I have noticed a difference in the 1975 and 1976 Mint sets,
specifically the half dollar and the quarter. I have seen a
difference in the font. Check the business strikes of both years.
Jim Hill / Via Email
Changes in the lettering on coins can occur in several ways, either
through deliberate changes made to the tooling (letter punches, for
example, or hubs) used in making working dies (used to strike coins)
or through incidental wear to a hub or a die from use over time that
can lead to the erosion of the metal along the letters.
During the period from 1973 to 1977, tooling changes were made to
the Washington quarter dollar, Kennedy half dollar and the Eisenhower
dollar through the introduction of new hubs, but were these changes
reflected mid-way through the production of the Bicentennial coins?
As is well known, the Eisenhower, Bicentennial dollar underwent
significant changes mid-way through its 1974 to 1976 production
period, the most obvious being a significant revision to the lettering
on the reverse. The lettering is significantly thicker on the first
version of the reverse, found in the 1975 annual sets, than on the
second version, used for the 1976 sets.
But what about the other two denominations?
Q. David Bowers’
Guide Book of Washington and State
Quarters cites introduction of a new obverse hub for that
denomination in 1974, used a year before the switch to the
Bicentennial quarter dollar, plus another new hub in 1976 for the
Bicentennial coin. The changes to both hubs involved the lowering of
relief, and for the 1976 hub, some sharpening of details; both kinds
of changes can result in changes to the lettering. However, Bowers
lists no changes that might have resulted in different lettering being
used during the production of the Bicentennial quarter.
Die variety expert James Wiles, in his The Kennedy Half Dollar Book, identifies the
Bicentennial obverse and reverse as the fifth designs (hubs) for the
denomination, but identifies no hub changes for that coin during the
production of the Bicentennial version.
If the two denominations in the reader’s sets do show differences in
lettering, then an explanation other than hub changes is likely.
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