A third date for the Roosevelt dime has been found with prominent doubling on Roosevelt’s lips. The latest report is of a 1955-S dime reported by Calvin Goddard of California.
Goddard also found a 1953-S “Hot Lips” dime that was featured in the Feb. 10 issue of Numismatic News Express. The 1964-D “Hot Lips” appeared in the Jan. 6 issue of Numismatic News.
Initially, Goddard felt that his 1953-S doubled die dime was a bit stronger and as such just sent in that one coin. After urging him to send me the 1955-S, a good look revealed that it was perhaps just as nice as his earlier submission in the area of the lips.
The obvious doubling of the nose and forehead seen on the 1953-S and 1964-D are absent from this variety but may have been there on earlier die stages. Obvious tooling marks imparted to the die via some sort of abrasive are easily seen in and around the eyebrow and on the forehead. These die scratches are good die markers for this stage of the variety.
Other markers that help identify this coin from others of this date that may be similar include a number of die chips below the base of Roosevelt’s bust on the obverse. On the reverse we see very distinct die scratches/gouges above, below and through the mintmark. The doubling to the west of the “S” is strike doubling and is not a variety or a reliable die marker.
Hub doubling during the era in which this coin was struck, 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. As a result, several impressions or hubbings were required to produce a die when using this process. (The United States Mint largely replaced the multiple hubbing process in recent years by the more modern “single squeeze” restrained hubbing process). Between each hubbing the die was removed from the press and annealed (heat softened) thus allowing for another impression without shattering the die.
If for some reason a partially finished die was reinstalled into a press for strengthening and the hub and die was improperly indexed, resulting in a misalignment of images, or if the hubs varied in design from the one(s) used for earlier impressions -- hub doubling also resulted. In this case John Wexler had attributed it as “Design Hub Doubled Die (or what old-timers referred to as Duel Hub varieties – I being one of the old-timers since the later term is far more descriptive of the cause and effect).
Ken Potter is co-author of “Strike It Rich With Pocket Change” and has written many feature articles for “Numismatic News” and for “World Coin News.” He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his website at www.koinpro.com.