Indian coins provide a rich hunting ground for die alignment errors
of all types. This is especially true for the current designs, which
were introduced in 2011. Except for the 10-rupee denomination, the
reverse face of these coins features a new rupee symbol, the
denomination, the date, and a flanking pair of lotus plants.
Horizontal misalignments, vertical misalignments (tilted die
errors), and rotated die errors are all well-represented. Some
examples I’ve come across — like a 2011 2-rupee coin with an 80
percent horizontal misalignment — are remarkably severe.
Among these coins it’s not unheard of to find two simultaneous
alignment errors affecting the same die. I have seen horizontal
misalignments paired with vertical misalignments, horizontal
misalignments paired with rotated die errors, and vertical
misalignments paired with rotated die errors. However, until recently,
I’d not seen a coin displaying all three alignment errors. The
illustrated 1-rupee coin establishes that precedent.
Due to a severe horizontal misalignment of the hammer (obverse) die,
the planchet’s position is best assessed by examining the reverse
face, which was struck by the anvil die. The planchet was struck
out-of-collar and in a slightly uncentered position. The reverse
design is closest to the coin’s edge at 9:00, which means that the
planchet slightly overshot the anvil die face at 3:00.
With the reverse face placed in normal medal rotation, we find that
the obverse die was rotated 85 degrees clockwise. Superimposing a
normally oriented clock face (again, in medal rotation) over the
rotated obverse design, we can see that the obverse die was
horizontally misaligned toward 1:30. The misalignment is difficult to
quantify because the planchet was shifted toward the 3:00 obverse
clock position during the strike. This has had the effect of making
the misalignment appear slightly larger than it actually is. Still,
I’m confident that the misalignment is at least 10 percent.
The trifecta of alignment errors is completed by a vertical
misalignment in which the hammer die was tilted down at the 1:00
obverse clock position. The amount of die tilt cannot be quantified,
but it probably amounted to only 1 or 2 degrees. Still, this was
enough to leave a significant portion of the coin unstruck in the
south-southwest region of obverse face and the corresponding
south-southeast region of the reverse face. This is also the reason
why much of the internal margin of the unstruck crescent produced by
the horizontal misalignment failed to strike up.
A surprising feature of this coin is a decoupling of the vertical
misalignment from the horizontal misalignment. The downward-tilted
pole of the hammer die is located almost directly across from the
midpoint of the unstruck crescent. This violates a pattern that has
been observed in every other severe vertical misalignment, regardless
of country of origin.
The conventional relationship is demonstrated by a 2003 India
5-rupee coin that previously appeared in the Dec. 29, 2014, column.
The hammer (reverse) die was tilted down at an angle of perhaps 15
degrees, with the downward-tilted pole located at 6:00. The hammer die
was also 12 percent horizontally misaligned toward 12:00, the result
being that the midpoint of the unstruck crescent’s internal margin is
also located at 6:00.
There is no weakness on the obverse face opposite the unstruck
crescent because of a very forceful strike into an exceedingly thick,
compact planchet that weighs 9 grams. The thick planchet distributed
the asymmetrically applied force more evenly and the powerful impact
squeezed enough metal laterally to fill the recesses of the obverse
die face. I am aware of three to four other examples indistinguishable
from this one that were struck by this die pair.
This error backs up the common-sense assumption that, when a die
tilts down, it also tends to tilt in, especially when the tilt is severe.
The 1-rupee coin has dismantled this heretofore solid relationship.
The hammer die tilted down at 1:00, but the midpoint of the unstruck
crescent’s internal margin is located at 7:30. In other words, the die
tilted down but moved laterally in a direction nearly opposite to the
one expected. I suppose one could compare the movement to what happens
when you sock an inflatable punching doll in the face: the bag
simultaneously tilts and slides away from you. My guess is that the
die (or more likely, the die assembly) received an impact that
generated that same the sort of movement.
More from CoinWorld.com:
50 ‘Moustache’ popular variety for silver dollar collectors:
a look at a 2015 American Liberty, High Relief $100 gold coin:
1872 Seated Liberty half dollar with ‘radiant’ toning puts
bidders grading skills to the test: Market Analysis
gold double eagle case continues as court vacates earlier
ruling that awarded coins to family
Crime Information Center offers $5,000 reward in double homicide
Keep up with all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by signing
up for our free eNewsletters, liking
us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!