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what is a double die?

What is a Double Die?

Welcome to Rich Off Error Coins, your go-to source for everything about error coins and varieties. If you’re new to coin collecting or just curious about the unique and valuable world of error coins, you’re in the right place. Today, we’ll explore one of the most sought-after and intriguing types of coin errors: the double die. While the correct term is “doubled die,” many people search for “double die,” so we’ll use both terms to ensure you find the information you need.

Understanding Double Die Coins

A double die coin is a result of a specific minting error that occurs during the coin’s production process. This error happens when the coin die, which stamps the design onto the blank coin (planchet), has a doubled image. Essentially, the die itself has been struck twice in a misaligned manner, creating a coin with duplicated or overlapping features. This can result in noticeable doubling on the coin’s design elements, such as the date, lettering, or other details.

How Double Die Coins Are Created

To understand how double die coins are created, it’s essential to know a bit about the coin minting process. Here’s a simplified version:

  1. Die Creation: A die is created by striking a blank piece of metal with a hub that contains the coin’s design. The die is then used to stamp this design onto blank coins.
  2. Hub Doubling: Occasionally, during the hubbing process (where the hub imprints the design onto the die), the die is struck more than once but in slightly different positions. This misalignment causes the doubling of the image on the die itself.
  3. Coin Striking: When this doubled die is used to strike blank coins, it transfers the doubled image onto the coins, creating a doubled die error.

Identifying a Double Die Coin

Double die coins can vary in the visibility of their doubling. Some might show very pronounced doubling, while others may have more subtle signs. Here are some key features to look for:

  • Date Doubling: The most noticeable area for doubling is often the date. Look for overlapping or split numbers.
  • Lettering Doubling: Check the coin’s lettering, such as “LIBERTY” or “IN GOD WE TRUST.” Doubling can make these letters appear blurred, split, or shadowed.
  • Design Elements: Doubling can also affect other design elements, such as portraits, eagles, or other symbols on the coin.
  • Split Serrifs: the split lines in the numbers or lettering that stand out and are not flat and shelf-like with machine doubling.

Famous Double Die Coins

Several double die coins are famous among collectors and can be quite valuable. Here are a few notable examples:

1955 doubled die error coin
  1. 1955 Lincoln Cent: Perhaps the most famous double die coin, the 1955 Lincoln Cent, shows significant doubling on the obverse (front) side, especially in the date and lettering. It’s a prized piece for any collector.
rich off error coins 1969-s DDO penny
  1. 1969-S Lincoln Cent: This coin is another highly sought-after double die, known for its dramatic doubling on the obverse, particularly in the date and the words “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
  2. 1972 Lincoln Cent: The 1972 Lincoln Cent has several varieties of doubled dies, with the most prominent showing strong doubling in the date and lettering.
  3. 1995 Lincoln Cent: This more recent double die features noticeable doubling in the words “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

Why Collect Double Die Coins?

Double die coins are a favorite among collectors for several reasons:

  • Historical Significance: These coins represent a unique moment in minting history and showcase the imperfections in the production process.
  • Rarity and Value: Some double die coins are quite rare and can be highly valuable. The rarity of the error often drives up the coin’s market value.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The doubled features can be visually striking and add an extra layer of intrigue to the coin’s design.

How to Find Double Die Coins

Finding a double die coin can be a thrilling hunt. Here are some tips for discovering these gems:

  • Roll Searching: Purchase rolls of coins from banks and search through them for double die errors. While it’s time-consuming, many collectors enjoy the hunt.
  • Coin Shows and Shops: Visit coin shows and local coin shops where you might find dealers who specialize in error coins.
  • Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay and specialized coin auction sites often list double die coins. Always buy from reputable sellers to avoid counterfeits.
  • Join a Coin Club: Becoming a member of a coin club can connect you with other collectors and provide opportunities to learn and trade.

Other Websites to find Doubled Die Varieties… Check out Wexlers page for a much more thourough examination of doubled die varieties.

Variety Vista PCGS NGC Wexlers

Joining the Coin Collecting Community

If you’re intrigued by double die coins and want to dive deeper into the world of error coins, consider joining the community at Rich Off Error Coins. Our Valuable Coin List Blog offers insights, tips, and the latest news about coin collecting. By subscribing, you’ll receive regular updates and access to exclusive content that can help you become a more knowledgeable collector.


Double die coins are a fascinating aspect of coin collecting that combines history, rarity, and a touch of mystery. Understanding what a double die coin is and how to identify one can enhance your appreciation for these unique pieces. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting, the world of double die coins offers endless opportunities for discovery and enjoyment.

Ready to start your journey? Join the Rich Off Error Coins community today and become a part of an enthusiastic group of collectors who share your passion. Subscribe to our Valuable Coin List Blog at richofferrorcoins.com/register and stay updated on all things error coins. Happy collecting!