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Collector waits years to learn error

After 47 years of ownership, Edgar Murphy of South Carolina decided finally to find out exactly what kind of error he

After 47 years of ownership, Edgar Murphy of South Carolina decided finally to find out exactly what kind of error he?d purchased as a youth back in 1960.

He contacted me by e-mail and made arrangements to send his error coin in for examination.

It turned out to be a rather neat 1954-S Roosevelt dime that was double struck in-collar with the second strike flipped over, what is referred to simply as a ?Double Struck Flip Over? in error collector parlance.

Portions of the reverse show through the obverse design and the portions obverse show through the reverse design. The effect is a composite of both designs with the second strike dominating.

An interesting diagnostic of in-collar double strikes is that more than 99 percent of them fail to be forced all the way back down into the collar for the second strike. This is due to very slight expansion of the coin after it is ejected from the collar; after ejection it is too large to fit back in to the collar and needs to be forced in by the strike.

Most of the time, as we see here, the coin is only partially forced back into the collar, creating a Partial Collar Strike on the second strike. The area of the coin that does not successfully reenter the collar mushrooms out slightly due to the lack of restraint. The effect is very strong on Murphy?s coin as shown in the accompanying edge-view photo.

In the other photos we can see that the strongest elements of the understrike show through on the obverse as the ?RICA? of AMERICA under the date and traces of DIME along the rim in the lower left quadrant of the obverse. On the reverse we can see the outline of Roosevelt?s head lying horizontally (face down) in relation to the obverse design.

According to Murphy, he got the coin from dealer in the small town of Glendora, Calif., that he used to visit after school where, as he put it, he?d ?hang out.? Somewhere along the way Murphy became interested in Mint errors. He says it could have been caused by the newly discovered 1960 small date cents. The dealer had a few clipped planchet wartime nickels and ?BIE? die break cents to offer (cents that developed a die chip between the ?B? and ?E? of LIBERTY, making the word look like it was spelled LIBIERTY, that were very popular in the 1960s). He purchased them with the money he made mowing lawns. One day the dealer told him about a coin that he?d got into stock. It was our subject coin, offered for $2.50, which Murphy snapped up. He figured that somebody brought the dime in from out of pocket change the same day, suggesting that it circulated 1954 through 1960. He put it in a 2 x 2 holder and labeled it ?FLIP-STRIKE? and then let it lay for 42 years.

Today, Murphy?s $2.50 investment looks pretty good. Estimates of its value range from $190 to $650 from the leading experts in the field. Polled on the coin?s value was Fred Weinberg of Encino, Calif., who felt it was worth $300 to $400. Rich Schemmer of Franklin Square, N.Y., weighed in on it at $190 to $250. Mike Diamond, president of CONECA, figured it at $600 but warned that he was not an error coin dealer and that he could be wrong. Neil Osina of Glendora, Calif., estimated its value at $650. Prior to hearing back from any of the others I took a stab at the value, figuring it at around $400. No matter which number you pick, you have to admit it was $2.50 well invested.

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, were 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
An educational image gallery may be viewed on his Web site at