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Why had I not seen this before?



For the most part, I am not an error coin collector except that I think coins displaying clashed dies are rather cool.

In numismatic circles, I understand that there is discussion as to whether a clashed die is an error coin or not. My opinion lies somewhere in between and I think that the error occurred to the dies when they clashed together without a planchet. Subsequently, every coin thereafter correctly struck with that die pair carries the image of that one error.

A clashed die occurs when the hammer die, usually the obverse die, clashes against the anvil die, usually the reverse die. The striking force of the dies clashing together leaves portions of the opposing dies image on the face of each die. This then transfers to every subsequent coin thereafter using that die pair.

Since I have purchased a macro photography rig much like the one THE BRG COLLECTION uses to image his coins, I have methodically gone through my collection to re-image my coins. I still have a ways to go, but I have made significant progress. I have been particularly anxious to re-image the smallest of my coins, in other words my Type 1-3 gold dollars. The Type 1 gold dollar at 13mm and the Type 2 & 3 at 15mm stood to benefit the most from macro photography.

The things I saw in my coins using macro photography that I had missed before have fascinated me. That is particularly true about my NGC MS-62 1857 Type 3 gold dollar. While I knew that it was a clashed die coin because of the outline of the obverse bust on the reverse, I had not noticed the transference of the letters ERTY from Lady Libertys headdress to the reverse. When I saw it, I thought to myself, How cool; now why had I not seen this before?

Describing how this happened gets very interesting because the coins are an exact mirror of the dies. If the coin has incuse details, the die has those details in relief. Where the coin has details in relief, the die has those in incuse. Interestingly, the word LIBERTY in the headdress of my gold dollar is incuse on the coin. Therefore, the obverse die, which is in relief, struck the open field of the reverse die leaving an incuse impression. This then transferred to my coin in relief. Did you get that? I had to read this sentence several times to make sure I got it right.

What is particularly neat is that this die clash flattened the ERTY relief of the obverse die except where portions of the R were protected by the incuse 7 of the reverse die. Wow! Can you tell I get excited about this stuff? Only a coin geek like me and perhaps some of you will find this fascinating. I am posting two pictures on the chat boards, the one will show the outline of the bust on the reverse and the other the fine details of what I have been describing. Remember when viewing the detailed photo that this coin is only 15mm in diameter. Its amazing what you can see using macro photography.


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