US Coins

Collectors still interested in low-grade rarities

Classic U.S. numismatic rarities don’t necessarily need to be in high Mint State grades to generate interest from collectors.

Case in point: Heritage Auctions’ July 7 session held in in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the Summer FUN Convention staged by the Florida United Numismatists, offered a 1918/7-D Indian Head 5-cent coin, graded and encapsulated Very Good 10 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., and stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp. as meeting CAC’s stringent standards for the grade.

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Despite the heavy wear from circulation, the overdate was still visible on the obverse for easy identification without the need for magnification. Somebody, possibly a collector seeking an entry-level piece for their assemblage of Indian Head 5-cent coins, was willing to pay $1,075 for the coin, which includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.

Coin World's Coin Values lists the overdate at $1,000 in VG-8, $8,000 in Extremely Fine 40, and $35,000 in MS-60, jumping to a whopping $250,000 in MS-65, not considered chump change and not in every collector’s budget.

According to David W. Lange in The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels, evidence of the overdate on the 1918/7-D Indian Head 5-cent coin is rarely visible in grades below Very Good, with VG being the condition most often encountered.

How it was made

The obverse die for the overdate struck at the Denver Mint was executed in the die shop at the Philadelphia Mint during the latter part of calendar year 1917, according to Lange. Because of a circulation shortage of cents and 5-cent coins in 1917 and 1918, dies were simultaneously in production to meet current and anticipated coinage demands.

An unusual example of “machine doubling”We examine an unusual example of ‘machine doubling’: Another column in the July 24 Coin World examines a VAM marriage that deserves better.


“In sinking a working die, two or more impressions had to be taken from a working hub,” Lange wrote. “Between each impressioin, the developing die was taken to the furnace to be annealed, or softened, since the first impression caused the metal to become work-hardened. It was then ready for another impression. Amid the haste to produce new dies, a working die that had already been impressed with a hub dated 1917 was either inadvertently or intentionally given another impression from a hub dated 1918. The result was an overdate.”

The variety is also a form of doubled die.

While the first mention of the existence of the overdate came in a March 1930 auction by The Hobby Shop in Rochester, N.Y., it wasn’t until later in the decade that collectors took an interest in seeking examples of the production rarity.

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