US Coins

1916 Indian Head 5-cent at forefront of 'mainstream' die series

While many die varieties are esoteric and in the realm of error and varieties specialists, others are popularly collected within a series. These typically combine a variety that is visible to the unaided eye and is available in sufficient quantities to meet mainstream collector demand.

Below is one of three "mainstream" varieties that Coin World is profiling in its latest Market Analysis, and that each teach a lesson.

The coin

1916 Indian Head, Doubled Die Obverse 5-cent coin, AG-3 Details, Acid-Treated

The price


The story

This is a fascinating coin that provides a substantial valuing challenge due to the severity of the acid treatment. The 1916 Indian Head, Doubled Die Obverse 5-cent coin is a rarity with dramatic doubling that is seen clearly on the date. However, this piece has a vertical wood grain texture and has been acid treated, perhaps in an attempt to make the details sharper.

As such, ANACS has graded the coin About Good 3 Details, Acid Treated, although as Heritage notes, the sharpness appears better than the assigned grade level. It sold for $1,116.25 at Heritage’s Feb. 27 Professional Numismatists Guild auction.

Indian Head 5-cent pieces are often seen acid-treated, because the raised date is prone to wearing off and acid treatment can “restore” a date.

For reference, a solid Good 6 example with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the grade sold for $5,797 at a June 23, 2013, auction.

Keep reading this Market Analysis:

1918/7-S Standing Liberty quarter dollar a doubled die that is also an overdate

1955 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent among the most famous, dramatic doubled dies

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