Weak strikes caused by excessive minimum die clearance (the most
common proximate cause) vary in how far the dies sink into the
planchet or coin. Sometimes only the areas of highest relief are
touched by the dies. Since the design rim is usually the highest point
on a normal coin, it may be the only area in which a second strike
delivered by insufficiently approximated dies can be seen.
Two such rim-restricted second strikes have appeared in previous
columns, a 2005
Lincoln cent (May 13, 2013) and a 1992-P Washington quarter dollar (Sept. 21,
2015). Since then, two more examples have come to my attention,
courtesy of error dealer Fred Weinberg. They each present familiar
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The first coin is a triple-struck 1990-D Lincoln cent. The first strike was normal
while the second and third strikes were each delivered about 80
percent off-center and in tandem (a saddle strike). One off-center
strike was firmly die-struck on the obverse while resting on an
underlying coin (producing a brockage).
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
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The other off-center strike is die-struck on both faces and
restricted to the design rim that was pushed up by the first strike.
Minimum die clearance may actually have been the same in the adjacent
striking chamber, with the extra coin taking up the excess space
between the dies.
Had the rim-restricted off-center strike occurred in isolation, it
might have been mistaken for a very different striking error, of the
kind shown here. This 1934 cent was first struck 50 percent
off-center. The strike wasn’t particularly strong, so expansion was
slight. The second strike was a perfectly centered broadstrike that
completely effaced the first-strike elements beneath it. All that is
left of the first strike is an outlying half-ring of die-struck design.
Two details allowed me to reconstruct the strike sequence. During
the second strike, slight contact between the planchet’s edge and the
collar pushed some metal above the level of the off-center reverse
elements — an impossibility if this strike had been delivered last.
Additionally, since a broadstrike lacks a tall design rim, higher
interior design elements would have been kissed by the dies had the
off-center strike come later.
Our second rim-restricted second strike appears on 1995-P Washington quarter dollar. It takes the
form of a thin crescent of die-struck lettering located between 10:30
and 12:00 on the obverse and between 6:00 and 7:30 on the reverse. The
first strike was entirely normal, with full reeding. The second strike
was slightly uncentered. Although it caused no expansion, it may
nevertheless have occurred out-of-collar, since the secondary letters
hug the coin’s edge.
quarter: The Washington quarter dollar, which has been
circulating since 1932, was born out of the Treasury's desire to
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are Washington quarters worth?
If this instead had been an uncentered broadstrike followed by a
centered strike, then the coin would have been too wide to fit into
the collar for the second strike. Consistent with this line of
reasoning (but by no means conclusive) is the absence of any trace of
If the coin had been struck twice in-collar under normal pressure,
then we might expect to see disturbed reeding or an abnormally wide
edge (the latter a consequence of a tighter fit against the collar).
Neither effect is seen.
Let’s now suppose that the first strike had been exceedingly weak
and restricted to the planchet’s proto-rim. The coin could then have
fit inside the collar for both strikes. Moreover, it would lack
interior doubling and display normal reeding of uniform height.
This scenario fails on two counts. First, the extra letters were not
bowed upward by a rising design rim. Second, the obverse and reverse
letters are not flattened, as would be the case had they contacted the
roof of their respective rim gutters.
I also ruled out a case of rim-restricted design duplication (a form
of machine doubling) and a Type I stutter strike, because both are
restricted to the face struck by the hammer die (among other reasons).