubled than shown here. It is also not limited to the dates shown below but shows up on just about every date, denomination and type ever struck by any Mint.
Photos by Ken Potter
1968-S and 1957-D Cents Exhibiting Strike Doubling
For more detailed information on doubled dies
and other forms of doubling, we recommend that you visit our Educational Image Gallery>
We are interested in hearing from anybody who finds a genuine 1969-S doubled die!
For more information on this item click below:
Send email to: KPotter256@aol.com
Numismatist Since 1959 ~ Serving
the Collector Since 1973
CONECA's Longest Serving Doubled Die Attributer
Member of: ANA CONECA-LM NLG NCADD-FM MSNS-LM
NWDCC RCC COINMASTERS LCS WBCC BBCC
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