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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 50 No. 9 September 2004

Editor's Notes

Here is a reminder that the members' auction will be held during our November 10 meeting. The next issue will give many details, but now is the time to think about making consignments. Due to the varied interests of the members, and realizing that at least two bidders are needed to make an auction, some items do better than others. In the past, items generating the most interest were either related to our club or the Chicago area. Again this year, Bill Burd of Chicago Coin Company has agreed to receive items from members unable to attend the meeting. Please send me a list of items as soon as possible; those lists received by mid-October will be included in the November Chatter which will be mailed at least one week before the auction.

Paul Hybert, editor

Speaker's Wor[l]d
The Debate Over Modern Doubled-Die Coins

Presented by Tom DeLorey to our August 11, 2004 meeting.

Twenty years ago, the quality of U.S. coins deteriorated when the mint starting producing coins in a lower relief than they had previously. That was when they had adopted the Canadian system (first used in 1979) of single hubbing a die.

A die is produced by slowly, and with great force, pressing a "hub" into a piece of die steel. In the modern era, the hub had to be pressed two times into the die; if it were simply a matter of two pressings one immediately after another, there would not be much room for savings. Originally the die steel is "soft," but pressing the hub into the die results in the steel becomming harder (work hardened is the technical term). Before the second pressing step, the die must be softened first by heating the die and then by slowly cooling the die (annealing is the technical term). Special ovens and trained personnel are needed for this step; mutliply that by the tens of thousands of dies needed annually, and the cost is noticeable.

Elimination of the annealing step saved money directly, and longer die life from striking coins with a lower relief permitted more coins to be produced from the same number of dies. Another supposed benefit from the single hubbing process was the elimination of doubled die errors. Those errors are produced when the second pressing of the hub does not align perfectly with the first pressing.

So how can the appearance of a 2003 Lincoln cent with apparent doubling on the reverse's columns be explained? And then Bill Fivaz sent Tom a 2004-D Roosevelt dime with a raised metal arc in the ear; it appears to be the outer line of the ear, but turned about 30°. Tom had hypothesized that the die was not correctly seated, the hub made contact, the hub was retracted, the die placed correctly, then the new impression was made. Pictures of this coin have appeared in the numismatic press, and Tom passed around a number of the articles. But a big argument went back and forth as to whether it was a tue doubled die error.

For the next few minutes the meeting was a discussion of various scenarios, with a general conclusion that the coin is from a doubled die. Unfortunately, we had no pieces to pass around for a close examintaion to rule out die doubling, which is when the coin is struck twice by a die (usually caused by a die being loose in the press). Die doubling leaves the "extra" element quite flat; after all, it usually was smashed down by the field part of the die on the second strike. Whether the extra element is flat or of normal relief can be hard to determine from a photograph, so it is best to examine these pieces in person. Some of the floated scenarios involving the striking process could explain doublng in the field of the coin (which is the highest part of the die), but the ear is a high point of the coin (and therefore a low and protected point on the die).

And then a 2004-P Jefferson Peace Medal nickel appeared, with doubling strongest in the date. Tom and others believe the coin to be from a doubled die, but a representative of the U.S. mint said it was not from a doubled die. While the mint was making denials, Bill Fivaz found a 2004 Lincoln cent with doubling on the reverse (and some slight doubling on some obverse letters).

In the past, the mint has changed its mind after an internal investigation. Tom recounted the story of the 1972 doubled die cent; one die showed major doubling, but about ten dies showed weak doubling. At that time, the hub and die had ridges and notches to make repeatable allignments, but one worker ground off the ridges so he would not have to spend time carefully alligning the die and the hub. His production increased, and he received a bonus award; and then he was fired.

Tom feels that he will be vindicated in time.

Show and Tell

Items shown at our August 11, 2004 meeting.

  1. Mark Wieclaw showed a range of items starting, in honor of the openning ceremonies to be held on Friday, with some U.S. Olympic coins:
  2. Chuck Jacobs gave a sampling of Japanese coinage:
  3. Earlier this year, Bob Leonard had written the club's handout about bamboo money for CICF. Since then he has carried on a correspondence with someone who corrected a few of the translations; Bob showed some of the correspondence and markups.
  4. John Riley is interested in supplies as part of the hobby. At the 1963-1967 peak of the hobby, Whitman published Bookshelf Albums for a number of foreign countries. John showed some nicely filled type albums from:

Our 1029th Meeting

Date:September 8, 2004
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
In a meeting room provided courtesy of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.; at 77 W. Washington St., room 420A.
Featured speaker:Richard Hartzog - Countermarked Coins

Important Dates

September 8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Richard Hartzog on Countermarked Coins
September 17-19 CSNS Fall Coin Show & Convention at the Park Place of Countryside Banquet Hall, 6200 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL. Friday & Saturday 10 AM - 6 PM; Sunday 10 AM - 3:30 PM. Admission is free, and so is parking.
September 18 Educational Sessions at the CSNS Fall Coin Show & Convention at the Park Place of Countryside Banquet Hall, 6200 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL. Admission is free, and so is parking.
11AM Brad Ream Late Renaissance Coins of France (1574-1610)
12Noon Erwin E. Brauer Counterfeit Detectors & Patent Models
1PM Clifford Priest Stock & Bond Certificate Collecting
2PM Joe Rizdy Error Coins
3PM To Be Announced
4PM Early American Coppers Roundtable
October 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Michael Dolnick on Medals of Paul Vincze
November 10 CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker

Birthday and Year Joined

October 13 Bernard L. Schwartz 1986
October 14 Joel J. Reznick 1981
October 14 Warren G. Schultz
October 17 Margo Russell

Chatter Matter

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:

P.O. Box 2301

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Contacting Your Editor

Paul R. Hybert

Club Officers

Mark Wieclaw- President
Robert Feiler- First Vice President
Jeff Rosinia- Second Vice President
Directors:Lyle Daly
Mike Metras
Steve Zitowsky
Carl Wolf
Other positions held are:
Robert Weinstein- Secretary
Steve Zitowsky- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor
Phil Carrigan- Archivist