Photo courtesy of Kenneth A. Watson
Q: Hello, as I said, I am new to the error/variety aspect of the hobby and have started with circulated Wheat cents. I find this to be quite interesting. I know you must get this all the time and I hope you don’t mind my inquiry about the attached photo. It is a 1944-D with a major lamination on the reverse, but also with another feature I am not sure about. Here is my theory. This started with the crack (there may be two) which runs rim to rim from about 10 o’clock (just below the top of the left wheat stalk) to about 4 o’clock (or east of “states”) and progressed to the die lamination (part of the wheat stalk and some letters are struck into the depression). What I’m not sure about is the sort of triangular sheet of copper between the “O” and “C” running into the “E.” There is a tiny space between the face of the coin and this sheet on both sides, but it’s obviously attached somehow. My guess is that this is metal which accumulated in the die lamination from earlier strikes and this piece fell off and was struck onto this planchet–you can see the tip of the wheat stalk, the top of the “C” and part of the “E” on this piece. I would appreciate your brief critique of my theory. Thank you again! -Kenneth A. Watson
The following answers illustrate that different specialists can have different views and that discussion can sometimes bring them together, nonetheless, an examination of an actual coin may be necessary to be sure of the exact nature of some errors.
A: #1 The triangular area is a “flap” created when some of the laminated metal was folded over at some point. It looks like it then took on some of the design underneath the folded over area like an aluminum foil rubbing. The design under the area where the flap originated from normally shows detail like this. It is just a lamination that got folded over. It should be noted that the “die” is not laminated — the planchet is. Any lamination or cracks in the die itself would show raised on the struck coin and would not be flaking or loose on the coin. That is not the case here. The recessed area above STATES that you ask about is where laminated metal fell away. It is not uncommon on larger laminations like this to have areas that are retained and other areas where the lamination has fallen away either before or after the strike. Circulated examples with a hinged area often get pulled up and folded over as we see here. Areas where we see fully formed letters of STATES encroaching into the recessed area missing metal seem to have been retained due to planchet metal being forced up into the die to create the letters and perhaps being compressed enough to hold them all together.
I hope that helps!
A: #2 The only thing I would add is to explain that a (die) crack is a raised line of coin metal, while this is a crack into the coin metal. I “think” he has the two confused. The edge of that layer that is folded back is one side of a very shallow planchet crack. Some laminations start with a crack and some “slide” into the coin at a flat angle, without leaving an edge, like cutting a shaving off a piece of wood. -Alan Herbert
A: #3 Ken, I think you covered it in greater detail than I could have. I would have nothing to add, and believe your answer tells Kenneth exactly what he has. As to value, it’s only been with the advent of Ebay that these bring any money. (Before then, it might be worth a buck or two at the most). I’d guess that based on what I see happen sometimes on Ebay, his coin would bring somewhere between $5-$10 (!!), to the right interested bidder, should Kenneth want to sell it. -Fred Weinberg
A: #4 The whole area laminated before striking but only a portion of the flap stayed, then bent over and was then die struck. The missing metal on the area that shows itself as being struck does not appear striated or irregular on its surface area in the photo, thus proving this portion was already missing metal when struck and the bent over piece is showing the top of the C and the rest of the e on it’s surface in an upright position. The wheat top is shallow or weak due to lack of metal (before striking) while the middle portion of cent is higher up thus receiving the die striking better. The loose metal had been sticking up or diagonally raised up and then the die came onto it, it would look as it does, mangled or that area next to the O that is double bent might have been re bent over and mangled more from circulation. If the metal were struck and then bent over after striking it would have had a backwards impression if whatever part of the die that had struck it before it bent over. Actually the wheat would have shown from the backside of the flap had the flap been down before striking so this proves it had already bent over before striking. -Neil Osina
A: #5 I figured circulation wear of the flap from being up high on the reverse would have degraded the reversed image from the underside of the flap while at the same time impressed or embossed the underling image into the flap like you can emboss an image into aluminum foil. Part of the reason I believe this is because the portions of the letters effected are weaker on the flap where you’d think they could be just as strong or stronger if from the strike. -Ken Potter
A #6 By having been bent over for so long the flap gets more wear as it was higher off surface. -Neil Osina
A: #7 It is just a folded over lamination flap. Folded over after the strike. In this specimen one must remember that the coin circulated for quite some time. A very thin flap of metal that folded over after the strike would, over time, mold itself to the underlying design. That, in my opinion, is why you see the tip of the “C” and the middle of the “E”.
If the flap had folded over before the strike, the letter details would probably be much clearer than what you see here. Note how vague the part of the E that passes over the flap is compared to the parts that lie above and below it. Also the flap would probably be flush with the surrounding metal, instead of lying loosely on top of it.
The weakness of the left wheat ear could just as easily be ascribed to metal peeling up after the strike as to weakness of the strike in a thinned area of the coin. The fact that there is apparently a “step-down” from the normal surface makes it seem more likely that the flap folded over after the strike. Striations aren’t always clearly visible in such errors, especially when there is a relatively small area involved.
Can I completely exclude folding over before the strike? No, at least not without examining the specimen personally. -Mike Diamond
A: #8 We could all be correct on this worn a coin but the wheat top needs to show backwards on the flap which would not have worn away since it would not have been raised is only differing point. However if as I say laminated before striking, perhaps the area where top of wheat is would have been too low down to get struck onto flap, an generally laminations are rougher on the surface when peeling up after being struck but wear here could have hidden roughness. I realize I might be compromising myself but I will still stick to my original thoughts about it. -Neil Osina
A: #9 Guys, this one is a tough call. Could be pre-strike or post-strike folding over. There are features that favor both scenarios. A detailed examination under a microscope would be necessary to nail it down. -Mike Diamond.
A: #10 I can see myself leaning either way depending on what I saw on the actual coin. Thanks! -Ken Potter