Among the rarest and most desirable forms of die damage is the Type
II counterclash. Such errors occur when a chunk of unusually hard
metal is struck twice, with movement between strikes.
The first strike leaves the fragment with a set of raised design
elements. The second strike transfers the raised elements on the
fragment back to the die face. Usually only the field picks up an
impression, as this portion of the die face is most vulnerable to
damage. Every coin struck afterward has a set of raised, normally
oriented design elements in an unexpected location.
It should be noted that only a remote relationship exists between
the two types of counterclash. A Type I counterclash is a form of
close, raised doubling that is simply an occasional side effect of
multiple, staggered clash marks (see “Collectors’ Clearinghouse,” Dec.
Until this year, error specialists had identified only five
universally recognized Type II counterclash errors among United States
coins. They consist of a 1969-S Lincoln cent, two 1983 Lincoln cents,
a 2000-P Sacagawea dollar and a 1999-P Delaware quarter dollar (see
Clearinghouse, Sept. 29, 2008).
Recently, veteran die variety researcher Robert (“BJ”) Neff sent
me a 1985 Lincoln cent with an unreported Type II counterclash. It was
discovered by Joe Koelling, who adds this coin to a long string of
As shown in the accompanying photo, the coin actually shows a
double counterclash. The E of E PLURIBUS appears twice on the reverse
face within the Lincoln Memorial. Both letters are upside-down,
relative to the rest of the reverse design. They sit one above the
other within the second bay from the left in the memorial. The lower E
is considerably stronger than the one above.
The two letters might represent two successive impressions from a
second and third strike (with the fragment shifting position between strikes).
Alternatively, the fragment may have already been double-struck,
with the two letters being transferred to the die face during a single
Interestingly, the area around the normal E PLURIBUS shows no
signs of damage, leaving open the possibility that the fragment was
struck in a different striking chamber.
Other Type II counterclashes
Several other Type II counterclashes show two sets of raised
design elements. It has long been acknowledged that the less dramatic
counterclash 1983 Lincoln cent shows the N GO of IN GOD in two rows
that are quite close to each other and to the normal motto (see
photo). This counterclash is cataloged as CCL(TII)-1c-1983-02 on www.maddieclashes.com.
Few are aware that the other counterclash cent from 1983 also
shows two sets of letters. Listed as CCL(TII)-1c-1983-01, this second
1983 Lincoln cent shows the inverted letters IBER above the date. It
also shows close doubling of the same letters in the normal version of
LIBERTY. Previous authors had generally attributed this doubling to
nameless “damage.” But it’s clear to me that this is also a Type II counterclash.
What evidently happened is that a die fragment broke off the
reverse die (the coin shows a “cud” on this face). It bounced over to
the left side of the striking chamber where it was struck twice by the
obverse die (the reverse die was most likely protected by a planchet).
The fragment moved slightly between the first and second strike,
producing the first counterclash. The die fragment then bounced over
to the right side of the striking chamber where it received a third strike.
That strike transferred the letters from the fragment to the field
above the date as the second counterclash.
Confined to one face
Turning back to the 1985 Lincoln cent, we find that the
counterclash — and all other related signs of impact damage — are
confined to one face. This is true of every other counterclash
currently identified. It would seem that in every instance the
opposite die was protected from damage by an intervening planchet.
Next to the two E’s, we find erratic die damage in the form of two
thin curved lines below the letters and two small bumps in the bay to
the right of the one occupied by the letters. The two curved lines may
mark the edge of the metal fragment.
Erratic die damage is found in close association with most Type II
counterclashes except the 2000-P Sacagawea dollar and 1999-P Delaware
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
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