Odd raised doubling occasional feature of capped die strikes

Published : 06/09/12
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A “die cap” is a coin that sticks to a die and proceeds to strike a succession of planchets. A “capped die strike” is a coin struck by a die cap. “Capped die strike” is a nonspecific term that accommodates a wide range of errors and effects.

A capped die strike can carry a brockage, a counterbrockage, a combination brockage/counterbrockage, a normally oriented incuse design and multiple sets of design elements. Furthermore, since any sort of error coin can end up being transformed into a die cap, the range of possible images is prodigious.

While most of the effects seen on capped die strikes give up their secrets after diligent study, a small subset resists explanation. Within this subset are several types of raised doubling. All are rare.

One type, designated “expansion ripples,” takes the form of one or two sets of raised outlines that parallel large, centrally located design elements (mainly busts). An unusually clear example is seen in the illustrated 1984-P Roosevelt dime. This coin was struck through a late-stage die cap. The floor of the die cap was thin enough to permit a strong raised ghost image of the obverse design to bleed through. That much is expected. But the duplicate raised outline of Roosevelt’s face is quite unexpected.

Close, raised doubling of small features (like letters and numbers) is another rare side effect. It is mainly seen in coins struck through dislodged late-stage die caps or detached cap bottoms. The illustrated 1987 Lincoln cent was struck through a laterally shifted and rotated late-stage die cap. The sunken crescent at the top of the coin is the “zone of collapse,” marking where the cap’s vertical wall was crushed into the planchet. As is typical of such errors, the floor of the dislodged cap left a series of normally oriented incuse design elements (bust, date, mottoes). However, the raised ghost date shows strongly offset raised doubling. The distance and direction of the raised doubling does not match the incuse doubling.

A somewhat different form of raised doubling is seen on an undated, broadstruck cent struck through a dislodged late-stage die cap. Here the die cap shifted to the northwest and rotated slightly counterclockwise. The telescoped wall of the die cap left a crescentic zone of collapse in the southeast, while the floor of the cap generated a normally oriented incuse bust of Lincoln.

A truly anomalous feature is the presence of a separate raised version of TRUST beneath the normal, raised, ghost motto. Once again, the direction and degree of offset of this second motto is completely different from the direction of cap movement. Subtle raised doubling — in yet another direction — is seen on Lincoln’s face.

Our last coin is perhaps the most difficult to deconstruct. The cent was struck through a late-stage die cap that had shifted to the southeast and rotated clockwise. A broad zone of collapse overlaps the left side of Lincoln’s raised ghost image. An expanded, normally oriented incuse bust of Lincoln occupies the southeast quadrant of the coin.

A unique element is the presence of a slightly off-center first-strike brockage of the reverse design lying lateral to the zone of collapse. Such a brockage would ordinarily be generated by a normal cent deposited on top of the planchet represented by this coin.

The problem is that such an intrusive coin should have prevented formation of a raised ghost image (if it had landed between die and die cap) or prevented formation of both raised and incuse images (if it had landed between die cap and planchet). Clearly something more complex transpired here. It seems almost anticlimactic to mention the presence of close raised doubling on Lincoln’s face.

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 cweditor@coinworld.com or to 800-673-8311, Ext. 172.

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