John Rising of Missouri sent in a No Date Wheat cent with a very interesting, rarely seen, error type. At first glance, I knew it was a Brockage-Counter-Brockage strike, but not exactly how it occurred.
According to Alan Herbert, even just a Counter-Brockage is one of those error types that you have try to visualize the sequence of what happened step by step to fully comprehend the cause. But this one went ever a step further than a Counter-Brockage, so I took photos and posed the question to several experts in the field that I felt would know more about the more complicated types of brockages than I do.
CONECA President Mike Diamond was the first to answer with the following: “There are at least five ways to get a Brockage-Counter-Brockage combination. This coin shows the most common form. It’s a combination counter-brockage/clashed cap strike. A clashed cap strike is a type of brockage. An obverse die cap that was striking counter-brockages contacted the reverse die directly when a planchet failed to be fed into the striking chamber. It picked up a little bit of the reverse design. Coins struck afterward show the original counter-brockage and the later brockage from the clashed cap.”
He followed up later to say that “common” was a relative term and that none of the brockage-counter-brockage types are common.
I should point out here that “cap” refers to a coin that adheres to a die, (usually the upper hammer die), which then begins to act as a die itself striking coins that are known as “brockages.” The more coins it strikes the more distorted the cap becomes (as do the resulting brockages) as it spreads outward and begins to wrap itself around the shank of the die. After several strikes it begins to take on a configuration similar to that of a bottle cap.
Shown here is the obverse side of a 1999 Lincoln cent “cap.” This one is a typical example but some can remain stuck to the die long enough to become as deep as a thimble.
Now in order for Diamond’s description to make sense, readers must also know what a brockage is and then what a counter-brockage is.
According to Herbert, in his Official Price Guide To Mint Errors, “A full brockage strike is defined as: A coin which was struck with ALL of a struck COIN between it and one of the dies, showing on the struck object coin as a shallow irregularly rounded depression in the entire face, sloping up to a point at the edge where it contacts the collar, with a slightly enlarged and distorted incuse image of the intervening coin design. The opposite side of the object coin will receive a very strong strike. The intervening coin becomes a double-struck coin, second strike centered, with die contact on one side, the other side showing the design flattened, enlarged and distorted. Difficulties with the feed mechanism are the probable cause, and since the piece would be of normal size it would have little trouble reaching circulation on its own.
“The earliest stages with the sharpest strikes and the deepest incuse design bring the highest prices. The late stages with the design obliterated and the stuck or intervening coin thinned out enough to allow a blurred image of the facing die to show are often found in circulation.”
Herbert defines a Counter-Brockage as: “A full Counter-Brockage strike is defined as: A coin which was struck with ALL of a struck BROCKAGE COIN between it and one of the dies, showing on the struck coin as a shallow, irregularly rounded depression in the entire face, sloping up to a point at the edge where it contacts the collar, with a low-relief, enlarged and distorted image of the intervening brockage coin design. The opposite side of the object coin will receive a very strong strike. The intervening brockage coin will become a double-struck coin, both strikes centered, with die contact on one side, and will have the brockage contact area partially flattened, further enlarging and distorting the incuse image. Difficulties with the feed mechanism are the probable cause, and since the piece would be of normal size it would have little trouble reaching circulation on its own.”
Robert Blazis of Michigan enjoys Washington quarter errors focusing on them more than any other series. He recently found one buried in a dealer’s stock that represents one of the most heavily “filled die” errors that I’ve ever seen. This type of error occurs when the dies get clogged with debris such as a combination of grease, oil, dirt or metal filings that often collect around working machinery. Of course it may be the planchet itself that brings in the offending material but the effect would be the same.
This error type is often referred to as a “strike through.” This one is so heavily “filled” it could be easily confused with being a weak strike, but when looking at the edge of the coin we can see that it has a fully formed reeded edge, which would not be present on a weak strike.
Robert Fisher of Lexington, Ohio, sent in a No Date clad dime that is not only struck off center, but very weakly struck. He said his neighbor found it in a roll of dimes a number of years ago and just wanted to show it off. Even though there is no reeding present on this coin due to it being struck outside of the collar, we can tell it the result of a weak strike rather then filled dies because it was not struck hard enough to cause the amount of expansion to the coin that we’d normally see with an off-center strike, which normally ends up oblong. This one was so lightly struck that it essentially retains its round shape – so much so that it was able to pass through a counting machine and into a roll of dimes.
Next is an Apollo 11 medal that at first glance may look normal but once you start reading the inscriptions around the reverse rim you find that the “N” of UNITED was cut into the die incorrectly. On the struck medal it appears to be a mirror image of an “N” or what in modern-day Photoshop nomenclature is referred to as “horizontally flipped.” The Lombardo Mint of Canada struck this medal in 1969 or thereabouts.
Finally, since we’ve taken a look at one of the Lombardo Mint’s errors, I thought we’d take a look at an earlier one it minted on a U.S. topic that they produced while doing business under the name, Canadian Artistic Dies. This one commemorates Abraham Lincoln with his date of birth and death on either side of his portrait.
The problem was that they originally had him as living for 156 years until they noticed that his date of death was inscribed into the die as 1965 instead of 1865. They then obliterated as much of the “9” as they could and engraved an “8” right into the same area. Traces of the “9” are still easily seen under the “8” even under moderate magnification.
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 59 cents to Ken Potter, P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232. Contact Ken via e-mail at: Kpotter256@aol.com, or visit his Educational Image Gallery located at: www.koinpro.com.