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More scrutiny finds more rays

This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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More extra rays in Liberty’s crown have been found on Presidential dollar coins.

In the Aug. 24 issue I took a look at three different Presidential dollars that exhibited interesting clashed die marks that made Liberty’s crown (or tiara if you prefer) appear to have eight rays rather than the normal seven.

One was on a 2007-P George Washington, and one of each was on 2007-P and 2007-D Thomas Jefferson Presidential dollars. In every case they also showed other less dramatic clash marks that I did not emphasize as much.

Quite coincidentally, just days after I submitted that article I opened another package in which I found four 2007-D Jefferson dollars that included one from the same die as Rich Darby’s shown in the Aug. 24 issue and three others from different dies. 

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Normally, I wouldn’t think much about following up on something like this, but it is important that the late Richard Imburgia get credited for being the fellow that in actuality submitted one from the same dies as Darby’s earlier than Darby did.

Additionally, Imbrugia had sent his coin in a package with three others from another Numismatic News reader, Gerald Weakland of Pennsylvania.  While I found them all to be from different dies, most important was that two of his clearly demonstrated the effects of what the obverse and reverse clash marks looked like before the Mint caught it and what another obverse and reverse die looked like after they caught it and lapped or otherwise abraded out most of the clash mark.

The first one I show from Weakland is now listed by me as VCR#2/CDOR#2 and is very similar to the ones I in the Aug. 24 issue except that it is a bit stronger in some areas of the clash. We can see the clash marks within the area of the crown and others running through Liberty’s outstretched right arm in a very similar fashion.  On the obverse we see clash marks in the area of the eyes that are normally not found there (an effect I did not show last week).

In a later die state example, (from what I believe to be a different die), we see that the so-called “extra ray” has been subdued greatly and on the obverse Presidential portrait side we see the Mint worked heavily within the area of the eyes with an abrasive to remove the clash marks. Note the series of parallel lines running through the recessed areas of the eyes.  The logic for removing clash marks is that not only might they appear and look odd, but also more importantly because clashes can cause die cracking and if they are removed soon enough, extensive cracking may be able to be eliminated and the die’s life extended.   

A die clash occurs when a planchet fails to enter into the coining chamber during a press cycle, resulting in the obverse and reverse dies smashing or clashing into each other.  Areas of designs such as portraits, letters, etc., from the dies can be impressed into each other, (or just one side to the other), with the severity depending on the magnitude of the clash, number of times the dies clash, geometry of designs, etc. These marks will then be transferred to coins struck by the clashed dies until the marks are removed.

Although interesting, the vast majority of clashes traditionally hold very little interest among collectors unless they are very unusual or strong. In the case of “Extra Ray” clashes on the Statue of Liberty side of the Presidential dollars only time will tell if they catch on to any significant degree.   

  
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 website at www.koinpro.com.

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