Over the last six years this column has featured a diverse array of
misstruck 2000-P Virginia quarter dollars produced by a singularly
deranged coining press (see print issues of Coin World dated
Sept. 27, 2010; Oct. 31, 2011; Dec. 24, 2012; and May 18, 2015).
The following error types have been recorded: (1) major horizontal
misalignments of the hammer (reverse) die, (2) off-center strikes
(often accompanied by a minor misalignment of the hammer die), (3)
horizontal misalignments of the anvil (obverse) die (and collar) that
range in severity from modest to severe, and (4) one example of a dual
misalignment (i.e., both dies misaligned). All errors were struck
out-of-collar except for the first type, where partial collar errors
of up to 360 degrees are common.
Die damage visible
These striking errors are accompanied by various forms of die
damage. Both dies suffered collar clash early on. Collar clash most
often occurs when a misaligned hammer die collides with the top of the
collar or scrapes along the latter’s working face. The outer surface
of the die neck and rim gutter are left with a series of grooves
corresponding to the ridges on the working face of the collar. Collar
clash appears much less often on an anvil die, and requires that the
latter grind up and down against, or smash laterally into, the working
face of the collar.
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The southwest margin of the reverse face also shows a die attrition
error that worsens over time and eventually grazes the bottom of E
PLURIBUS. This error develops as metal is ground off the edge of the
hammer die face by repeated collisions against the beveled entrance of
the collar. It is another side effect of a misaligned hammer die.
Finally, this series of quarter dollars displays a steadily
increasing number of die scratches and tiny die dents. The striking
chamber was occupied by fine debris that continued to mark up the dies
throughout the press run. These die markers had previously allowed me
to define seven distinct die stages (A to G).
Eighth die stage and fifth error type found
I can now report the discovery of an eighth die stage (H) that
coincides with the appearance of a previously unrepresented error type.
Brought to light by error dealer Jon Sullivan, this fifth error type
is an uncentered broadstrike in which neither die was misaligned. This
coin also shows a planchet misfeed in a new direction, toward the
southeast. Of course, this means that the strike itself is positioned
in the northwest part of the planchet.
Die stages markers
For those interested in collecting this fascinating series, I’ve
provided a list of the die stages and their markers. I’ve also listed
the error types found in each die stage (numbered 1 to 5, as
previously enumerated). It’s virtually certain that the range of
errors listed within each die stage underestimates the actual
diversity, as many hundreds of quarters were struck by this
malfunctioning press. I also anticipate that, in the coming years, the
existing die stages will be more finely divided and added to at both ends.
Die Stage A. Large die scratch from LIBERTY to Washington’s neck.
Die scratch between the M and E of AMERICA. Horizontal die scratch
between the first T and A of STATES. Short die scratch from middle to
right ship. Blemish just below the last zero of 2000 (representing
Errors 2 and 3).
Die Stage B. Blemish appears near the rim, between the L of LIBERTY
and U of UNITED; die scratch appears between the R and T of QUARTER,
sloping downward from left to right (Error 3).
Die Stage C. Long die scratch extends down from the A of STATES
toward Washington’s forehead (Errors 1 and 3).
Die Stage D. Die scratch appears between the R and T of QUARTER,
sloping upward from left to right, making an “X” with the previous die
scratch in this area; short die scratch extends upward from left
horizontal bar of the T of LIBERTY (Error 3).
Die Stage E. Die scratch appears in the O of DOLLAR (Error 2).
Die Stage F. Short die scratch above and in line with vertical bar
of T of LIBERTY; die scratch through UNUM (Error 1).
Die Stage G. Obverse: Die scratch appears along the right side of
the second R of QUARTER (Errors 1 to 4).
Die Stage H. Die scratch through A of QUARTER (Error 5).