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New Major Doubled Die Found
By Charles D. Daughtrey
September 19, 2007


Reports of new doubled dies in Lincoln cents happen frequently, but very seldom does it occur that a major doubled die sees its first publication a quarter century after it was minted.

That was the case when collector and roll searcher Richard J. Ziegler of Quincy, Massachusetts sorted through a roll he had purchased at the bank in July and found something special; a 1982 small date zinc cent with major doubling on the reverse of the coin.

It took Ziegler nearly two months to find the equipment to properly image the coin, but as soon as he had photos to use, he promptly posted his find on the Coin Community Family forum (www.coincommunity.com) asking for help in its identification. Numismatists and die variety enthusiasts Charles D. Daughtrey and Bill O'Rourke quickly responded positively that Ziegler had scored a very nice find, and that this doubled die had never been listed by any of the major sources to their knowledge.

Arrangements were made to send the coin to Daughtrey, attributor of www.coppercoins.com, for photography and inclusion in as many major publications as possible to get the word out of its existence. Photographs of Ziegler's coin were published on Daughtrey's website on September 15th.

The New Find
Listed as 1982P-1DR-001 on coppercoins.com, 1982P DDR#001 by CONECA, and 01-1982-801 in the Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide" system, this doubled die shows very strong doubling on most of the devices on the reverse. Its major pick-up points are the E of UNITED and the motto, "E Pluribus Unum," located just above the memorial building in the upper center of the design. The doubling shows on many of the other devices, but is not as obvious to the unaided eye.

Markers for this particular doubled die include thin die polishing lines that run east and west through the lower design (around ONE CENT) and in the far upper part of the design around "STATES." Another marker is a group of concentric (circular) die scratches inside the memorial bays on either side of the building.

The obverse of the discovery coin is also riddled with many die scratches, most run east and west through and around the bust of Lincoln in the center of the design. Another important marker is a die chip inside the upper left of the T of LIBERTY.

Special Rarity
Due to the price of copper, the Mint changed the composition of the Lincoln cent from the brass alloy (95% copper, 5% zinc) it had been since 1962 to a less expensive core of pure zinc plated in pure copper. The first run of copper plated zinc cents in late 1982 proved to be very problematic. The copper plating often bubbled-up due to improper or incomplete washing of the zinc blanks prior to plating. The plating also had a nasty tendency to split open when the coins were struck, exposing the oxygen reactive zinc to the open environment which welcomed oxidation and corrosion. Needless to say, many of the early zinc cents have since corroded, making any 1982 zinc cent somewhat difficult to find.

Additionally, the Mint also modified the design of the Lincoln cent in 1982 to sharpen the design, creating what collectors know of as the small date variety. The design used during the first part of the year is known as the large date variety. This change occurred late in the year making the small date cents more difficult to obtain.

Changing the metallic composition of the Lincoln cent and modifying the design to sharpen details created the possibility of four different varieties per mint. Since cents were minted for circulation in both Philadelphia and Denver in 1982, this gives us a total of eight different possible combinations (varieties). To date, only one of the eight possibilities has not been found (and probably was not minted); the Denver mint small date brass (copper) variety. All seven of the other possibilities are known to exist.

Of the seven different varieties of 1982 cents, the Philadelphia minted small date zinc cent is the scarcest, with an estimated 5-10% mintage of the 10.7 billion total coins minted of all the varieties. Uncirculated rolls of this particular variety are selling for just over $100 per 50 coin roll, compared to the mere $2 selling price of large date rolls.

The Bottom Line
This find is very special. Not only is this the only known example of this 25 year-old major doubled die, but it also happens to be the scarcest variety of the 1982 cent issue (Philadelphia minted small date zinc). It is also an issue that is notorious for corrosion problems, which means many of the examples originally minted are now gone.

The coin studied is an early mid-die state (EMDS) coin, as determined by the slight lack of original sharpness of the devices near the rim of the coin. According to a generally accepted die study of die life by Delma Romines back in the late 1980s, this would mean that approximately 10,000 – 15,000 coins were minted prior to this example using this die. If we assume this number as the original mintage of these doubled dies, then further assume that only ten percent of these are left now due to natural attrition and corrosion problems, we end up with a surviving number of these doubled dies not exceeding 1,500 pieces—and the actual number is probably far less than that.

Using the same math on 1995 doubled die Lincoln cents (600,000 die life mintage times an attrition rate of ten percent of survivors per year) gives us an estimated surviving number of 168,000 examples, considering very late die state pieces are known to exist. Given the number submitted to all third party grading services is still below 20,000 pieces in all grades, the mathematical estimate of survivors is probably quite high.

The bottom line is that preliminary estimates by this author of possible surviving pieces of this particular doubled die are likely between 100 and 500 pieces, of which fewer than 20 percent are likely to currently be uncirculated in grade. This doubled die is also at-present considered unique, and has a spread of doubling strong enough to warrant listing in all major references and recognition by all major grading services (compared to other pieces already recognized by all sources). Given all these factors, an estimate of value for a lower-grade uncirculated piece is $1,000 (MS60 through MS63). Circulated coins should sell between $300 and $750, while higher grade uncirculated pieces (MS64 and above) should exceed $2,000, if one is ever found.



Charles D. Daughtrey is the author of, "Looking Through Lincoln Cents, a Chronology of a Series," second edition, available through Zyrus Press. Color photographs of this and over 2,000 other Lincoln cent die varieties can be found on Daughtrey's website, www.coppercoins.com.



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Comments
On November 8, 2007 NOEL BISCOCHO said
Dear Mr. Daugthrey:

I'm just curious of tis 1982 doubled die cents w/c you findjust recently and featured in the Nov-Dec 07 DVN magazine.

I think I ave found something like that but in the large cent variety. Its seems that the reverse of the memorial building has a weak strike appearance, am I correct on my observation. Same with the small date variety it shows the memorial building is weakly strike particularly at the steps of the building. Since these coins that I have is just retrieve from circulation a couple of months from Hawaii, I think my 1982 cents both small & large date exibits doubling in the obverse and the reverse. The letters in the USA is relatively sharp where "R" is strogest in terms of doubling effects.As you mentioned theres a lot of die scratches.Could you please advise me on what kind of loupe (magnifier) that I can use to see the notching in the E.Pluribus Unum, altough separation lines were visible in a 10X loupe, I can't see the notching.

As I have read your article, I have now an idea of the value of these error coins.

Also, I want to share with you the 1983 cents that seems to be also doubled die mostly in the reverse just like the 1982 small & large date. Is there a possibility that the obverse die use for the year 1983 is the same with 1982.

Further if you may please, I ave here with me a digital camera an IXUS and Canon both 1.3 mp could this kind of cams produce a quality pictures just like your picture in your article. Please advise on this matter.

I'm lookig forward to hear from you soon.

noel biscocho

On February 8, 2010 Bobby said
Looks like another member has found one...

http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=59106
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On February 12, 2013 Mandi Price said
Dear Mr. Daugthrey:

For 7 years I've been a collector of Lincoln Cents. Sadly, a family member passed away recently and willed me a giant piggy bank of pennies. They were not collectors so I've had much luck in finding some pretty rare pieces. I am currently holding a 1982 D Small Date that I think is your "missing" 1982 Variety. As impossible as it may seem, I am also currently holding a 1982 P Small Date with the above described doubling. How might I talk further with you about these cents?

~Mandi
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