In my Feb. 19 Numismatic News front page story I revealed that an ?Extra Beard? variety had been found by reader James P. McCarthy of Wisconsin. I also noted that I and a number of other variety coins specialists had designated it as a doubled die from a tilted hub.
Now I must report that all the researchers (including yours truly) who attributed it as a doubled die just weeks ago, have unanimously reversed our opinions and have reattributed it as a clashed die from a Misaligned Die (or what is often referred to as a MAD Clash). Those of us who originally suggested that the coin was a doubled die based our opinions on the fact that overlays seemed to neatly fit the area of the so-called extra beard in another area of the beard just perfectly.
However, soon after the variety was first publicized, folks started finding more examples with the so-called extra beards from other dies with obvious clash marks. A closer look at examples struck from the same dies as the original find also showed traces of clash but they were minor and overlooked as trivial by most the first time around. With more ?extra beards? being found from other dies with obvious clash marks, a clash had to be reconsidered as a possible cause.
With the clashed die being a strong candidate for the cause, researchers then concentrated their efforts on creating new overlays to see if such an animal could be reproduced. In fact several of us, including me, Billy Crawford and B.J. Neff (and perhaps others) worked up new overlays and worked with them until something did fit. At first a clash fit perfectly with some of the newer finds (which were not from misaligned dies) and then as the images for the overlays were moved around we found that if the dies were misaligned we could also create a perfect fit for a Mad Clash, or what we saw on the original ?extra beard.?
CONECA researcher, B.J. Neff created and supplied the overlay shown above. His entire account with a detailed analysis complete with photomicrographic overlays with arrows of the areas in question can be accessed on the CONECA Web site at www.conecaonline.org.
CONECA member-researcher, Billy Crawford, also created extensive overlays along with an extensive account of what created this aberration and others that are similar. The link to his work is also accessible from the CONECA Web site.
I believe there is also some work in this that appears on the www.coppercoins.com Web site that was created by Bob Piazza.
In my opinion, the fact that attributers all agreed ?too quickly? on this being a doubled die was definitely a part of the problem of it being misattributed by so many so quickly. The fact that the ?doubling? seemed to ?fit? into the design was an even bigger part of the problem. It is a lesson that reaffirms what many researchers already know, (or should know), which is that overlays that ?fit? do not always necessarily confirm a variety even when they seem to do so at first glance.
Attributers who have delisted the 2000 Lincoln cent ?Extra Beard? as being a doubled die include John Wexler, James Wiles (CONECA), Billy Crawford, Bob Piazza (of www.CopperCoins.com) and myself. Credit should be given to all of the attributers involved in the research of this coin for nipping this misattribution in the bud before it became firmly entrenched in the hobby as a doubled die.
With all this said, it is interesting to note that the reevaluation of the variety from a doubled die to a MAD Clash has not particularly destroyed its stature as a collectible. A MAD Clash is a rather elusive class of variety in itself that has been catching on as collectible and we expect that hobbyists will continue to look for these and collect them.
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. 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 58 cents postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076, or by contacting him via e-mail at KPotter256@aol.com. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his web site at www.koinpro.com.