Rodger Ryan is credited with finding what might be the strongest doubled die known so far on the date of a Lincoln cent for the entire 21st century! Only the 2006 Lincoln cent: DDO-001 shows overall stronger doubling of the outer design elements and this new one still has it beat for the doubling on the date.
However, neither one is as good as the 1972 doubled die.
First reported to John Wexler, news of the 2015 cent variety quickly spread to at least one of the error-variety coin related Facebook pages, but it is still little known to most others and just missed getting into the newly released Cherrypickers’ Guide To Rare Die Varieties 6th Edition, Volume II by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton (edited by Michael Ellis).
According to Wexler, the coin shows, “Strong doubling spread to the SE … on the date and on the letters of LIBERTY. A lesser spread shows on IGWT (In God WE Trust) with the spread increasing from left to right.” It’s listed by him as: 2015 1¢ WDDO-006 and as a “Best Of” variety. The other five doubled-die obverses listed by him for this date are rather minor.
In recent years, this coin and others of lesser significance for the obverse of the Lincoln cent, have been favoring the more traditional or “classic” hub doubling appearance of showing doubling on elements outside of the center regions of the die, contrary to what we see on many other denominations where the doubling is more often restricted to centralized areas.
The first Lincoln cent for this century to show significantly strong doubling of the more classic look on the outermost designs of the obverse was a 2006, which showed rather well on IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, the date and other outer areas of the Lincoln portrait.
While many other minor to moderate doubled-die obverses continued to be found since the 2006, they started to strengthen to a notable degree in 2010 with perhaps the next truly significant varieties to be found being two different obverse dies for 2014. John Wexler lists these as WDDO-002 and WDDO-003. Both have moderately strong doubling on the date and other areas and have been highly sought after by specialists since their discovery last year.
The United States Mint largely replaced the multiple hubbing process in recent years by the “single squeeze” restrained hubbing process. The “single squeeze” process produces doubled dies that are more often than not, restricted to the central areas of the design. The face of a die blank (referred to as a “die block” in Mint jargon) is machined with a slightly conical configuration to aid in the flow of metal during hubbing. This would indicate that the initial kiss of a hub into a die blank would be restricted to this centralized area before continuing on to fill out the rest of the design. During this process the tip of a tilted die blank would be positioned slightly off location away from the center of the hub into a different area of design than intended. After the initial contact, the pressure of the hub would eventually seat the die blank in proper position, and in turn cause doubling on the affected die.
These recent-date Lincoln cent doubled dies have been breaking the rule of centralized doubling for reasons unknown. There could be any number of reasons for this but if I had to guess based on seeing more and more of these more “classic looking” obverse doubled dies since about 2010, I’d say that some part of the tooling in the hubbing process for cents has seen some wear resulting in a sloppy fit. This could allow for a shift to occur further along into the process of hubbing a die with the shift occurring at near the finishing point of the dies’ production.
No matter the cause, with the Lincoln cent doubled dies increasing in strength as we move further into this decade, readers need to keep their eyes open for them on future dates. Let us know what you find!
All photos except those of the 2006 Doubled Die cent are courtesy of John Wexler; 2006 cent images by author. More on the lesser strength 2015 cent doubled dies can be found on John Wexler's website here: http://doubleddie.com/228401.html.
Ken Potter is co-author of “Strike It Rich With Pocket Change” and has penned many feature articles for “Numismatic News” and for “World Coin News.” He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his website at http://koinpro.tripod.com/.
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