U.S. Mint tackles challenges of edge lettering

The United States Mint has been faced with a number of technological challenges over the past more than two decades putting edge lettering on United States coins.

Full video transcript:

This is the Monday Morning Brief for October 3, 2016. I’m Coin World Senior Editor Paul Gilkes.

The United States Mint has been faced with a number of technological challenges over the past more than two decades putting edge lettering on United States coins.

Most U.S. coins today are produced with a plain edge or reeded edge.

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

In 1992, the Denver Mint struck the Uncirculated Olympic Baseball dollar first with a reeded edge. Then using a 20th century version of a Castaing-type machine like that used during the 18th and 19th centuries to deter counterfeiting, incuse edge lettering was imparted over the reeded edge without crushing the reed details.

In 2007, first with the Presidential dollars, and two years later with the Native American dollars, Mint technicians were tasked with having to produce the means to execute edge lettering.

Sacagawea dollar with edge lettering   The only known Sacagawea dollar with edge lettering sold at auction: The coin, which is the lone confirmed example of 2007-D Sacagawea dollar with Presidential dollar edge lettering instead of the intended plain edge, received 59 bids from nine different bidders.

The first year’s production of Presidential dollars became a learning curve, since the edge inscriptions weren’t applied during production of circulation strikes, but after, on equipment separate from the coinage presses.

The process was flawed, as thousands of coins escaped application of the edge devices or passed through the final step more than once, creating oodles of error coins for collectors to locate.

It wasn’t until 2008 that the final step was integrated into the end of the production line with the coinage presses.

The Proof versions had the edge lettering applied using a three-piece segmented collar during the actual striking process.

A three-piece, segmented collar has also been used during the production at the West Point Mint of the Proof 2016-W American Eagle 30th Anniversary silver dollar that went on sale Sept. 16.

The 30th Anniversary inscription appears upright at the six o’clock position relative to the obverse. It is imparted during the striking of the coin.

Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W Native American dollar   Edge device process differs on Enhanced Uncirculated Native American $1s : All Enhanced Uncirculated 2015-W Native American dollars should have edge inscriptions that face right side up in relation to the obverse, U.S. Mint officials say.

Collectors who ordered the coins and already received delivery have expressed mixed opinions on the Mint’s execution of the edge ornamentation.

They either love it or they hate it.

Mint officials report that each collar can be used for an average of 19,000 coins. I’m sure there will be a difference between the edge device on the first coin from that collar versus that on coin 19,000.

Mint officials, as always, indicate that dissatisfied customers can return the coin for a replacement or refund pursuant to the Mint’s returns policy.

If you ordered and received one of the edge-lettered Proof silver Eagles, how do you think the Mint did with its execution?

For Coin World, I’m Paul Gilkes.

Community Comments