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Jefferson nickel designer died at age 82


When did Felix Schlag die?

The designer of the Jefferson nickel passed away on March 9, 1974, at the age of 82.

I’m out of work. My skills include a thorough grounding in coin collecting. Are there any job possibilities in numismatics?

The obvious one is becoming a coin dealer, but there are jobs for authenticators, graders, researchers, catalogers and journalists. As you may have noticed, there have been full page ads offering jobs in recent issues of Numismatic News.

Some years ago there were ads offering a rare form of the 1967 New Zealand dollars with “inverted edge lettering.” What ever happened to that variety?

In this case, as documented by the New Zealand authorities, the dollars were struck on planchets that had already had the edge inscription applied, so the position of the edge inscription in relation to the obverse is completely random. The law of averages would dictate about a 50-50 split. This is true for almost any coins struck on planchets prepared with the edge inscription. It of course would not apply to those coins struck with segmented edge dies, which apply the inscription as the coin is struck.

Going through a lot of cents I notice that a number have weak or missing letters in “STATES OF” or the “E,” and sometimes the dot in “E PLURIBUS.” What causes this?

This is a frequent question, since such defects are readily noticed. That very frequency is an indication of the value – none – because of the high mintages involved. The cause is poor die design (a perennial failing of U.S. coins) that allows too much metal to flow into the obverse design, not leaving enough to come up in the reverse design. If you check the wheat cents you will find the same weakness on the “O” in “ONE” on a high percentage of the coins.

Some time ago you mentioned that the so-called “poor man’s double die” was an abrasion variety, yet at one time it brought some pretty hefty prices, didn’t it?

“Once upon a time” is the story of this coin, a mislabeled abrasion variety. The nickname was first used in a 1962 dealer ad in Coins magazine. It’s a meaningless, misleading nickname for abrasion doubling. It is an abrasion variety, doubling the last “5” on a 1955 cent, sometimes both 5s, but it is no relation to the real doubled die variety for 1955. It is too common to be worth more than a few cents.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 44-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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