In The News ...
2000 'Extra Beard' Attribution Reversed!


Photos Ken Potter 2008/Coin courtesy of James P. McCarthy


Click one the image above to see Neff's analysis of this MAD Clash

Overlay created courtesy of B.J. Neff

    In my February 19 Numismatic News front page story I revealed that an "Extra Beard" variety had been found by NN reader James P. McCarthy of Wisc.  I also noted that I and a number of other variety coins specialists had designated it as a doubled die from a tilted hub.  Now I must report that all the researchers (including yours truly) who attributed it as a doubled die just weeks ago, have unanimously reversed our opinions and have reattributed it as a clashed die from a Misaligned Die (or what is often referred to as a MAD Clash).  Those of us who originally suggested that the coin was a doubled die based our opinions on the fact that overlays seemed to neatly fit the area of the so-called extra beard in another area of the beard just perfectly.   However, soon after the variety was first publicized, folks started finding more examples with the so-called extra beards from other dies with obvious clash marks.  A closer look at examples struck from the same dies as the original find also showed traces of clash but they were minor and overlooked as trivial by most the first time around.  With more "extra beards" being found from other dies with obvious clash marks a clash had to be reconsidered as a possible cause.

    With the clashed die being a strong candidate for the cause researchers then concentrated their efforts on creating new overlays to see if such an animal could be reproduced.  In fact several of us, including me, Billy Crawford and B.J. Neff (and perhaps others) worked up new overlays and worked with them until something did fit.  At first a clash fit perfectly with some of the newer finds (which were not from misaligned dies) and then as the images for the overlays were moved around we found that if the dies were misaligned we could also create a perfect fit for a Mad Clash or what we saw on the original "extra beard".  CONECA researcher, B.J. Neff created and supplied the overlay shown above.  His entire account with a detailed analysis complete with photomicrographic overlays with arrows of the areas in question can be accessed on the CONECA website at www.conecaonline.org.  CONECA member-researcher, Billy Crawford, also created extensive overlays along with an extensive account of what created this aberration and others that are similar.  The link to his work is also assessable from the CONECA website.  I believe there is also some work in this that appears on the www.coppercoins.com website that was created by Bob Piazza.
     In my opinion, the fact that attributers all agreed "too quickly" on this being a doubled die was definitely a part of the problem of it being misattributed by so many so quickly.  The fact that the "doubling" seemed to "fit" into the design was an even bigger part of the problem.  It is a lesson that reaffirms what many researchers already know, (or should know), which is that overlays that "fit" do not always necessarily confirm a variety even when they seem to do so at first glance."     


Photo Ken Potter 2008 / Coin courtesy of Susan Headley
Above is an example of a 2000 Lincoln Cent with a "normal" clash die sent in by Susan Headley of www.coins.about.com. Here we see the rectangular shaped area (from a bay of the Memorial building on the reverse) pointed out by the red arrows below the ear.  This is the typical area to see this aberration on many recent date Lincolns with clashed dies.  The so-called extra beard is also present on this specimen but in a much lower position than on the MAD Clash version.  They are pointed out by the yellow arrows.  The uppermost red arrow points to yet another clash mark. Interestingly, clash marks of the character pointed out by the yellow arrows have not yet been reported to us on other dates, which may be one of the reasons they were not noticed on the series until recently.  We will report further as we learn more so stay tuned in!

    Attributers who have delisted the 2000 Lincoln cent "Extra Beard" as being a doubled die include, John Wexler, James Wiles (CONECA), Ken Potter, Billy Crawford and Bob Piazza (of www.CopperCoins.com).  Credit should be given to all of the attributers involved in the research of this coin for nipping this misattribution in the bud before it became firmly entrenched into the hobby as a doubled die.
        With all this said, it is interesting to note that the reevaluation of the variety from a doubled die to a MAD Clash has not particularly destroyed its stature as a collectable.  A MAD Clash is a rather elusive class of variety in itself that has been catching on as "collectable" and we expect that hobbyists will continue to look for these and collect them.

    Ken Potter is the official attributer of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling. He also privately lists other collectable variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register. More information on either of the clubs or how to get a coin listed in the Variety Coin Register may be obtained by sending a long self addressed envelope with 60c postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076 or by contacting him via email at  kpotter256@aol.com. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his web site at www.koinpro.com.