A few weeks ago I received an excited email from a collector by the
name of Troy Moxley. He was pretty sure that he had a triple-struck
2000-D Jefferson 5-cent coin, with one of those strikes being an edge strike.
That would be an impressive error, as edge strikes are seldom
encountered on denominations higher than a cent. Having purchased the
coin for a modest sum on the auction site eBay, Moxley was hoping for
a major score.
Upon viewing some attached photos, I could readily appreciate the
source of his excitement. There was no question that the coin received
a normal first strike and a 95 percent off-center strike.
A close inspection later revealed that the off-center strike was a
“flip-over” strike. In other words, the coin flipped over between
strikes. The base of Jefferson’s bust is visible on the die-struck
obverse face of the off-center strike.
The only task that remained was to determine whether the coin
really did have an edge strike. An edge strike occurs when a coin or
planchet is struck on-edge. The impact of the dies flattens out the
edge at opposite poles. Indeed, the edge of Moxley’s coin is
conspicuously flattened at 12:00 and 6:00 and shows clear contact facets.
Closer examination revealing
However, examination under a microscope showed that the two flat
facets were actually a type of damage. Neither facet shows any
die-struck design elements. Furthermore, the facet located at 6:00
shows closely spaced, oblique parallel ridges. Neither die face
carries such a texture.
While a diagnosis of damage was certainly disappointing news, it
wasn’t entirely bleak. The damage turned out to be a rare error in its
own right. It was inflicted after the first strike but before the
second. In other words, it is “inter-strike damage.”
Hobbyists understand that damage can occur at any point before the
strike (pre-strike damage) and at any point after the strike
(post-strike damage). What few collectors realize is that damage can
occur between strikes. While post-strike damage on a coin has no
value, any damage that occurs prior to the final strike is considered
a minting error and therefore carries a significant premium.
The diagnosis of inter-strike damage was confirmed by inspecting
the small area of overlap between the off-center strike and the
southern facet. The strike crimped the facet, and that could only
occur if the off-center strike was delivered after the damage was
inflicted. While it can’t be proven, the most likely source for the
damage on the 5-cent coin is the feeder mechanism.
Inter-strike damage is surprisingly variable. In some cases it
leaves a coin badly scraped. In other cases it rolls, squeezes and
pushes up the edge of a coin.
It’s possible that the damage was inflicted outside the press.
This can occur if there’s a “delayed second strike.” A newly-struck
coin has to pass through a gauntlet of machinery before it reaches the
safety of a Mint-sewn bag or a “ballistic bag.”
This machinery can brutalize a coin. It’s entirely possible for a
damaged coin to get stuck in a conveyor or tote bin and be returned to
the production stream beneath a pile of fresh planchets. On its second
pass through the coinage press, the dies can overlap the damage.
If it is to be recognized, a delayed second strike must be
off-center and must be delivered by a different die pair. Even with
the addition of inter-strike damage, it’s not a simple call in lower denominations.
However, a delayed second strike is easy to diagnose in higher
denominations (25 cents and up), with or without inter-strike damage.
That’s because these higher-denomination coins are never struck in
multi-chambered (dual or quad) presses. Only a single die pair is
employed. Therefore, an off-center strike delivered by a second die
pair would have to come from a second press or the same press after a
In the case of Moxley’s coin, too little of the design is present
on the second strike to tell if it was delivered by the same set of
dies as the first strike.
Moxley’s 5-cent coin has one other error worth noting. It carries
a double set of clash marks, with the clash marks farther to the right
being produced by a misaligned hammer (obverse) die. In other words, a
misaligned die clash.
Coin World’s Collectors’ Clearinghouse department does
not accept coins or other items for examination without prior
permission from News Editor William T. Gibbs. Materials sent to
Clearinghouse without prior permission will be returned unexamined.
Please address all Clearinghouse inquiries to email@example.com or to
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