John Horengic of Maryland was the first collector to report to me one of the new Formative Years commemorative Lincoln cents with a doubled-die reverse, and I am now aware of three different ones. In typical fashion as most doubled dies found dated since the late 1990s, the three exhibit a centralized type of doubling restricted to designs in or near the center of the coin.
On Horengic’s coin, doubling shows on the top edge of the book Lincoln is reading, his left index and middle fingers. The doubling of the book shows as the lowest section of the top edge displaced diagonally crossing over the normal sections. The forward portion of the index finger is displaced up to where it is just below the thumb (making it appear to be a doubled thumb – which it technically is not though it will undoubtedly be referred to anyway) while a tiny portion of the middle finger is just below.
Horengic sent in two stages of this coin and while some of the die markers varied from coin to coin, I found at least two areas containing markers that were consistent to both stages. There is a diagonal die scratch running from just below “E” of UNITED down toward the upper right leg of the “N” of CENT. Numerous other die scratches show throughout ONE CENT with two of the most prominent running down to the SE from the “E” of ONE.
I have listed this one in the Variety Coin Register for the date, Mint, denomination and type as 2009-P 1c FY VCR#1/DDR#1.
Bob Piazza, a variety coin lister for Coppercoins.com, reported two other doubled-die reverses for this coin for which he sent high-resolution images. He found them looking through rolls. His first coin shows doubling of an essentially complete, though slightly thinned out, left index finger displaced onto the front cover of the book positioned just about dead center between the normal index finger and the thumb. He lists in the coppercoins files as 2009P-1DR-002 (this is the first doubled die he has listed for the Formative Years type but he lists it as No.2 because he has one listed for the Birthplace design).
His second find shows as a portion of the lower finger doubled right above the normal index finger. He lists this one as 2009P-1DR-003.
Piazza also provided the image of a normal cent for comparison. I’d like to thank him for taking the trouble to reshoot these doubled dies in a resolution needed for the printed media and sharing them with us.
It is unknown as to whether any of these finds were from Mint issued rolls or those dispersed by banks.
The Formative Years cent is the second of four designs planned for 2009 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the first Lincoln cent produced in 1909. The reverse, designed and sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers, depicts a young Lincoln reading while taking a break from working as a rail splitter in Indiana.
The cause of the doubling on these cents is thought to be the result of Tilted Hub Doubling. In earlier reports that I have made on many of the modern centralized doubled dies that I’ve covered in these pages over the years I described the effect as follows:
Tilted Hub Doubling restricted to such a small area of design within the center region of the die is possible due to the result of either of two related scenarios.
1) The hub is backed off after the initial kiss of the hub into a tilted die blank and is then reset properly and hubbed again.
2) The hub and die blank are tilted 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 tilted 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 on the affected die.
With these and other doubled dies reported in recent years we are well into the single-squeeze hubbing era so researchers feel that the doubling would have most likely occurred via the second scenario described above, when a tilted hub/die seated into proper position within the single squeeze of the hub. As the name implies, the single-squeeze hubbing procedure, impresses a complete design into a die with just one pass of the hub.
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 collectible variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register. He is a regular columnist in “Numismatic News’” sister publication, “World Coin News,” where he pens the Visiting Varieties column. 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 60 cents postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076, or by contacting him via e-mail at KPotter256@aol.com. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his Web site at www.koinpro.com.