Ken Potter's Educational Series ...

Canada 2006 Five-Cents
Centralized Multiple Tilted/Pivoted Hub Doubled Die Reverse
 Canada 2006 5c VCR#1/DDR#1(3) BS (Cupro-nickel, Multi-Ply Plated Steel P & L) NC, SP? PR? (MD).
by Ken Potter - NLG
Coins Courtesy of Chuck Avery

Here is a look at  the doubled die with all the areas of doubling pointed out by the red arrows.

This is the normal reverse design as found on 2005 and 2007 (and other dates) for the specific type.

     Last Spring while researching recent-date Canadian five-cent pieces for a study still in progress, I decided to also check for centralized doubled dies.  Centralized doubled dies are of the sort that have became the standard on U.S. coins since the single-squeeze hubbing process replaced the old multiple hubbing process in the late 1980s.

    It seemed to me that since Canada switched over to the single-squeeze hubbing process (known in Canada as Restrain Hobbing) in the late 1970s that they too may be producing centralized doubled dies that folks were completely missing simply because nobody was looking.  While searching the stock of Michigan dealer and error-variety coin specialist Chuck Avery at a local show, I finally got to the 2006 Canadian five-cent pieces and to my surprise the first one I looked at bore a boldly hub doubled interior section of the beaver!  I then looked at the rest of them and found that every 2006 he had in stock displayed the same bold doubling.  At that point I decided that I was either very lucky in finding four or five of the same doubled die at one dealer's  table or that such luck might simply be an indicator that all 2006 Canadian five-cent pieces bore this doubled die originating from a doubled master die.  If the second scenario was true then it  would mean the doubling occurred during the production of a master die (from a master hub) and was then transferred to the working hub(s) and in turn to all the working dies and coins made from them.

    As luck would have it, a further search of other dealers' tables of circulation strikes and those contained in government issued Brilliant Uncirculated Mint sets revealed that every coin for the date that I could find on the floor had the same doubling!  Additionally, I quickly realized that 2006 was a transition year and that there were three circulation strike versions of the 2006 five-cent piece; one made from the cupro-nickel alloy that had been in use since 1982, a second from the multi-ply plated steel composition first introduced in 2000 and marked with a "P" below the bust of Queen Elizabeth II and yet another of the same multi-ply plated steel composition with the new Maple Leaf Logo, which was presumably introduced in the later part of 2006 and replaced the "P" from that point on (the "P" indicates that the coin is plated).  In a follow-up check at his office, Avery was able to confirm that all three circulating versions of the coin bore the doubled die.  This was disinheriting but facts are facts and they strongly supported my gut feeling that all 2006 Canadian five-cent pieces display this doubling.  So in spite of it being a quite massive centralized doubled die -- one of the best I've ever seen -- my extended search ultimately proved that this doubled die is "normal" for the year in question!

   While common, it is nonetheless an important coin as it underscores the fact that folks need to realize that the single-squeeze hubbing process that had been advertised by the Mints as the eliminator of doubled dies, has not lived up to what was advertised!  What has occurred is that the more traditional types of doubled dies from the earlier years that often showed anywhere from light to very strong doubling along the legends, dates, etc., near the rims have been largely eliminated by the newer process but that the centralized doubled dies that occur due to titled die/hub marriages that seat themselves into proper position during the initial squeeze have not been eliminated but in fact may have been exasperated by the newer process.  At least this has been demonstrated on U.S. coins since folks started taking a closer look at them starting in early 2006 when well over 100 different centralized doubled die varieties were found on the 2005 Minnesota State Quarters from all Mints and hundreds of others from other dates and denominations searched since that time.  So while this find has not turned out to be a great rarity; from a scholarly standpoint, it needs to be documented if for no other reason than to let folks know that they exist, that they are not rare and should not command prices over the normal numismatic value of the coin.  More importantly this find should put collectors on the alert that they should be searching other recent date Canadian coins for centralized doubled dies, most of which will probably be proven to be emissions from a single working die and turn out to be scarce to rare.  It should also go without saying that centralized doubled dies do exist on some of the earlier emissions that have been largely  missed by collectors simply because very few have been examining the more centralized areas of the designs for doubled dies, so all dates and denominations should be checked.

    While I've only mentioned that this is a doubled master die so far, it should be noted that it is technically a tripled master die that shows doubling as a very strong widely displaced portion of the beaver's ear to the south, a set of extra claws of the front left paw predominantly wide east of the primary claws (which in themselves are also doubled on the two most easterly secondary claws along with the doubled extra portion of the secondary ear). Other hub doubling including that of the tree trunk, (that the beaver is partially sitting upon), and beaver's upper rear claw that is widely displaced predominantly north of the primary images into the lowest relief area of the beaver between the front and rear legs. Lesser doubling shows as extra fur lines in front of the lower shoulder.

    Variety coin specialists who have previewed these images (or the coin) include: Chuck Avery, Jerry Kennison, John Wexler, Billy Crawford, James Wiles, B.J. Neff and Tom DeLorey.  All agreed that it was a doubled die with DeLorey first suggesting it was the probable result of a pivoted and tilted hub/die.

    According to DeLorey, "The extra fur lines below the beaver's neck match the fur lines on the beaver's jowl, displaced down and to the right in direct correlation to the displacement of the "knuckles" on the left forepaw. Using a pivot point at approximately the beaver's left front shoulder (to the right and maybe down just a bit from his ear, which I believe can be seen at the top of the valley between his head and shoulder) you can make all of these markings line up from a single extra partial impression of the hub, except of course for the two doubled "knuckles" on the displaced left forepaw.

    In other words we have one greatly displaced partial impression showing rotation around a pivot point, not slippage, and a third very slightly displaced impression that can only be seen on the two "knuckles" [and the beaver's secondary partial ear]. That would make it a tripled master die, in my opinion.

    The amount of rotation suggests that the hub was brought down on a tilted die blank, with perhaps a bit of slippage that caused the two doubled "knuckles," [and secondary partial ear] after which the hub was brought back up while the die blank was reset level (and rotated slightly), after which the hub was brought back down again. Despite assurances from our mints to the contrary, I do not believe that hubbing press operators do not sometimes double hub dies that are supposed to be single hubbed. I think that is exactly what happened on this master die."

    Crawford was in agreement with DeLorey saying: "I agree with Tom's analysis. I have seen a similar type on a Lincoln Memorial cent [reverse] that exhibits doubling of columns from an extreme rotation. Then additional doubling remnants of another column that is not rotated but rather extends parallel with the column."  He then created overlays from my images of a normal coin from 2007 confirming the area of the pivot and determined that the strongest doubling was caused by a 19.6 degree counter-clockwise rotation from the pivot point that he designates in his overlay with a blue arrow (the same general area that DeLorey had suggested)..

    The tripling shows on both business strikes and coins taken from uncirculated mint sets (often referred to by U.S. collectors as Proof-Like Sets and more recently in Canadian circles as "Brilliant Uncirculated Sets"). It is not yet known if these are also found on the Specimen or the sterling silver Proof issues. 

Here is an overlay created in Photoshop from a an image of a normal 2007 dated coin with the top image rotated from the pivot point (pointed out by the blue arrow) by 19.6 degrees counter-clockwise and the two areas of strongest of doubling highlighted in red and pointed to by red arrows.  The areas of doubling duplicated with these normal images are a perfect match for the 2006 doubled die reverse five-cent piece.  Overlays were created by renowned variety coin specialist, Billy Crawford.

A close up of the 2006 doubled die.

A close up of the normal reverse taken from a 2007 dated piece.

How The Variety Occurred

    In Canada, prior to 1978, hub doubling was possible due to the technology in use at the time and a phenomenon known as work-hardening.  Work hardening caused the metal of the face of a die to become too hard and too brittle to allow a complete image to be sunk into the die in without causing it to crack or shatter during the multiple hubbing process.  As a result, several impressions or hubbings were required to produce a die.  Between each hubbing the die was removed from the hubbing press and annealed (softened) thus allowing for another impression without shattering the die.  If for some reason a partially finished die was reinstalled into a hubbing press for strengthening and the hub and die were improperly indexed, resulting in a misalignment of images, or if the hub varied in design from the one(s) used for earlier impressions -- hub doubling would result.  The multiple hubbing process was replaced by a number of countries in recent decades by the more modern “single squeeze” restrained hubbing process. This process eliminated the work hardening problem and a need for multiple hubbings but it did not eliminate all forms of hub doubling which then began to show up in more centralized locations than with the old multiple hubbing process.

    The area of doubling on the subject coin is found within the lower relief areas of the center of the coin’s design. This is an important key to its attribution because many specialists believe many or most doubled dies that share this characteristic are the result of tilted hubs that were seated into proper position during a single hubbing.   Tilted Hub Doubling restricted to such centralized areas of design are possible due to the result of either of two or both related scenarios described below.

        1) The hub is backed off after the initial kiss of the hub into a tilted die blank and is then reset and hubbed again.

        2) The hub and die blank are titled in relation to each other and are then forced to seat into proper position by hubbing pressure within a split second after the initial kiss of the hub into the tip of the die blank.

    The face of a die blank (referred to as a “die block” in Mint jargon) is machined with a slightly conical configuration to aid in the flow of metal during hubbing. This would indicate that the initial kiss of a hub into a die blank would be restricted to this centralized area before continuing on to fill out the rest of the design. During this process the tip of a titled die blank would be positioned slightly off location away from the center of the hub into a different area of design than intended and thus the misplaced area of doubling found on most centralized doubled dies.

    We have very similar effects known on several Canadian 1974 Winnipeg Centennial nickel dollars where all the doubling is restricted to centralized areas of the design from dies created during the multiple hubbing era.  These are cases where centralized doubling may have occurred within the first pass of the hub to die due to either or both of the possible causes listed above. Former Royal Canadian Mint Master Engraver, Walter Ott attributed the first 1974 doubled die reverse dollar (the only one he saw first-hand) as being created in the manner described above indicating that the doubling could have been created via either of the two scenarios noted here.

    With this 2006 five-cent piece, we are well into the single-squeeze hubbing era so some researchers feel that the more minor doubling, on the beaver's secondary area of ear and two secondary claws, could have occurred when a tilted hub/die seated into proper position early within the initial squeeze of the hub to die, while the more widely displaced doubling (the primary images) were caused by a hubbing press operator backing off the hub early and re-indexing the assembly a bit off location and creating the even more massive doubling.  Others feel that the hub and die may have shifted twice during the same single-squeeze resulting in the tripling or that either possibility may have been the culprit with no way of proving one scenario over the other.

    As the name implies, the single-squeeze hubbing procedure, impresses a complete design into a die with just one pass of the hub but as we have learned recently, at least in the U.S. Mints, there has been some fudging on this requirement with it now known, (according to information given to John Wexler by a Mint official), that some hubbing press operators were backing off hubs when they saw alignment problems and resetting the die/hub assembly into the press before completing the operation.  

    The field of centralized doubled dies is wide open and I expect to hear of many new and exciting finds.  Let me know what you find!

Ken Potter
P.O. Box 760232
Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232

Phone: 1-(313)255-8907 E-mail:

Numismatist Since 1959 ~ Serving The Collector Since 1973
CONECA's Longest Serving Doubled Die Attributer