How can a coin have both valuable doubling and worthless doubling at the same time? Most collectors probably shake their heads over it, but experts can tell. The key is the mintmark. Because in the normal production process it was punched in by hand after the die was created, it is not doubled on the die. However, in this case, strike doubling occurred on the coin during the striking process as the coin was ejected from the dies. (Ken Potter photo)
The year 2007 ended with news of Michael Tremonti?s discovery of a very rare and coveted 1969-S Lincoln cent with a very strong doubled-die obverse. Tremonti?s specimen, graded MS-64 red by the Professional Coin Grading Service and tied for the finest known, sold Jan. 10 for an astonishing $126,500, including the buyer?s fee, at the recently concluded Florida United Numismatists convention auction conducted by Heritage in Orlando.
Another Michigan collector has now found another one and 2008 opens with its report. The collector prefers to remain anonymous, but states he found the coin while searching uncirculated rolls of 1969-S Lincoln cents after reading published reports of the Tremonti specimen. This most recent specimen is also an uncirculated red coin.
Fewer than 20 specimens are known to exist. This number includes a few that were confiscated by the U. S. Mint and never returned to the rightful owners, so fewer than 15 reside in collections.
This coin also exhibits a second form of doubling known as strike doubling, which by itself would add no extra value to the coin, but in conjunction with the doubled die makes the coin appear tripled in some areas.
Thousands of the pieces, without the major doubled die but with the more common strike doubling have been sent to all the major grading services over the years by persons that thought they found one of the major doubled dies.
Typically, these coins show the doubling on both the date and the mintmark (and often in other areas) while most of the genuine 1969-S Lincoln cent doubled dies do not show strike doubling on the mintmark.
Mintmarks were punched into the die by hand after the dies were otherwise finished, so they are not doubled during the hubbing of a die, which is where the entire design except the mintmark was created. This coin demonstrates that both forms of doubling may be on the same coin and that even if the mintmark is strike doubled that the rest of the coin must be examined to see if it is the valuable doubled die.
Strike doubling is also called machine doubling damage and occurs as the coin is ejected from between the dies moving some metal on the coin itself.
For doubled dies, the actual doubling appears in the coin die itself and each coin struck from the doubled die carries the same doubling. Strike doubling varies from coin to coin and the circumstances of each strike. This coin shows that both kinds of doubling can occur together.
Thus it can be reported that a very valuable coin can also have an element on it that is not part of what makes it so valuable.
Remarkably, it is rumored that this collector actually found yet another one in a second roll. That brings the total of reported finds to three in as many months after many years of no new specimens showing up. Collectors who saw this third coin being carried around at the FUN show have stated on Internet forums that it is a distinctly different specimen. This goes to show you that many great and valuable finds still await collectors who search inexpensive coins.
To learn more about this and Tremonti?s coin as well as many other rare and desirable doubled dies go to www.conecaonline.org.