Seeing double on 2016 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park 5-ounce silver

Readers Ask: Edge inscription not considered an error
By , Coin World
Published : 08/10/16
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Readers Ask column from the Aug. 22, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:

I’ve sent this 2016 Harpers Ferry 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollar to Numismatic Guaranty Corp. to get their opinion, too. I was going through a U.S. Mint box of 100 America the Beautiful Harpers Ferry 5-ounce coins. I found a couple of coins with varying degree of edge letter doubling. Have you heard or come across any others seeing this? I don’t think it’s rare, but it would be a variety I guess? 

Donald Herres  /  Dollartowne, Bellbrook, Ohio

Don’s images were sent off to the U.S. Mint and to Mike Diamond, Coin World’s Collectors’ Clearinghouse writer. 

In addition, Numismatic Guaranty Corp. responded to Don. “NGC won’t call it an error,” Don related. “They say it’s something called the ejection effect. When the dies or in this case the segmented collar is separating from the coin itself there may be some slight movement, causing this distorted effect to the letters on the edge.”

The 5-ounce silver bullion coins are struck on a coin press with the dies oriented vertically. The edge collar comprises three equal pieces that are retractable, with edge inscription 5 OUNCE .999 FINE SILVER on one of the die segments, roughly at the 6 o’clock position.

Mint officials have yet to reply, but Diamond offered the following observation, based on review of only the photos:

“If I read you correctly, the coin was struck in a segmented collar, like the one used for Proof dollar coins. If so, it’s possible that the collar spread out slightly during the strike and then sprung back into position, creating the second set of letters. If this scenario has any merit, then you might find wider-than-normal vertical seams on the edge. The lower set of letters does appear weaker than the upper set, which would be consistent with this scenario.

“Another possibility is a mistimed ejection phase. It’s possible the coin was being pushed out of the striking chamber before the collar had fully retracted. Or perhaps there was a slight delay in retraction of the collar. Either circumstance would cause smearing of the letters. The photo does seem to suggest that the bottom of the upper set of letters has a less-than-abrupt transition to the second set of letters.”

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