When Colorado collector Bryan Trigg received a 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B.
cent in change in April, it reawakened his interest in searching rolls
of cents. Now that new-found enthusiasm has resulted in the discovery
of a rare 1969-S Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent.
Trigg hand-delivered the coin to ANACS on May 28 after driving an
hour from his home. Two hours later, ANACS returned the coin, now
encapsulated in an ANACS holder graded Extremely Fine 45.
Auction transactions during the last decade by Heritage Auctions
record five-figure prices; two About Uncirculated 58 examples sold for
$23,500 in 2012 and $28,200 in July 2013, as examples.
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The 1969-S Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent is discernible by all
obverse lettering and numerals being doubled, except the S Mint mark.
The S Mint mark was punched into the die after completion of the die’s production.
Trigg said he found his 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent May 16 while
searching through $18 worth of rolled cents he acquired from a local bank.
A collector off-and-on since the age of 8, Trigg, 35, said he got
the urge to resume searching rolls in April, after he received a 1909
Lincoln, V.D.B. cent in change while working at his second job.
Trigg said he had searched through roughly $5 face value worth of
the cents when he came across the 1969-S coin. Until then, he was
primarily looking for Wheat cents as well as other dates and Mint
marks to fill coin folders.
Knowing that the 1969-S cent might be the valuable doubled die
variety, Trigg said he compared the coin’s diagnostics to those
outlined in his copy of Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties
of United States Coins by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton that he
had purchased only a week before. “I wanted to make doubly sure it was
what I thought it was” before the next step in confirming his find,
Convinced he had an example of the 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent,
Trigg said he drove an hour from his home to ANACS in the Denver area
to have the coin authenticated and graded.
To say he was thrilled with the outcome is an understatement, Trigg
said. Originally from Oklahoma City, Okla., Trigg said that as a
youngster he used to visit local coin shops with his parents and
purchased coins based on how much money he could convince his parents
to part with so he could pursue his hobby.
Pleasantly surprised graders
ANACS senior numismatists J.P. Martin and Michael Fahey were as
surprised with Trigg’s submission as Trigg was in finding the coin.
Martin and Fahey say for every genuine 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse
cent seen, thousands of examples of machine-doubled or strike-doubled
“It was a surprise — a pleasant surprise, but a surprise,” Martin said.
According to http://error-ref.com/doubled-dies.html: “A doubled die
(hub doubling) is caused by a misalignment or a mismatch between a
working hub and a working die. The misalignment or mismatch occurs
between a first and subsequent hubbing or sometimes in the course of a
single hubbing. Misalignments can occur along three orthogonal planes
and three orthogonal axes. Doubled dies that are the result of a
misalignment are variously characterized as rotated, offset, pivoted,
or tilted. Doubled dies that are the result of a design mismatch are
variously characterized as ‘distended,’ ‘distorted,’ ‘modified’ and
‘design hub doubling.’ A total of eight classes are recognized.
“Coins struck from a doubled die will show doubling of the design
elements. Doubling can be limited to one element or encompass much of
the design. Doubling can be subtle or so extreme as to produce
entirely separate elements of equal strength. All coins struck from a
doubled die will show the same degree of doubling from coin to coin.”
Machine doubling is caused by loose, worn or improperly adjusted
dies on a coinage press.
On the genuine 1969-S Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cents, in
addition to the obverse doubling, die polish diagnostics can be found
on the reverse.
“Before being placed into service, the reverse die was rather
harshly polished, leaving a number of strong, raised die polish
lines,” according to Fahey in the April 1, 1996, installment of his
monthly Coin World column, Detecting Counterfeits.”
“Every genuine 1969-S Doubled Die cent I have seen has exhibited
these raised lines, even the circulated specimens,” Fahey wrote. “The
most easily seen are the two lines at the E of UNITED, the line
through the M of AMERICA, and the lines that extend down from the
lower edges of the R and I of AMERICA.”