US Coins

'Sandwich strikes' shouldn't be confused with 'sandwich

A common act of coin vandalism is the “sandwich job.” The perpetrator takes a coin or planchet and places it between two other coins or between a second coin and a firm supporting surface, and applies pressure. The result is a false image that is incuse and mirror image. The illustrated 1973 Lincoln cent is a typical example. Reverse design elements from the upper half of an overlying cent were impressed into the obverse. The reverse (not shown) has an impression from Lincoln’s bust.

There are times, however, when a coin or planchet gets trapped between two other discs of coin metal in the striking chamber on a Mint press. When the stacked threesome is struck, the coin that emerges from the middle of the stack is sometimes referred to as a “sandwich strike.” These bear only a faint resemblance to a fraudulent sandwich job.

The first of two undated Lincoln cents illustrated this week shows what happens when three planchets are piled on top of each other. The planchet represented by the first illustrated cent was struck off-center, between two other planchets. It was positioned on top of a second planchet that was centered within the striking chamber. This produced an ordinary uniface strike on the reverse face of the illustrated coin. The obverse face of the illustrated coin was partly covered by a third planchet. This overlying planchet almost completely covered the middle planchet but was positioned slightly farther out from the striking chamber. As a result, it left an “internal indent.” The area of the middle planchet (the illustrated coin) left exposed by the top planchet was struck directly by the obverse die, leaving a die-struck crescent at the perimeter of the protruding tongue of coin metal that carries part of Lincoln’s face.

Two planchets and a coin were involved in the next sandwich strike illustrated. The middle and bottom participants entered the striking chamber as unstruck planchets. The middle planchet rested on top of a second planchet that was centered within the striking chamber. The reverse face of the off-center strike is uniface from the underlying planchet, while the obverse face carries a flipover brockage from an overlying coin. When the strike was completed, the obverse face of this off-center sandwich strike was left with a brockage of Lincoln’s face.

The double-struck 1996-D cent illustrates what can happen when three previously struck coins overlap within the striking chamber.

The reverse face of the off-center second strike shows a brockage of the word liberty. It indicates that the middle coin overlapped a newly-struck coin that was seated within the striking chamber.

The obverse face features an “internal” partial brockage from a coin that partly covered the obverse face of the middle coin. Close inspection reveals the incuse, mirror-image letters tes of am arranged along the sloping medial surface of the indent.

Coin World’s Collectors’ Clearinghouse department does not accept coins or other items for examination without prior permission from News Editor William T. Gibbs. Materials sent to Clearinghouse without prior permission will be returned unexamined. Please address all Clearinghouse inquiries to or to (800) 673-8311, Ext. 172.

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