You just found a coin that clearly has doubling to one or both sides of the coin. You have been reading about doubled dies being found and you have been watching them bring nice prices at the on-line auctions sites such as Ebay. It is somewhat apparent to you that doubled dies are usually worth more than “normal” coins. At this point it is natural for you to start getting a bit excited. However, you need to be aware that there are other forms of doubling on coins.
Unfortunately these other forms of doubling are quite common and basically worthless to serious collectors of die varieties with doubling such as doubled dies. Most serious collectors of doubled dies view these other forms of doubling as a type of damage to the coin rather than a collectible form of doubling. As such, there is no extra value assigned to coins that feature these common forms of doubling.
Here we will examine some of the common, worthless forms of doubling that are found on U.S. coinage and what they look like on coins. Hopefully what you see will help you to be able to distinguish between these common forms of doubling and genuine doubled dies. We will also look at what causes these common forms of doubling and you will readily see why serious doubled die collectors view them as a form of damage with no extra value.
If you buy doubled dies or other collectible forms of doubling for your collection, you need to be very careful especially if you are buying coins from people or dealers that you do not know. Many so-called doubled dies are being sold by people who either don’t know themselves that not all coins with doubling are the result of doubled dies, or worse yet, by people who do know the difference and hope that the buyer won’t know the difference.
I have personally seen numerous “doubled dies” for sale on Ebay which were nothing more than mechanical doubling. Sometimes they were getting significant bids. I always feel sorry for the folks that end up winning those lots as they are not getting genuine doubled dies. Unfortunately, they probably won’t realize or find out that they have a coin with worthless doubling until they try to sell it themselves.
One of the first clues that you may be buying from someone who doesn’t know much about doubled dies would be when you see a coin being offered as a “double die.” The correct term is “doubled die”. On genuine doubled dies the doubling is on the die that strikes the coins, hence the term “doubled die”.
If you are an honest person and are selling doubled dies, you have the responsibility to make sure that you are selling the real thing and not one of the worthless common forms of doubling.
We urge everyone to study the following common forms of doubling very carefully so that you don’t end up buying a “doubled die” only to find out later that it isn’t what you thought it was, or so that you don’t unknowingly sell a coin with worthless doubling by calling it a doubled die.