US Coins

What kind of doubling is on 1964-D Kennedy half

Collector Carl Siglock questions whether his 1964-D Kennedy half dollar might be a new Kennedy half dollar doubled die discovery because of the doubling on President Kennedy’s ear. The effect is actually the result of mechanical, or machine doubling.

Ear image courtesy of Carl Siglock; reverse image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Readers Ask column from Sept. 26, 2016, weekly issue of Coin World:

I recently decided to go through $200 face value of “junk” 1964 Kennedy half dollars to separate anything worthwhile (I found two doubled dies and a repunched Mint mark!). 

I also found several 1964-D coins with what appears to be a doubled ear, which doesn’t show up on any variety lists that I can find. I have included a photo at about 25 power.

Carl Siglock  /  Via Email

I forwarded your email inquiry with image to Coin World Collectors’ Clearinghouse columnist Mike Diamond and variety specialist John Wexler, author of the monthly Coin World column “Varieties Notebook,” for their expert opinions.

Diamond responded: “It looks like machine doubling to me. This is a very common spot for it to appear, and it often occurs in isolation.”

Wexler said: “It does look like mechanical doubling which can affect small areas of the design, but photos can be deceiving.”

Connect with Coin World:  

Mechanical doubling — also known as machine, ejection or strike doubling — results at the completion of the striking of the coin. As a die lifts from the surface of a new coin, some looseness in the press can result in the die coming into brief secondary contact with the coin. The die can then displace metal, resulting in several forms of doubling.

Die doubling, in contrast, can result from misalignment between a hub and partially completed die, with overlapping, multiple images on the die as a result (for dies requiring more than one impression of a hub into a die). Doubled dies survived the U.S. Mint’s switch from a multiple-hubbing to single-hubbing operation, but the doubling is less pronounced. Specialists believe doubling occurs when a misaligned hub snaps back into position soon after making first contact with the conical die blank.

Questions about doubling on coins are among the most common Coin World receives, in part because some well promoted doubled die coins sell for very high prices. Collectors would do well to learn how to distinguish between the various classes of doubled dies and the different forms of strike doubling.

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