Every so often a coin that appears to be a promising new variety
gets debunked almost as quickly as it gets discovered. Such was the
case with what appeared to be a 1945-S Jefferson 5-cent coin that
Richard Bateson, of Gulliver, Mich., found at a show in April.
Bateson, who is a ardent variety collector, noticed that out of
two dated 1945-S 5-cent coins he examined, one had what appeared to be
a large upper serif and small lower serif while the other had a small
upper and large lower serif. Since many Mint mark styles over the
years have tended to vary in the size and configuration, it was
logical to conclude that it may have been the case here, and that one
of the Mint marks was oriented correctly while the other might have
been punched into the die in an inverted orientation.
Upon initial examination of both coins, I and other specialists
felt that indeed one might be inverted. This provoked a hunt of other
dealers’ inventories at the same show to see which orientation was
correct. Bateson, Larry Briggs of Lima, Ohio, and I started checking
other examples, and after looking over a few dozen pieces, arrived at
a consensus that most were rather symmetrical, bearing Mint marks that
were even or nearly so for both serifs.
At that point, we had to acknowledge that what we felt might
represent a new variety was simply the result of a difference in
punching pressure. In each case, the coins bearing a heavy serif at
either end must result from an S punched into the dies at a slight
tilt. The end that was tilted down penetrated the die more deeply that
the other end of the “S.” By the end of the show, Bateson presented me
with a third 1945-S 5-cent coin that illustrates a well-punched S Mint
mark that shows the serifs at about equal size.
Bateson had started out the show with two coins that seemed to
hold promise and by the end of the show had debunked the theory that
one might be an Inverted S, though diligence and a working knowledge
of the effects produced when a Mint mark is punched into a die at a tilt.
Ken Potter attributes U.S. and world doubled dies. He can be
contacted via email at email@example.com.
Visit his Educational Image Gallery located at www.koinpro.com.