How to Identify a Double-Die Coin

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A double-die coin is a coin that has been through the design-printing process twice, leaving it with a double layered effect. These coins are not cut on purpose and are therefore very valuable in many instances. If you come across a coin that is possibly a double-die, you need to identify whether it actually is or not to establish if it is worth your time and money. There are a few means and ways of determining the true status of your coin, so run through as many of them as you have to until you are comfortable with the diagnosis.

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Step 1

Set the coin with the head side facing up. Place the magnifying glass stand directly over the coin so you can easily see the details.

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Step 2

Look closely at the overall look of the printed image. If the edges clearly appear doubled, then you have a double-die coin.

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Step 3

Inspect the numbers of the date for smudges or over-thickness in the lines. If some of the numbers appear blotchier than others, you are seeing polishing errors, not a double-die image.

Step 4

Check the small uppercase letter directly below the date. Look carefully for a second letter below the first, as this is an easy-to-spot indicator of a double-die.

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Step 5

Look at the serifs for small horizontal splits or breaks, which will give away the presence of a first die below the top one. Serifs are the small flourishes on the corners of the letters.

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Step 6

Follow the edges of the letters and designs for inconsistencies compared to similar coins. If the differences are found commonly throughout the coin, it is very likely a double-die.

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Step 7

Check the insides of letters such as D's and O's. If there are dips or bumps inside the letters where the coin should be smooth and flat, this is probably a sign of being printed twice.

Tip

Work near good lighting so you can clearly see the detailing in the coin.

Warning

Do not buy a coin without receiving authentication and certification verifying its status.

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