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Weak letters on edge

Some folks have taken to heart the Sept. 23 Numismatic News story on plain edge Presidential dollars found in 2008 mint sets. Not only have they started searching these sets but also those from 2007.

Some folks have taken to heart the Sept. 23 Numismatic News story on plain edge Presidential dollars found in 2008 mint sets. Not only have they started searching these sets but also those from 2007.


Thomas Searfoss of Florida decided to check his 2007 set and found a Philadelphia-minted George Washington dollar with the edge inscription virtually missing. This is one of the first reports that has come in for “weak edge lettered” dollars with the satin finish obtained from 2007 mint sets and it is the first I’ve heard of on a satin finish Washington dollar. I know of at least two others in the satin finish dated 2007 certified by PCGS. These are both 2007-P John Adams dollars. Several were also reported found in the 2008 sets as noted in my September article.

Weak edge lettered dollars have been found on the regular business strike circulation dollars for most or all issues released so far and have developed a moderately strong market, most probably due to the fact that all the major grading services are certifying them. However, the market seems almost entirely restricted to sales on eBay with a very wide range of prices. Those that sell for the most generally boast the weakest edge lettering and/or are from mint sets. The Searfoss coin falls into this higher end value category, as a good 10x glass is needed to see that it actually is a weak edged dollar versus a smooth edge dollar plus it is from a mint set. The edge inscription on his coin is weak all the way around its circumference as illustrated by my image of the date and mintmark area.

On eBay, sellers are describing them as both “weak edge” and as “semi smooth edge” errors, the latter so that they come up in searches by those seeking smooth edge errors. A search of completed auctions on eBay for the past two weeks shows that two examples of this error type have traded.

On Oct. 13 an ungraded business strike version of the 2007-D Jefferson dollar with weak edge lettering sold for $48.82 while a 2007-P Adams dollar from a mint set graded PCGS MS-67 Satin Finish Position B (tops of letters near the obverse) sold for $1,750 on Oct. 8. The later seller noted that his was one of two graded by PCGS, the other grading PCGS MS-66 Satin Finish Position B.


While I consider these prices to be an indicator of a moderately strong market, it is in sharp contrast to the much higher prices the business strike versions were selling for a year ago. One year ago almost to the day I found that five had sold within a two-week period at prices ranging from $172.50 for an “ungraded” BU to $400 for an NGC certified example in MS-66. Today many of these business strike versions are offered ungraded, singly and in roll quantities for “buy it now” prices as low as in the $6 to $10 range though these lower priced examples seem to only have slightly weak edge lettering that in my mind should fall within normal mint tolerances and not even be considered “weak edgers.”
Weak edge lettering is due to the edge lettering die not being set tight enough for it to sink the letters into the edge deep enough or from planchets that may be ever so slightly too small in diameter.

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:, or visit his Educational Image Gallery located at: