Die clashes have been studied by coin collectors and numismatic researchers for many years.
For very obvious clashes, one can simply flip over a coin and see the feature of an obverse that met with a reverse die. Sometimes it is not so obvious. In these cases a standard technique for their study is to photograph both faces and overlay the images one on top of the other. Many books, articles and Web sites illustrate this technique. However, in order for anyone curious enough to bother, one might consider the purchase of photo imaging software. Such software can cost nearly $700, which is a significant expense for most people. Besides, I’d rather spend that kind of money on a coin rather than software!
Early in 2009 I discovered a graphic imaging software application that is comparable with a not-so-current version of Adope PhotoShop and can be downloaded without cost. I described this in an E-Gobrecht e-newsletter article that was published February 2009. Since then I have taken this technique to the next level having realized that a single overlay picture hardly tells the complete story. As a result, I can produce a video which displays one side of a coin transitioning into the opposing face.
I now wish to bring to the attention of Numismatic News readers a new method for visualizing die clashes. The method is based on freely available software technology that any moderately computer-savvy coin collector or researcher can use. Details for the technique and how to obtain the software were released in the January 2010 E-Gobrecht. The full article, “Analyzing Die Clashes Through Motion” by Don Bennett, has been posted on Gerry Fortin’s Definitive Resource for Liberty Seated Dime Variety Collectors Website at Volume 6, Number 1, January 2010 www.seateddimevarieties.com/60-E-GobrechtVolume6,Issue1.pdf.
To illustrate this approach, video examples have been posted for two of the top 100 Liberty Seated Dime varieties and can be viewed at these links: www.seateddimevarieties.com/date_mintmark/1837_101cpage.htm and www.seateddimevarieties.com/date_mintmark/1891o_106apage.htm.
As far as I know, no one has ever used video as an illustrative means to study die clashed coins. Because of the zero software cost and relative technical ease of use plus the availability of superior digital images from online auction records, virtually anyone with a computer and an interest can perform these studies.
This method has application to coins of all denominations and composition. As such I believe it will be of keen interest to the broadest cross-section of your readers. Please check the above links to experience how die clashes come alive through video.
Donald Bennett is a collector in Somerset, N.J.
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