The following is the Collectors' Clearinghouse column from the Dec.
26, 2016, issue of Coin World:
Misshapen and oversized coins are more readily intercepted by the
Mint than those errors that maintain their normal dimensions. This
may, in part, explain the good fortune recently visited upon Steve
Smith as he was searching through rolls of Uncirculated 2016 cents
obtained from his local bank.
Only normal-sized coins are likely to be found in rolls, and this
has indeed been Smith’s experience as he achieved past success in
spotting doubled dies, clashed die errors, and grease strikes.
Within his newest batch of 2016
Lincoln cents, one coin stood out among all the others. He knew
enough about errors to recognize that the obverse face was struck by a
broken die and that the reverse face was rotated 95 degrees
counterclockwise relative to the obverse face. Smith contacted me for
confirmation and then sent me the coin for a more detailed examination.
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The obverse face shows a large retained cud (retained corner die
break) on the right side, which accounts for approximately 25 percent
of the total surface area. The area demarcated by the line of fracture
shows clear evidence of displacement. The lower half of the break
shows lateral spread, which has left a raised line on the coin’s
surface. The entire length of the break shows vertical displacement,
which has left the coin with a step-up from the area struck by the
intact portion of the die to the area struck by the broken part of the
die. Finally, the entire length of the break shows horizontal offset,
which is best seen in the 1 of the date and the first T of TRUST.
Contiguous portions of both elements are out of register with each
other where the line of fracture crosses them.
Lincoln cent: The popular Lincoln
cent has gone through several reverse updates since it was
introduced in 1909 to honor the nation's 16th president on the 100th
anniversary of his birth. How much are Lincoln cents worth?
As with all but the most severe retained cuds, there is no way to
determine whether the displaced portion of the die was truly detached
from the die neck or if its movement was caused by subsurface
deformation beneath the cracked surface of the die face. Nevertheless,
hobbyists grant such errors the benefit of the doubt and continue to
classify most displaced die segments as retained cuds.
Moving on to the rotated die error, it is impossible to determine
with any degree of confidence which die did the rotating. One can only
make such a determination when the rotated die suffers from a second
die alignment error or if there is evidence that the rotated die
experienced a major impact. One might suspect that the obverse die of
this 2016 cent did the rotating, since it is the one that is broken.
But there is no sign of impact damage, so the break would presumably
have been spontaneous unless there is unseen impact damage on the side
of the die neck. There is also no known association between
spontaneous die breaks and rotated die errors. For example, at least
nine shattered obverse (anvil) dies are known among 2007-P Roosevelt
dimes, and none shows a rotated die.
Since the middle of 2005 all circulation-quality strikes have been
struck with inverted dies (reverse die as hammer die). Therefore, it’s
safe to conclude that the broken obverse die that struck this 2016
cent was the anvil die. At the same time, we know that in cases where
the rotating die can be identified, it is almost always the hammer
die. This would tend to support the idea that the co-occurrence of
these two errors is purely coincidental, with the hammer (reverse) die
rotating and the anvil (obverse) die suffering a spontaneous break.
However, if the broken anvil die was also the rotating die, this would
add to the unusual nature of the error.
Since Smith’s 2016 cent is the only example known to have been
struck by this die pair, there is no way to determine if the rotated
die error was stable, semi-stable, or dynamic. It will take a larger
sample to make that determination. Stable rotated die errors show the
same degree of rotation in every coin. Dynamic rotated die errors show
a constantly changing degree of rotation from coin to coin. And
semi-stable rotated die errors show a restricted range of movement or
a restricted number of rotated positions.
While I have not previously encountered this particular error
combination in a domestic coin, I have seen it in several Indian
coins, including the broadstruck 2014 5-rupee coin illustrated in this April 12, 2016, column.