Variety hunter Alfonso Lopez has garnered credit for finding the first reported Doubled Die Reverse on a 2016-P Kentucky Cumberland Gap America The Beautiful quarter. The doubling is easily seen with the naked eye (for some of us) or under low magnification and is a variety worth looking for to add to your collection. Several other minor doubled die reverses have been found for this type since this initial find.
The doubling shows as “extra fringe” showing essentially south of the normal area on the frontiersman’s coat. John Wexler has it listed in his files as WDDR-001 and CONECA’s attributer, Dr. James Wiles, has it listed as DDR-001/1-R-VIII. It’s slated for inclusion in the next edition of my book, Strike It Rich With Pocket Change.
The coin features a frontiersman gazing across the mountains to the West. Many pioneers used Cumberland Gap on their journey into the western frontiers of Kentucky and Tennessee. Inscriptions are CUMBERLAND GAP, FIRST DOORWAY TO THE WEST, KENTUCKY, 2016 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed by Barbara Fox with Joseph Menna of the U.S. Mint being the engraver. It sports the traditional Washington portrait introduced with the States quarter program in 1999.
At the time of this writing there is little information on value other than sales by one seller on eBay who has been running a number of them at the same time with opening bids of $1.99 and some with a buy it now price of $3.25 with free shipping. Quite frankly, if he wasn’t running so many at the same time with such low starting bids, it might be a variety that could garner sales into the two figures. Hint, now is the time to buy one of these!
As I mentioned previously, there are other doubled die varieties that have been found since this one but all of these are relatively minor and involve the side of the coat or frontiersman’s upper right arm.
The most significant of the ones involving the side of coat is listed by Wexler as WDDR-002. It is not listed by Wiles. Wexler describes it as follows, “The frontiersman’s coat is doubled to the left of the upper right arm where the background hill intersects the right arm.” Noah Ledbetter is credited with being the one who submitted the coin.
The strongest variety involving the frontiersman’s right arm is listed by Wexler as WDDR-004 and credited to Michael Fraser as the submitter. Wexler described the variety as, “Doubling shows along the upper left side of the frontiersman’s right arm below the fringe on the coat.” It appears to be the same variety submitted to Dr. Wiles by Andy Turnbull and listed in the CONECA files as DDR-002/2-R-VIII. The “2-R-VIII” portion of the listing number indicates that it is the second doubled die (2) listed for the reverse (R) determined to be the result of a Tilted Hub (VIII).
The strongest doubled die found on the ATB series so far is the 2015-P Homestead quarter listed by Wexler as WDDR-004 and CONECA as DDR-004 by CONECA. (I’ve covered this and a number of others from this series in past issues of Numismatic News.) It is currently doing well on eBay and in Numismatic News ad offerings at prices in the two figures.
Other ATB designs that we have not touched upon in the past also offer doubled dies including varieties for Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio and South Dakota.
The 2012-P Alaska Denali National Park quarter varieties all involve the Dall sheep’s neck with the strongest and most interesting one listed by Wexler as WDDR-006.
The 2013-P Maryland Fort McHenry quarter doubled die listed by Wexler as WDDR-003 is probably the best for this series. It shows extensive doubling in the fireworks above the fort. Some of the varieties also show it on the flag to a good degree.
The 2013-P Mount Rushmore doubled dies all involve doubling of Jefferson’s nose. The one shown here is listed by Wexler as WDDR-001 and typical of what many of the others look like some stronger and other not.
The other varieties for the ATB series are more minor and some known on the obverse only sporting a doubled ear.
It’s important to note that all of the ATB doubled dies have been found on the Philadelphia issues and none on the Denver or San Francisco issues.
Other 21st century quarter varieties such those found on the Minnesota, Oregon and Wyoming states quarters are selling anywhere from single to two digit prices with the better examples still in demand among die-hard variety collectors.
The granddaddy of them all remains the 2009-D District Of Columbia Doubled Die Reverse #1(DDR-001 FS-801), which features strong doubling of “ELL” of Duke Ellington’s surname and the piano keys below. An example of this variety, which has proven to be rare, sold in PCGS-66 on July 10, 2014, in a Heritage Auction for $3,055, including the buyer’s fees.
The United States Mint largely replaced the multiple hubbing process in recent years by the more modern “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. This is because 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 single squeeze hubbing process the tip of a tilted die blank would be positioned slightly off location away from the center of the hub into a slightly 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.
Collectors should note that Strike Doubling, also known as Mechanical or Machine Doubling has been very common on the ATB series showing what appears to a perfect hub-doubling effect on the legends and date about the rim. While they look exactly like doubled dies none has turned out to be so as of yet. Because these legends and date are all incuse on the coins and raised on the die, the effect of strike doubling mimics that of hub doubling. This is an effect I have covered several times in the past in Numismatic News and can be found searching NN’s articles online. Be careful you don’t get suckered into buying one of these as a doubled die. They are being offered in online auctions sometimes by folks we’d expect to be more knowledgeable, but just aren’t.
All photos here are used courtesy of John Wexler. All of his listings can be found at: http://doubleddie.com.
All of CONECA’s listings can be found here: www.varietyvista.com.
Ken Potter is co-author of “Strike It Rich With Pocket Change” and has written many feature articles for “Numismatic News” and for “World Coin News.” Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his web site at www.koinpro.tripod.com.