Finding silver and more

Dyed-in-the-wool roll searcher
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Published : 03/03/13
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Since I am getting ready to move, I am surrounded by what seems like a couple hundred boxes of “stuff.”

But just prior to my departure I made time to search through one final box of half dollars to complete this column.

Let me first say that I, like every other dyed-in-the-wool roll searcher, look for the silver coins first. I always get a thrill out of finding half dollars that were struck prior to 1971 since the alloys used for those coins include some amount of silver.

Kennedy half dollars struck in 1964 and all earlier half dollars contain 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Kennedy half dollars struck from 1965 to 1970 contain two outer layers of 80 percent silver, 20 percent copper bonded to a core of 21.5 percent silver, 78.5 percent copper.

But back to the box of half dollars. This particular box did not disappoint me, as I found three 1964-D Kennedy half dollars and one 1963-D Franklin half dollar.

The rolls that I looked through were machine wrapped, so that makes the discovery of silver coins in the rolls even more exciting. I don’t usually expect to find silver coins in machine-counted and wrapped rolls, because the machines can be set up to remove the silver coins from those being processed and wrapped.

If you are looking through half dollars, you should not cut yourself short by concentrating on the silver coins alone. Of course, at the price of silver nowadays, one might be tempted to collect the silver and call it a day. But I am here to tell you that closely examining each coin to see if it is a scarce die variety can make your roll searching much more fruitful.

The discovery I made in a roll of this fantastic 1972-D Kennedy, Doubled Die Reverse half dollar just about blew me away. Among the things that roll searchers look for when examining coins with doubled die errors are “notches.” These notches on coins appear because they were struck by improperly prepared dies.

Notches can be seen at the corners of the letters and are based upon the distances between improperly aligned hubbings of a die.

In the images above you can especially see the strong notches on the bottom of the letters NIT of UNITED but indeed, the notches are clearly and strongly visible on the entire legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA on the reverse.

Very strong doubled points also appear on the stars encircling the eagle design on the reverse.

The eagle design is based on the Seal of the President of the United States.

Bill O’Rourke is a collector who has spent the past several years searching coin rolls in pursuit of his hobby.

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