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10 Facts About Wavy Step Lincolns

9 posts in this topic

Let me state this for the record: No way am I an expert on wavy steps! The following list of facts is to promote what I have found to be an interesting and satisfying niche that others might find interesting too.


1. From what I understand, Wavy Steps are a form of doubled die reverse, where the top few steps just under the columns on the Lincoln Memorial penny become distorted and are not straight.

Minor examples show just an arcing in a few of the steps below only one or two columns.


More extreme examples have a distinctly wavy appearance and may extend all the way across the memorial.


2. They are known as MODERNS. They didn't have Wavy Step Lincolns before 1959. The earliest one that I've heard of is a 1987 wavy and they occur in many years since then. Recently we have become aware of a major wavy for 2005.

3. They are fun to collect. Young Numismatists or anyone just starting to collect coins would get a kick out of them for many of the reasons listed below.

4. It is an emerging market. They exist therefore they will be collected! And since there are so few people collecting them right now, they have no place to go but up, both in POPULARITY and in PRICE. You can pick MOST of them up right now cheap enough, as they are priced about the same regardless of population. Supply and demand isn't as accurate right now as it could be if there were more collectors of them. Identifying the keys and buying them now could bring profit later.

5. They come in various grades and shades, just like real coins do.

6. They fit in Dansco folders and StaFlips just like real coins do.

7. If they interest you but you feel like it would be beneath you to collect such a thing, then you can put a collection together for your 1-year old grandchild or neice/nephew and hold onto it for them till they turn 21 ...or 48.

8. They grow on you. Owning them might at first seem "beneath you", but consider the ugly dog...the family Shi-Zu...so ugly from an outsiders point of view, yet so loved by the family.

9. Wavy Steps are quite fascinating to look at. You don't see steps like them in real life, unless they were made by a very, very drunk person, so it's weird, actually kinda fascinating to look at one in hand, magnified of course.

10. They're fun to search for in change and as more people look for them, new varieties are coming to light. To some degree they are tracked and given numbers which you can look up at CopperCoins.com and there are a couple articles on them at Conecaonline.org, but I think there are some important varieties that are unlisted mainly because those varieties are just now coming to light! I think everyone should collect Wavy Step Lincolns. grin.gif

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Murphy: Welcome to the forum!


Yes, I too like to collect the "wavy steps" varieties and have them listed so far for every year and mint mark since 1987 in my "C" files. Some are very minor while a few are quite impressive. Currently, I have 3 listings for the 2005 cents and my CDDR-002 looks very similar in doubling appearance to your bottom photo. But can't be sure without die markers.


Good luck in your searching and let us know how it goes.

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Thank you Mr. Crawford for your warm welcome. I am aware of you and your many contributions to the field of numismatics. You, Chuck Daughtrey, Robert Neff and Bob Piazza are like my heroes. smile.gif

You mention a list that you have and "C" files...are they private files or published? Would it be possible for me to view them?

I'm really new to collecting wavy steps, just started a couple months ago. But I've been collecting pennies off and on since I was a kid back in the ' 60's. My family would get together with an aunt and uncle on weekends and we'd set around the kitchen table and chat and search through bankrolled coins. Sometimes we played cards and sometimes we searched through coins. But either one was fun.

Lately I've seen evidence of some really monster wavy steps that spread all the way across the memorial and all the way down the steps. That's a monster spread. I just want to get my grubby hands on one! 27_laughing.gif


Edit: BTW, I'm Robert Tingle and I understand from someone else that one of the 2005P's (lower photo) that I recently found is headed your way. It's listed at CopperCoins.com as 2005P-1DR-001

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"You mention a list that you have and "C" files...are they private files or published?"


Murphy, my "C" files are published in my reference, "A Detailed Analysis of Lincoln Cent Varieties - Volume I." ANACS and PCI third-party grading services recognize and utilize my "C" numbers on their holder labels for identification of doubled dies, re-punched mint marks, re-punched dates and so forth. I also contribute articles for Numismatic News weekly magazine. Actually, in the latest July 26, 2005 issue of NN is an article by me on newly reported Lincoln cent RPM's that were sent in to me from NN readers and variety collectors. Currently, I am also working on Volume II.


The "wavy step" varieties actually were instrumental in getting more and more collectors starting to search their modern-day coinage. It was only just a short time ago that the overwhelming majority of the numismatic community believed that doubled dies had been eliminated with the "single-squeeze" hubbing process. However, with the 2004-P Peace Medal nickel DDO and the strong doubled die reverse on the 2004 Lincoln cent, we now know doubled dies have been and are still being produced.


Below is a scan of the strong DDR on the 2004 Lincoln cent (also mated with a minor DDO) and is graded and encapsulated by NGC with the new Fivaz/Stanton FS-2004-801 on the holder label. Who would have thought that NGC, one of the major third-party grading services would have graded, authenticated, annotated and encapsulated a doubled die reverse on a 2004 Lincoln cent??? My how we have come a long way in such a short time? Below the slab scan is mirco-photos of the coin and its actual hub doubling on the reverse. Readily visible is the distinct notching, "tootsie-roll" extra thickness and separation lines on most of the lettering. Though it is certainly not equivalent in strength to the '55, '72 or '95 Lincoln cent DDO's, nonetheless, it is still pretty impressive doubling that came from a hubbing process that was not even suppose to produce doubled dies anymore. This all came about from the "wavy steps" DDR's.






I have always advocated that doubled dies were still being produced and many times was ridiculed for that believe. Seeing this NGC encapsulated 2004 Lincoln cent slabbed as a doubled die reverse has vindicated me.


New discoveries are out there waiting to be found. The "thrill of the hunt" continues!


I look forward to seeing that 2005 1c "wavy steps" and will let you know if it's a new listing in my "C" files. If you have any questions -- you can contact me at: dievarieties@sc.rr.com.


I wish you all the best in your searching and collecting endeavors.

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Thank you for giving me something to look for. Your post is greatly appreciated. I was unaware these errors were out there to be found, just from pocket change even. Really great post.



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I found 80 of these 2005P-1DR-001 cents among 12 new all-2005P bank wrapped rolls. I get a bundle or a box occasionally to look through for varieties. I am stepping up my search to go through circulated rolls now that I know what's out there. Jonathan you should see some of the monster coins that people have found in circulation! It would be great if someone who owns these monsters would share their photos with us! Thank you Billy for sharing yours with us! I have a theory that most people don't even know they exist. I'm talking about the MODERN DDO's and DDR-wavy steps that have been found, not the 1955, 1972, 1983 & 1984 DD's that everyone has seen in The Redbook. The ones I am talking about are the 1995D DDO, 2004 DDR shown above and the monster wavy steps that reach all the way across the memorial and all the way down the steps - I've seen photos and know they exist. Some of these are just too rare to be listed in The Redbook. I guess they won't list what they think we'll never see, unless it's really old and really expensive. It is nice to know about the chain cents, the continental dollars and first gold coins made in the USA, but I'm more apt to see one of these Modern rarities than one of those older ones. I think The Redbook should list these too!

Now I just buy a box of circulated rolls of pennies that are much easier to find than bankwrapped rolls of new all 2005 pennies and I look all over each coin for doubling in the lettering and dates, I look at the steps for wavy places and I even like to check for Wide AM's and some other types of varieties that I've learned about recently. There's enough change in my town to keep me busy so I guess I better get back to looking. smile.gif

BTW Billy, I ran into a bunch of rolls where the only things I found were 1998D-1DR-001 and 1999D-1DR-001 cents. I found almost a roll of them and most looked as if they were minted yesterday! One 1998D DDR in particular looks like an ms68 blazer with bullseye toning. It's beautiful. If I'd ran accross one like it at a coin shop, they'd prolly want a weeks pay for it! But I found it for a penny. And now I'm searching just as many rolls and I find none of them at all. Weird huh?

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Pardon my ignorance, but where do you get the bundles of uncircs? I have 40 rolls of cents that I went through looking for a 1995 DD. I could search them again for some of the errors I saw on your site.


Thanks for posting this.



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I just go to the bank and ask for a $25 box of pennies. Also, some banks that have coin counting machines sometimes will let you have a $50 bag.

Note that if there's a particularly interesting coin that has been released in your area, then it's better to search through the $50 bag than the $25 box. The reason is that the box probably came from the nearest Federal Reserve Bank, which could be miles away from your area. And the bag of cents would more than likely be made up of coins that businesses in your area bring in for deposit at the bank.

And finally, if you're interested in compiling a list of coins to include in your search, then you can find several great sources. Billy Crawford has a good one that I'm sure he would sell you a copy if you emailed him. Chuck Daughtrey has probably the largest variety list available. You can get it through CopperCoins.com and Conecaonline.org probably has something you can use. These are just the ones that I'm aware of. I'm sure there are more books, journals and lists available to the Variety Hunter.

Good luck Jonathan - let us know if you find that 1995 DDO. Don't forget to look for the 1995D DDO as well. It's worth more money! smile.gif

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