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Second doubled die uncovered by reader

After nearly four months of readers searching, a second example of a major 1982 doubled die reverse cent has finally been uncovered. Numismatic News reader Jim Proctor of Vermont reported it.

After nearly four months of readers searching, a second example of a major 1982 doubled die reverse cent has finally been uncovered. Numismatic News reader Jim Proctor of Vermont reported it.

It bears the small date obverse and is struck on a pure copper-plated zinc core planchet ? as was the original find.

Author Charles D. Daughtrey first revealed the existence of the variety to NN readers in a front-page story in the Oct. 2, 2007, issue, crediting Richard J. Ziegler of Massachussettes for the discovery. It represents the second strongest doubled die reverse known on the Lincoln Memorial cent, second only to the major 1983 doubled die cent.

Proctor said that he first became aware of the variety when he saw the NN story in late September 2007. A few weeks later, in late October, he decided to locate some rolls of 1982 small date zinc cents that he had put away back in the early 1980s. They represented coins grading anywhere from almost uncirculated to brilliant uncirculated that he had pulled from circulation on a daily basis and saved in rolls.

He said that he searched about 20 rolls of the coins and only found one of the doubled dies. He indicated that the coin originated from the Burrrillville, R.I., area where he resided at the time he put the rolls together.

The variety exhibits very strong doubling on portions of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (with the strongest areas of doubling on the ?ED? of UNITED, ?ATES? of STATES, OF and ?AM? of AMERICA), E PLURIBUS UNUM, ?ONE CE? of ONE CENT and the statue of Lincoln in the center of the Memorial building.

Lesser doubling is also seen on most other letters that border the rim, while notable doubling can be seen on the left side of the Memorial building and all columns within.

There is little question that other examples of this variety exist just waiting to be found. The larger-than-average number of the coins saved in seven-coin sets of the 1982 Lincoln cent varieties that dealers have been promoting for more than two and a half decades have provided a sort of time capsule of semi-safe storage for these coins. These sets contain one of each of the large date and small date varieties made on the two different planchet compositions struck that year. While there were a total of eight combinations possible, seven different were actually struck and thus the seven-coin sets assembled by dealers. Millions of these sets have been sold over the years and are still in collectors? hands. Collector-investors often purchased multiple sets, which suggests that many more of these coins were saved than, for example, cents from 1981 or 1983.

Investors also put away many sets by the roll. According to longtime NN advertiser John Wells, who has specialized in Lincoln cent rolls since the early 1970s, he estimates that he has sold well over 100,000 of the seven-coin roll sets since 1982. He does not specialize in the single coin sets, preferring to just sell rolls, but suggests that many millions of the sets have been sold by other dealers.

He indicated that the roll sets are still a good seller for him but that approximately 50 percent of the copper plated zinc core cents that come are ?garbage? due to plating problems that plagued a percentage of the cents that year.

However, he said that the other half often come in ?looking like they were minted yesterday.? He said rumor that suggests that most of the 1982 copper-plated zinc cents have deteriorated away is a myth with no basis in fact. With the mintages as large as they were, millions of the coins in brilliant uncirculated condition still survive today with many bags still in existence.

What all this means to collectors is that a much higher number than average of this date of cents have been saved in uncirculated condition for collectors to search. Now the question is ? how many of them actually contain the doubled die reverse?

Wells also pointed out that there was about a two-day transition period where bags of the 1982 cents came in with the copper-plated zinc and homogenous brass cents mixed together in the same bags. While the possibility is remote, he suggested that if the doubled die was installed into a press during the transition from brass to copper-plated zinc planchets, that the variety could have been struck on both types of planchet, a consideration that should not be overlooked.

Another consideration to take into account is that both the original find and the current specimen under discussion were struck from a die well into the mid die state. Evidence of this is most clear with the ?orange peel? surfaces within the Memorial design. These heavy die flow lines that appear like texturing or wavy surfaces in this area are due to the extended use of the die and suggest that many thousands of these doubled dies were struck by the time the die was retired. Interestingly, the fields near the rim are fairly clean of such flow lines, indicating that the die had been dressed out at one point, removing these flow lines and some of the other finer details like much of Frank Gasparro?s designer initials, FG, to the right of the Memorial building.

So while it has been more than a quarter of a century since these were made, there are plenty of the 1982 cents out there to search. Let us know what you find!

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

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