US Coins

Edge approaches differ on Enhanced Uncirculated dollars

All Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W Native American dollars should have edge inscriptions that face right side up in relation to the obverse, U.S. Mint officials say.

That’s a departure from the Enhanced Uncirculated 2014-D coin, which can be found with the edge inscriptions facing either direction.

The differences between the 2014 and 2015 coins are the result of different equipment being used to impart the edge inscriptions at the Denver and West Point Mints.

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The edge inscription on the 2015 coin is imparted during striking by a three-piece segmented edge collar. The edge inscriptions on the 2014 dollars, struck inside a plain collar, were formed post-striking on separate equipment. The Enhanced Uncirculated 2014-D Native American dollars can have the edge device appear right side up or upside down, depending on how the coins (in purely random orientation) entered the separate edge-lettering equipment, after having first been struck on a coinage press.

Both coins are exclusive to the 2014 and 2015 American $1 Coin and Currency sets.

Edge differences

Collector Brian Shields queried Coin World via email Sept. 4 concerning the edge devices for the Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W Native American dollars.

After Coin World explained to Shields how the West Point Mint is executing the edge lettering on the 2015-W Native American dollars, he provided the following comments by email:

“This appears to be a change from last year’s set as the edge device was random and could be in Position A or B. I looked back at an article you published on 12/29/14 ... and it talked about the random edge lettering and that PCGS had certified several with both orientations (titled ‘Specimen 70 Enhanced Uncirculated 2014-D Native American Dollars sell for $750 each’).

“My assumption was they would do something similar this year which maybe leads to collectors ordering more than one set in the hopes of getting at least one example of each orientation for their collections. I wonder if the Mint would have made it known before the opening of the ordering period that the edges will all be one direction, if that would have had a significant impact on order totals. Me personally, I would have probably just ordered one, maybe two (definitely not five).”

Professional Coin Grading Service recognizes the orientation of the edge lettering on Presidential dollars, Sacagawea dollars, and Native American dollar coins as follows:

??Position A:  Edge lettering reads upside down when the obverse portrait faces up.

??Position B: Edge lettering reads right side up when the obverse portrait faces up.

U.S. Mint officials indicate the Enhanced Uncirculated 2014-D Native American dollars exhibit random orientation of the edge inscriptions — date, Mint mark, E PLURIBUS UNUM and 13 stars — relative to the obverse or reverse.

The edge orientation for each of the Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W Native American dollars is fixed, as Position B.

Different technologies

As noted, the differences between the 2014-D and 2015-W coins reflect the different equipment used to execute the edge inscriptions at the two production facilities.

A Mint official elaborated. Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, provided the following comments to Coin World via email Sept. 4: “Currently, Denver can only edge-letter after coining with a separate machine” for the Enhanced Uncirculated coins. “Orientation cannot be controlled with that process. 

“The 2015 product is done on a Proof or bullion press at West Point that can edge letter during the stamping process. The West Point [process] should produce coins with fewer handling marks.”

Native American, Sacagawea, and Presidential dollars struck for collector sales in circulation quality and for some sets are struck within a plain collar. The struck coins are then moved to a separate piece of coining equipment for application of the edge inscription. The coins are fed into that mechanism randomly, with edge orientation entirely random. The inscriptions are imparted, incuse, as the coin is rolled through a grooved edge segment into which the raised edge elements intrude.

Coins produced with the edge inscription added in this separate process have an edge that appears seamless, without a raised mark between portions of the inscription.

This same random orientation is exhibited on Uncirculated Mint set dollars struck at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, and possibly on coins placed in other products as well.

The fixed orientation of the edge inscription for the Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W Native American dollars results from use of the same process as is used at the San Francisco Mint to strike Proof dollars. 

The elements of the edge inscription are evenly spaced among the three pieces of a segmented edge collar. Single, raised vertical lines are evenly spaced on the edges of the Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W dollars, each the result of metal flow from the planchet filling the gaps between the edge segments during the striking process.

On the 2015-W dollars, the edge device appears as ******** | **   2015 W ** | and * E PLURIBUS UNUM |.

During striking, the obverse is the upper or hammer die and the reverse is the lower or anvil die. 

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