Two weeks ago, I said new reports of ?extra tree? varieties on the Minnesota quarters had dwindled drastically. No sooner than taking my next trip to the post office did I find out how wrong I was.
With this issue I have a total of 18 new varieties to report; 13 are new listings for Philadelphia, three for Denver and two for the San Francisco proof issues ? including the first one on a silver proof.
The newest additions to the list are designated by doubled die numbers, shown as DDR# as assigned by leading doubled die attributers Billy G. Crawford, myself, John Wexler and James Wiles.
DDR#42 ? This one displays a tiny portion of an extra branch on the lower right of the primary tree. There is also a nice portion of the highest relief area of the left side of the rock to the right of the primary tree doubled up to the north of the main rock. Submitted by Andrew M. Suchan Sept. 6.
DDR#43 ? This one displays a tiny portion of an extra branch on the lower right of the primary tree. It is very similar to DDR#23. Submitted by Richard Helbig Sept. 6.
DDR#44 ? Shows as a tiny teardrop-shaped portion from the high relief area from the center of the ?primary tree? to the right above the rock. Similar to DDR#29 in position but smaller. Submitted by Steven Bernatowicz Sept. 3.
DDR#45 ? Shows as a portion of the primary tree to the right with the doubling fully displaced from its point of origin out in the field.Similar to DDR#21 and DDR#27 but further to the right. Also shows doubling to the right of the second full tree to the right of the state outline and other areas pointed out by arrows. Submitted by Colleen Prebish Sept. 7.
DDR#46 ? Shows as portions of the primary tree to left side. Slight traces of the rock to the right side of tree are present right of primary tree. Compare this variety to DDR#3 for the Denver issue to get a better idea of where the doubling is from and a stronger view. Submitted by Colleen Prebish Sept. 7.
DDR#47 ? Shows as area of the primary tree to left side as pointed out by the arrows. Found in a government-issue mint set. Submitted by Blaine T. Coffey Sept. 13.
DDR#48 ? Shows two of the highest relief areas of the rock to the right of the ?primary tree? floating free in the field to the northwest of the rock. A tiny bit of the tree also shows as pointed out by the upper vertical arrow. Two different coins were photographed; one in a very slightly earlier die stage and shows a bit more of the ?extra rock.? That image also shows strike doubling on the right side of the tree that is NOT a part of the hub doubling (doubled die). Submitted by John Wexler Sept. 3. Images and die stages shown here from coins submitted by Gerald Fishman/G&F Coin Galleries Sept. 14.
DDR#49 ? Shows as a horn-shaped portion of the tree on the left of the primary tree as pointed out by the arrow. Found in a government-issue mint set. Submitted by Allen Campbell and Ray McCaffrey Sept. 19.
DDR#50 ? Shows as extra portions of the tree branches on the right side of the primary tree as pointed out by the arrows. Submitted by John Wexler Sept. 3. Photo courtesy of John Wexler.
DDR#51 ? Shows as a triangular portion of the primary tree as pointed out by the arrow. Submitted by John Wexler Sept. 3. Image courtesy of John Wexler.
DDR#52 ? Shows doubling on the right side of the primary tree as overlapping images of upper branches. Submitted by Jim Brown Aug. 24. Photo courtesy of John Wexler.
DDR#53 ? Shows doubling on the left side of the primary tree. Submitted by Jim Brown Aug. 24. Photo courtesy of John Wexler.
DDR#54 ? Shows doubling on right side of primary tree. Found in mint set. Submitted by James Wiles Sept. 15. Image courtesy of James Wiles.
DDR#4 ? This one displays an extra branch on the lower right of the primary tree. There is also some very light doubling to the right of the branch above the one pointed out by the arrow. Submitted by Kevin Zaletel Sept. 6. Found in government-issue mint set.
DDR#5 ? This one displays portions of an ?extra tree? to the right of the primary tree. Submitted by Charles Cataldo Jr. Sept. 12.
DDR#6 ? This one displays ?extra images? between the areas of the primary tree and rock to right. It is unknown as to exactly what this doubling represents. Submitted by Charles Cataldo Jr. Sept. 12.
San Francisco proofs
DDR#3 ? This one involves a portion of the primary tree with the doubling fully displaced from its point of origin snuggled in against the tree very low. The reverse designs of this variety were frosted in a very sloppy, lazy manner with no attention paid to staying out of the fields or covering all areas of design. For example, the field area between the primary tree and the rock to the right is frosted instead of ?mirror-like?; the evergreen trees are frosted in an inverted ?V? pattern with no attention to making sure the outer tips of the branches are frosted and no attention paid to maintaining the mirror fields in-between those branches. Compare to the meticulous frost on DDR#2. Clad proof. Submitted by Kevin Zaletel Sept. 6.
DDR#4 ? This one involves a portion of the primary tree with the doubling fully displaced from its point of origin far over to the right above the rock. This is the teardrop-shaped area that seems as though it was ?draped? with frost as not only is it frosted but so is the field area below it. Like DDR#3, the reverse designs of this variety were frosted in a very sloppy, lazy manner with no attention paid to staying out of the fields or covering all areas of design. Silver proof. Submitted by Dennis Hougard Sept. 8.
A quick look on eBay, where the vast majority of the pieces entering the market are being sold, shows that the prices are all over the board. In two weeks prior to this report, about 200 auctions had crossed the block with one or more of the varieties offered (one auction offered an entire roll of the lesser doubled dies). Prices garnered appeared almost to be random at first, but upon closer look it was clear that the strongest varieties were bringing in the most money. Those graded and encapsulated by Professional Coin Grading Service, ANACS or Independent Coin Grading bringing in the top dollars.
Those in the satin finish taken from or still within mint sets also appeared popular.
Selling prices ranged from one apparently circulated and unattributed example selling for as little as 99 cents to a PCGS-certified example of the 2005-D DDR#1 with satin finish graded MS-67 selling for $799.
It was also apparent that the better the image an auctioneer used, the better the chances of it selling at a higher level. I would estimate that approximately 30-35 percent of auctions did not receive bids at all. This seemed to occur most often when a seller (or sellers) put up too many of the same coin. The result was that some sold and others didn?t. In general it can be said that few exceeded $300 (11 pieces) while many of the lesser varieties sold anywhere from about $10 to $75 depending on auction presentation, number of pieces offered and grade. Again, having them slabbed seemed to help their sales. The stronger varieties often sold for over $100 with many in the upper $100-$200 ranges.
A logical question to ask about these doubled dies is why there are so many, and now that collectors are starting to find them on the Oregon issue, will they be found on all the states quarter issues in the same quantities? Some observers are predicting we will find many more on the other state quarter designs, suggesting that they just have not been found yet because nobody has looked.
While I feel there are probably more out there, I?m less inclined to feel they will surface on all the other states in the quantities they have on the Minnesota quarters. In my 33-year experience in a manufacturing environment, I find that when new machinery or tooling comes in, we see a break-in period were there are a few bugs that need to be worked out by technicians. That period might be equated to the 1997 ?doubled ear? Lincoln cent doubled dies where there was one major variety and a few more minor.
After the vendor, our engineers and machine repair personnel get it right and tight, an operation may work just fine 99+ percent of the time for five, six, seven years, at which point it becomes so worn and sloppy that it really needs to be replaced or is in need of major overhaul. Often we know this tooling will be completely replaced and we try to live with it for another year or two with minor fixes in-between. During this period all kinds of ?errors? occur, mostly all kinds we can live with.
I could be completely wrong, but my guess is that the tooling in the U.S. Mint?s hubbing presses reached that stage of needing replacement when it got to the Oregon quarters and got worse with the Minnesota quarters.
Alignment/adjustment slots that may exist within the tooling might have been heavily worn, the tooling itself may be worn and sloppy, maybe the inside of the collar that holds the die blank and hub together is worn or chipped.
If I remember correctly, the die blank has a sort of segmented chuck tightened around its lower circumference like the chuck that tightens down on a drill bit. If this is worn out, has broken springs or what have you, they might have been getting doubled dies due to slop in that area. If they operate like many stamping operations, there is often little time for a major overhaul – you just do the best you can to meet deadlines and get things fixed when you have some time. This is what I?m going to guess is the situation when it comes to the more major varieties that came out in 2005. On the other hand, I believe the more minor doubled dies will always be with us.
Many collectors have asked about the possible mintages of these coins and to date the Mint has not been able to provide all the answers. However, we have received a partial answer. In regard to the special satin-finish quarters contained in the government-issued mint sets, Michael White of the U.S. Mint?s Office of Public Affairs stated that an average of 15,000-20,000 pieces were struck from a die before being retired. Thus, the mintages for these issues will be far lower than for general-circulation strikes where they may be struck in the middle to upper hundreds of thousands. Still, with all of these coins being preserved in sets, the supply is available.
All the varieties described here are believed to be due to tilted hub doubling. See earlier installments in this series, or my article in last week?s issue on the Oregon doubled dies, for an explanation.
There could be many more doubled die varieties for the Minnesota state quarter just waiting to be found on Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco proofs. Please report any new varieties to me for a follow-up article. Listings covered in earlier installments of this series can be found online at www.koinpro.com.
Ken Potter is the official attributer and lister of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collector?s Association of Die Doubling. He privately lists U.S. doubled dies and other collectible variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register.
For more information on either of these clubs, or to learn how to get a variety listed in the Variety Coin Register, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope and $0.63 to Ken Potter, P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232.
Contact Ken via e-mail to Kpotter256@aol.com, or visit his Educational Image Gallery located at www.koinpro.com.