Longtime Illinois variety coin specialist Rick Carlson has found what appears to be one of the strongest and perhaps one of the rarest Class I doubled die reverse cents known in the Lincoln Memorial cent series. He found an earlier die state specimen of a 1966 doubled die reverse in a high circulated grade while searching through change. It’s listed by the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America as DDR-001 (1-R-I-CW).
In the 12 years since the variety was the first reported and listed by CONECA’s examiner/lister, Dr. James Wiles for Bob Mohan, not a single other specimen has been reported until now. None of the leading experts in the field including John Wexler, Billy Crawford or Bob Piazza (who lists for Coppercoins.com), has ever examined one.
The variety shows moderate to strong clockwise doubling on all lettering about the rim, Frank Gasparro’s designer initials, FG, located at the lower right side of the building and on portions of the building.
While it is designated as a Class I Rotated Hub doubled die by CONECA, (the same class as the famous 1955 and 1972 doubled dies), the doubling is not equally as strong on all letting about the rim, suggesting that the pivot point it not at the dead center but fairly close.
As such, the coin could be argued to technically be a Class V Pivoted hub doubled die that most would accept as a Class I due to the doubling being found on all letting around the rim. Others could argue that it’s a hybrid that doesn’t quite fit perfectly into either class. Of course none of this is important to 99.9 percent of the collectors who are only interested in how strong and widespread the doubling is and little more.
The strongest areas of doubling on this coin are on the words UNITED, CENTS and on Gasparro’s designer initials. While not nearly as strong as the well-known 1983 doubled die reverse, in my opinion it falls within the top four or five doubled die reverses known for the Memorial cent that boast the classic type of doubling on lettering about the rim.
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Hub doubling during the era in which this coin was made was possible due to a phenomenon known as work hardening. This caused the metal of the face of a die to become too hard and too brittle to allow a complete image to be sunk into the die in one operation without causing it to crack or shatter during the process of making multiple hubbing impressions in the die. As a result, several impressions or hubbings were required to produce a die when using this process. Between each hubbing, the die was removed from the press and annealed (softened) thus allowing for another impression to be made without shattering the die. If for some reason a partially finished die was reinstalled into a press for strengthening and the hub and die were improperly indexed, resulting in a misalignment of images, or if the hub varied in design from the one(s) used for earlier impressions – hub doubling resulted. The multiple hubbing process was replaced by a number of countries in recent years by the more modern “single squeeze” restrained hubbing process which was supposed to eliminate the possibility of hub doubling, but has actually exacerbated the phenomenon, though with different effects, which are almost always restricted to the centermost areas of design.
The variety is slated for listing in the Cherrypickers’ Guide To Rare Die Varieties by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton as FS-801 with an editorial assist from me.
Ken Potter is the official attributer and lister of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collector’s Association of Die Doubling. He privately lists U.S. doubled dies and other collectible variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register. For more information on either of these clubs, or to learn how to get a variety listed in the Variety Coin Register, send a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope and 61 cents to Ken Potter, P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232. Contact Ken via email at Kpotter256@aol.com, or visit his Educational Image Gallery located at www.koinpro.com.