US Coins

Winged Liberty Head dime overdate counterfeit target

Detecting Counterfeits column from Dec. 12, 2016, weekly issue of Coin World:

When we have to give a custo­mer bad news about a coin they have submitted to ANACS, we know that the customer will be disappointed and in some cases, downright angry.

One of those coins is the 1942/1 Winged Liberty Head dime struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Many of the pieces we see are normal 1942 dimes with machine doubling or damage on the date digits, giving the illusion of the overdate. Others are coins that have been intentionally altered, either by adding a fake 1 to a genuine 1942 dime, or by adding a fake 2 to a genuine 1941 coin.

Since an authentic 1942/1 dime is valued at $450 in Fine, $1,100 in About Uncirculated, and $45,000 in Mint State 65 full bands, there is quite a bit of money riding on a submitted coin being genuine.

All genuine 1942/1 dimes were struck from the same die pair, and evidently in the same press run. Diagnostics include a full right leg on the R in LIBERTY, where the leg touches the top feather in the wing; a strong 1 under the left edge of the 2 in the date; a doubled 4 in the date, best seen as a strong notch at the bottom of the upright; and on the reverse a diagonal raised die polish line between the branch and the left edge of the fasces, just above the bottom; and slightly rotated dies (if you align the obverse with the upright of the E in LIBERTY at 12:00, when you flip the coin over, the reverse will be rotated to about 12:30, with the right half of the E in STATES at 12:00). 

This doubled die obverse var¬≠iety resulted when a die was first impressed with a 1941-dated hub, then reimpressed with a 1942-dated hub, creating the overdate. 

All 1941 Winged Liberty Head dimes have the full leg on the R in LIBERTY, but due to reworking the hub for 1942, all nonoverdate 1942 dimes have a shortened right leg on the R that does not touch the feather.

As for the rotated dies, it appears the dies were installed in the press with a slight misalignment (a common occurrence at the time), with every overdate dime being struck in a single press run. In a study of hundreds of examples over the past year, every genuine 1942/1 dime had this precise die alignment.


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