US Coins

Inside Coin World: The ‘other’ 1955 doubled die cent

This is a 1955 Lincoln cent doubled die variety, but not the famous one known to most collectors. Several things make this coin distinctive; learn why in the latest issue of “Coin World.”

Original images courtesy of John Wexler.

Every weekly and monthly issue of Coin World has content exclusive to the print and digital editions, including columns and features that appear nowhere else.

Here is a preview of three of those exclusive articles in the Jan. 20, 2020, monthly issue.

Varieties Notebook: A different 1955 doubled die cent

The 1955 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent is arguably the best-known doubled die variety for the series, but as John Wexler writes in the “Varieties Notebook” column in the Jan. 20 issue, it is not the only doubled die variety for the date.

Proof 1955 Lincoln cents can also be found with a doubled die variety. Though the degree of doubling is less than the doubling found on the circulation strike, the Proof versions are scarcer due to the small number of coins struck from a pair of Proof dies.

One Proof 1955 Lincoln cent doubled die variety is even more special. To learn why, see John’s column, exclusive to the print and digital edition of Coin World.

Numismatic Bookie: Mystery medal design in book

The 1783 Libertas Americana medal is a classic early American numismatic issue, with allegorical designs that celebrate American independence from Britain. As Joel J. Orosz writes in his “Numismatic Bookie” column for the Jan. 20 issue of Coin World, “Benjamin Franklin conceived the Libertas Americana when he served as the American minister to France.”

Around 211 years ago, a volume known as the Works of Franklin was published that featured an illustration of a slightly different obverse design than that used on the finished medal. For years, a mystery has surrounded this alternative design.

A recent auction of Libertas Americana medals and related items, however, may have solved the mystery, according to Joel. To learn more about the alternative design and a possible explanation, read his column in the current issue.

Coin Lore: Coins may have link to tragic event

In his latest “Coin Lore” column, Gerald Tebben writes about a Philadelphia businessman, Pierce Mease Butler, who suffered business losses in the Panic of 1857. Gerry writes, “Butler’s creditors demanded payment, forcing him to sell his Philadelphia mansion and his share of the 910 enslaved Americans who worked under the overseer’s lash tending the cotton and rice fields of the Georgia plantations Butler co-owned.”

A newspaper account from 1859, when the slave auction was held, relates that after the sale of the enslaved human beings, Butler doled out new 1859 Seated Liberty quarter dollars to the men, women and children he had just sold. 

It is possible that some of the coins linked to the tragedy of that day reside in collections today. To learn more about Butler and the events of early March 1859, see Gerry’s column, exclusive to the digital and print editions of Coin World.


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