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Four more doubled cents identified

Collectors have continued to find more Formative Years doubled-die varieties to a point that variety coin attributers are approaching or are have exceeded as many as 60 listings for the reverse alone.

Back in June I featured three 2009 Philadelphia Mint Formative Years Lincoln cents that exhibited doubled-die reverses. All three varieties boasted centralized hub doubling of Lincoln’s left index and middle fingers. Since that time collectors have continued to find more Formative Years doubled-die varieties to a point that variety coin attributers are approaching or are have exceeded as many as 60 listings for the reverse alone. There are also a few doubled die obverses listed that we will not pay any attention to here other than to say they are extremely minor.


Rather than to attempt to show all the new listings as they are discovered I’ll just show a few of the many new listings from time to time and then direct readers to where more of them can be seen on the Internet.

The first one featured here came in from John King Jr. of North Carolina. The doubling is exhibited as the forward section of Lincoln’s left index finger displaced up to the north on the cover of the book midway between the normal index finger and thumb.

If you are having difficulty envisioning this vestige as an index finger, bear in mind that the doubling is of the higher relief areas of the forward section of this finger and not of the entire finger. In this case, I shot the image with the normal index finger with lighting set at an angle to where just the area that shows up as doubling is lit up on the primary finger. The area of the normal finger that is not a part of the doubling is in the shadows. When you look at it this way, you can see that the doubled finger is a perfect match for the higher relief areas of the normal finger.

Identifying markers (fingerprints) diagnostic to this variety in this die stage are as follows: a small die chip to the west of the “E” of E PLURIBUS UNUM, and on the obverse, a multitude of diagonal and horizontal die scratches throughout much of TRUST. I have this variety listed in the Variety Coin Register for the date, Mint, denomination and type as VCR#2/DDR#2.

Frank Trout of Florida sent in one that shows a doubled index and middle finger, and perhaps what is a portion of a doubled thumb. All of these areas of doubling are predominantly north of the primary images. Reverse markers for the variety are several die cracks running through Lincoln’s right (viewer’s left) foot. Obverse markers include a die crack through the top of Lincoln’s head and a series of “trails” from the lower letters of LIBERTY. I’ve listed this one as VCR#3/DDR#3.

The next one is from Tony Clement of Missouri and features an anorexic secondary index finger displayed far north just under the thumb. Die markers in the form of die scratches and die flow lines are many for this stage with perhaps the most distinctive running through the “S” of PLURIBUS, UNUM and through ONE CENT. On the obverse a die crack runs through the upper head of Lincoln as pointed out by the arrows. A point of interest on this coin is that it was found in machine wrapped rolls that Clement obtained from the bank. Most of the others that have been listed so far have been found in rolls that collectors have obtained directly from the US Mint. I listed this one as VCR#4/DDR#4.

Robert “B.J.” Neff of Florida sent in our final coin. It features doubling of the lower right edge of the back cover of the book in Lincoln’s hands. This one just goes to show you that you that at times you have to look beyond the fingers to find doubling. Markers for this variety include a die crack running north from the top of the “C” of CENT, numerous die scratches and flow lines throughout the obverse fields perhaps best seen in and around ONE of ONE CENT and on the obverse a number of fine die scratches found between TRUST and the top of Lincoln’s head. I’ve listed this one as VCR#5/DDR#5.

Folks wanting to see more doubled-die listing for the Formative Years cents may want to check out John Wexler’s Web site here: and the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America listings here: You can also try and

The Formative Years cent is the second of four designs planned for 2009 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the first Lincoln cent produced in 1909. The reverse, designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers, depicts a young Lincoln reading while taking a break from working as a rail splitter in Indiana.

The cause of the doubling on these quarters is thought to be the result of Tilted Hub Doubling. In earlier reports that I made on many of the modern centralized doubled dies that I’ve covered in these pages over the years I described the effect as follows:

Tilted Hub Doubling restricted to such a small area of design within the center region of the die is possible due to the result of either of two related scenarios.

1.) The hub is backed off after the initial kiss of the hub into a tilted die blank and is then reset properly and hubbed again.

2.) The hub and die blank are titled in relation to each other and are then forced to seat into proper position by hubbing pressure within a split second after the initial kiss of the hub into the tip of the die blank.

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 and thus the misplaced area of doubling on the affected die.

With these and other doubled dies reported in recent years we are well into the single-squeeze hubbing era so researchers feel that the doubling would have most likely occurred via the second scenario described above, when a tilted hub/die seated into proper position within the single squeeze of the hub. As the name implies, the single-squeeze hubbing procedure impresses a complete design into a die with just one pass of the hub.

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, where 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