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More D.C. coins are doubled dies

In the May 19 issue of Numismatic News I reported on one very strong doubled-die reverse for the Denver version of the 2009 District of Columbia quarter and three 2009-P doubled-die reverses that ranged from moderately strong to minor.  I predicted that more varieties would be found. Such has been the case, but only for Philadelphia.

Rick LaJoie of New Hampshire has spotted three new varieties on the 2009-P D.C. quarter while another one of our readers has spotted a doubled-die obverse on the Okalahoma State quarter.

LaJoie’s finds start with a fairly strong doubled-die reverse that shows a secondary black key between the two normal black keys to the right of Ellington’s left arm. A small die crack from the top of the piano below the “L” of COLUMBIA is a marker that helps identity this stage of the variety.

Numerous die scratches and a die chip show below the word QUARTER also help identify this coin. I offer markers to help identify these doubled dies as many more different doubled-die varieties might be reported for the date/denomination with some being very similar to one another.

Markers definitely help differentiate one from the other when they are present and many varieties are involved. I’ve listed this variety in the Variety Coin Register for the date, mint, denomination and type as VCR#4/DDR#4. So far I’ve only seen one of these sell on eBay and it went for $31 on May 11 with eight bids from six unique bidders.

His next coin shows doubling of the first and second black keys to the right of Duke Ellington’s left arm, doubling of the sleeve of the same arm and light doubling of one of the white keys. This one shows numerous die scratches through LIBERTY and other areas of the obverse.

A die chip is in the upper “E” of LIBERTY.  Arrows point to some prominent die scratches/flow lines emanating from the “F” of FOR on the reverse.  I’ve listed it as VCR#5/DDR#5. One of these traded on eBay on May 11 for $57.56 with six bids from five unique bidders.

LaJoie’s final doubled die D.C. quarter shows doubling to the lower left of the “E” in ELLINGTON, a light black piano key between the first and second key to the right of Duke Ellington’s left arm and some light doubling of one of the white keys.

An obverse marker shows as a die crack through the engraver’s initial on this variety in this stage.  A long die crack with a depression below is to the right of the “A” of COLUMBIA while a small die crack found on the right side of the piano for this stage of the reverse die. I’ve listed it as VCR#6/DDR#6.

In case anybody got the idea that there are no more doubled dies being found on state quarters, Shirley Heck of Georgia sent one in on a 2008-P Okalahoma State quarter that is restricted to the center of the obverse and manifests itself as a doubled earlobe. This limited area of doubling in the center of the die is typical of the vast majority of post-1996 doubled die varieties of which most or all are presumed to be the result of a tilted die blank that is forced into proper position by the pressure of the hubbing process by the hub itself.

This action causes the design from the hub that first kisses the tip of the conically shaped die blank to begin to form and then as the die is forced or snaps into proper position; the design begins to form again in a different area. At this point a complete normal design forms and if the geometry of the designs allows, the first hint of design that occurred during the initial kiss of the die will also show and be found in with the rest of the design or out in the field.

This is one of many state quarters that boasts the Washington portrait with a doubled earlobe, with some states having more than one listing. Unique markers that help identify this one as our DDO#1 are many for the obverse, but few of them are particularly noteworthy as exhibiting unique characteristics easily isolated from other dies with similar markings.  Perhaps the best area to look on the obverse (at least for this die stage) is around the mintmark we see a horizontal die scratch within the loop and a number of light predominantly vertical die scratches in the field above the “P” (along with others in random areas in the proximity).  Markers on the reverse are more prominent with the most noteworthy within the flowers pointed out by the red arrow. I have this variety listed in the Variety Coin Register for the date, mint, denomination and type as VCR#1/DDO#1.   

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 KPotter256@aol.com. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his Web site at www.koinpro.com.

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