Error-Variety News Letter #023

1999 Type-2 Reverse Cents Discovered!
by Ken Potter
January 30, 2002
Entire contents Copyrighted by Ken Potter 2002

Hello All,
It's been a very long while since the last newsletter which (like the many before it) was delayed mostly due to heavy sales from my ads, website and eBay sales. I simply have not had the time to produce a newsletter. While nobody is obligated to click on the links that take you to my website and coin offerings, I'd like to advise you that there are quite a few new coins and new books on this list. As you will note below, I have also added a number of educational articles in error-variety coins. Visit my updated Error-Variety Coin and other Collectibles pages: Ken Potter's Variety Vault

The first item on our agenda to report is that we have finally confirmed the existence of the 1999 Lincoln Cent with a Ty-2 Proof Style Reverse! The first reliable report came in to me from Brian Allen who successfully won an AU specimen on eBay for $60.00. While it took several months, I also managed to find a very small supply of Brilliant Uncirculated specimens. The supply is so small that I doubt very much that I will be offering any in national advertising like I did for the 1998 and 2000 Ty-2 cents. For now I plan to offer them one at a time on eBay. If you’d like to bid on the first one that I placed up for bid, (or just read more about it and view the comparison photos), you can find the auction by going here: Our eBay Auctions

I’d like to mention that our rare-coin-reproductions page has expanded to include a number of varieties including the 1955 Doubled Die Cent, and the 1942/1 and 1942/1-D dimes. Royal Oak Mint has also made a number of interesting "mules" and silver-cent issues that some of you may find interesting.  Go to this page here:   Rare-Coin-Reproductions


Questions & Answers

Hello Ken,
I was givin your e-mail address after asking about a 2000 $5.00 Am Gold Eagle error I found . It has 1/4 by 3/8 inch long divot; it runs from the eagles feet through E Pluribus Unum down to the nest. With a 10x loop you can still see the US in Pluribus and the UM in Unum. Can you tell me any thing about it?
Thanks Clint

Hi Clint,
This sounds like a strike-thru error and one that would be worth a premium, though it would be hard for me to assess value. I'd at least triple the value of the coin though ...
Hope that helps!

Hi Ken,
Thanks for the help with describing the cause of my Big Nosed Washington Quarter.

I knew it was very common to find "Fatigued Die" (die deterioration) quarters esp. since they're punching-out billions now but, I find it hard to understand that the size of George's nose doesn't distinguish this as an actual "Die Variety"?????

The fact that I have found 60 of them and have seen a few sold on eBay certainly is indicative that this particular quarter is "Rare" because no others from 1932 on displays such a comical profile of the nation's first president and one of the most recognizable portraits.

I've been looking at coins since 1957 (as a collector) and have NEVER seen Washington or any other subject with such a distinct (and comical) error. In my opinion it is as funny or unusual as the "Count Franklin" Half Dollar with fangs.

I am sorry for writing a book to you but I fail to understand why you sent it back with the "IQ test" for doubling, I know the difference, I just feel that this coin deserves the same recognition as the others in the same category, i.e., VAM 1888 O "Hotlips", 1955"Count Franklin" Half, etc.

Am I somehow missing something in my understanding of the process in which a coin becomes designated as a variety? Please let me know how you determine a coin's worthiness to get designated as a variety.

I hope I haven't bored you, I know you must be incredibly busy with your daily email piles and want you to know I wouldn't waste your time (intentionally) and sincerely hope you find these coins of interest. Thank you, I look forward to getting the '16 SLQ and to hearing from you regarding my lengthy inquiries.
Yours truly,

Hi Dan,
The thickening or doubling (as some might refer to it) of Washington's nose on your NY quarter, is the result of die deterioration (DD) or what others refer to as "die fatigue," "die crumbling," etc. This is very common on the States quarters due to the extended use of the dies and not uncommon on other denominations and during other years for all denominations. DD has a tendency to vary from issue to issue depending on a number of factors such as the geometry of the design, metals struck, die hardness, length of time the dies are used, type of die steel used, striking pressure, speed of strike, presses used, variations in heat treat, variations in die set/positioning, etc.

I sent the "Cherrypickers' Guide Doubling quiz/report" to you as it explains some of the conditions that cause doubling including DD, (referred to as "die fatigue" by the author of that quiz). In addition to doubling, DD can cause "patches" on or next to designs, thickening, twisting, etc., of designs. The "quiz" was offered for general interest to you as it relates to your coin.

An area where we frequently see this thickening, (or doubling if you will), is on the profile of portraits. For example, thickened or doubled noses on the Jefferson nickel are very common on pieces affected by heavy DD. We also see it on the Washington quarter to a lesser degree but frequently enough to consider it common. I honestly did not feel your coin was all that unusual for this particular affliction.

However, even if it was, it would not be listed as a variety as we do not, (nor am I aware of any variety coin attributer), that lists DD as a variety. It is considered in the description of a coin's die stage or die state but not as a die variety on modern coins (some groups of collectors of early American coins do collect by die state). It is often referred to as a "marker" to help identify the die stage and/or die state on "collectable" types of varieties such as a doubled dies or repunched mint marks. It is not the result of an error or any intentional change. It is inherent to die use; expected to occur on dies that are used for lengthy periods of time or suffering from premature die fatigue.

One of several reasons that variety catalogers do not list DD as a variety is that it's effects are dynamic. In fact, a die that has reached its later stages, as did the die for your coin, is subject to such rapid changes that it is virtually impossible to link the various stages of the deterioration together and assign them to individual dies. If stages can't be linked then die numbers cannot be assigned.

Another reason for not listing DD, (probably the most important), is that it is far too common to have captured the interest of the vast majority of seasoned variety collectors. In general, it is shunned by those in the organized hobby because they know there is no end to the parade of thousands of so-called varieties that could be assembled for each year of a particular denomination for this type of variation (especially during years that this condition is common).

The general attitude toward DD is: "it is normal, uncatalogable and common -- so who cares." This collector preference is based on a working knowledge of what they are dealing with rather than catchy nicknames.

To offer some historical perspective, in the 1960s there was an attempt by "listers" in both the United States and Canada to catalog minor variations with catchy nicknames, like "floating roof," "pencil in ear," "cracked skull," "plug in ear," "bug tail," "double back," double nose," "double dome," "tear in eye," "weeping Queen," "broken vest," "prisoner cent," etc. The idea was that you could take common variations such as over-polished dies (resulting in missing details), die deterioration doubling or "patches," die cracks, die chips, minor clashes, etc., and assign catchy nicknames to them. Supposedly this made them more desirable and it allowed marketers to obtain coins very cheaply, for which there was otherwise no market, and then sell them as significant varieties. All you had to do was find something about the coin that lent itself to a catchy nickname and you had a "new variety" ready for promotion.

With imaginations running rampant, this resulted in an explosion of so-called "new" varieties that promoters began marketing. For a while such coins sold but later as buyers wanted to cash in or finders of the varieties wanted to sell, they learned that the buy-market was perhaps $1 or $2 per roll (for cents) and so on. As a result, the market collapsed.

In backlash, new catalogers shunned listing such items not just because they were too common to list as individual die varieties but also because they knew they were common types of variations that could be abused in the market by promoters -- which in turn could give the error-variety hobby a "black eye." There was also a desire to categorize varieties into strict classifications based on causes rather than catchy nicknames that it was felt were all to often used to inflate or conceal the true significance of a coin.

In fact, it took me a number of years (and a new ownership) to convince the editors of Canadian Coins News (CCN) that a regular column on errors and varieties was desirable to the readers of their publication. In my earliest attempts to write for them in the early 1980s, I was told they wanted to avoid promoting errors and varieties due to the abuses of the past and they promptly declined my proposed error-variety column. Eventually I was able to convince a new editor (now past) that education was a better tool in avoiding hobby abuses than the stifling of information. Thereafter, CCN then began regularly publishing error-variety articles from me and others -- something it had largely abandoned for a number of years.

Now, I do realize that your coin may be a bit different from the average example of DD but the problem is that there are far too many that are a "bit different" than average. Where would one draw the line as to which examples of DD (or other minor variations) to list? If I list your "Schnozzole Nose NY Quarter" then I must list the next fellow's "Cigar Behind Washington's Ear" or "Bullet in Lincoln's Head" or "Tear in Roosevelt's Eye" or "Clogged 9" variety. All are a "little bit different" than average but would eventually amount to tens of thousands of useless, nontechnical variety nicknames masking common variations for which there is virtually no market when described as what they really are. This is a Pandora's Box no lister is willing to open -- least his/her credibility be open to question and the abuses of the past begin anew. Also note that none of the credible slabbing services will list DD as a variety on the holder.

To comment on the fact that a few have sold on eBay, I can only say that almost anything described as a variety can be sold on eBay if it is described with enough "sizzle in the steak." The buyers might be best described as "newbies" to the variety hobby. As P. T. Barnum once said, "There is a sucker born every minute." What happens is they buy the "variety" and then either keep it, never suspecting that there is no real buy-sell market for it, or eventually try to get it slabbed or listed as a variety at which point they learn it is not a recognized, "collectable" variety type and they become disenchanted. Then they either sell the "hot potato" to the next unsuspecting "newbie" or "live and learn" chucking it up to experience. Unfortunately, far too many that get burned in this manner, leave the error-variety hobby for good with a bad taste in their mouth. I suppose as long as items like this sell for fifty cents or a dollar, nobody really gets hurt. It's when the prices get inflated and the buyer eventually tries to sell the coin to a knowledgeable dealer or buyer that the problems start.

The nicknamed coins you compared your NY quarter to are varieties resulting from different causes generally considered collectable to one degree or another. Generally the organized error-variety hobby discourages the use of nicknames. However, a few nicknames for varieties do catch on and stick. As long as they are for significant varieties that would hold up on their own merits anyway – no harm is done. The popular 1888-O "Hot Lips" Morgan dollar is a major doubled die while the moderately popular 1955 "Bugs Bunny" Franklin half (your "Count Franklin)" is the result of die clash which resulted from the wing feathers on the tiny eagle found on the reverse, (to the right of the Liberty Bell), being impressed on the obverse die in the area of Franklin's mouth, thereby making him look like he has buckteeth or fangs.

Doubled dies are extremely popular while clashes are of medium to low interest on most issues and high interest on a few exceptions. (Clashes are most often collected by the error crowd based on strength with the stronger ones commanding some premium since they are generally uncommon and have visual impact. A very few are collected as varieties -- particularly by VAM collectors.)

I hope that helps explain my position on the coin.

Hi Ken,
I found a 1883 Liberty Head Nickel with a reeded edge, I know that they made fake "racketeer" $5 gold plated ones but this is one with the "CENTS" so I doubt if it was done for that reason. Have you ever seen another? Do you think it was done by the Mint? Or by someone else? The ANA library was no help.

Hello Dan,
On your 1883 5c "With Cents" that has a "reeded edge," an educated guess is that it was inadvertently processed to become a "Racketeer Nickel" but was discovered to be the wrong type before it was plated and then rejected by the scoundrels that were creating the alterations. As you know the Racketeer Nickels were 1883 5c pieces of the first type sans the word CENTS on the reverse, with "reeding" lathed into their edges and subsequently gold plated and passed off as $5 gold coins. Later in the year the Mint added the word CENTS to the design to hinder this practice.

I hope this helps answer your questions.
Sincerely yours,

Is this the same book you have listed for 29.95 on your Website? You have it starting in eBay for more! You won't fool me again!

Hi Bill,
Yes it is. Many items can be found on our website cheaper than in commercial auctions. This is a reflection of our significantly lower cost to sell on the website v.s., eBay. The harder it is to sell an item, (and the exact price is most often not the main selling point), the higher the price set for the "buy-it-now price" on eBay. For example: the Washington variety books are poor sellers anywhere including eBay. It takes many auctions for me to sell one there. Each time it is listed I have to pay the insertion fee and gallery fee plus the seller fee when it finally does sell. Worse yet for the Washington variety books is that there are two different books by two different authors that compete against each other in our auctions. If a customer buys one he/she will probably not buy the other. In the end, I make more profit selling one off of my site at $29.95, (were I have almost zero overhead), than selling one on eBay at the higher price. On the other hand some items are better sellers, with higher profit margins, and I do not have to be as concerned about overhead and I may chose to sell them on eBay at the same price as on my website (or normally start them out a tiny bit lower).

I suggest you always go to my site first to check on a price before bidding on any item I have on eBay. I utilize eBay because it offers tens of thousands of prospective customers that I could not reach in any other way -- but their services are very expensive.
Sincerely yours,

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

  Phone: 1-(313)255-8907   E-mail:
I accept payment through's PayPal!

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


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