Years Cents Show Double Die
By Ken Potter
John Horengic of
Maryland was the first collector to report to me
one of the new Formative Years commemorative
Lincoln cents with a doubled-die reverse, and I
am now aware of three different ones. In typical
fashion as most doubled dies found dated since
the late 1990s, the three exhibit a centralized
type of doubling restricted to designs in or
near the center of the coin.
On Horengic's coin, doubling shows on the top
edge of the book Lincoln is reading, his left
index and middle fingers. The doubling of the
book shows as the lowest section of the top edge
displaced diagonally crossing over the normal
sections. The forward portion of the index
finger is displaced up to where it is just below
the thumb (making it appear to be a doubled
thumb - which it technically is not though it
will undoubtedly be referred to anyway) while a
tiny portion of the middle finger is just below.
Horengic sent in two stages of this coin and
while some of the die markers varied from coin
to coin, I found at least two areas containing
markers that were consistent to both stages.
There is a diagonal die scratch running from
just below "E" of UNITED down toward the upper
right leg of the "N" of CENT. Numerous other die
scratches show throughout ONE CENT with two of
the most prominent running down to the SE from
the "E" of ONE.
I have listed this one in the Variety Coin
Register for the date, Mint, denomination and
type as 2009-P 1c FY VCR#1/DDR#1.
Bob Piazza, a variety coin lister for
Coppercoins.com, reported two other doubled-die
reverses for this coin for which he sent
high-resolution images. He found them looking
through rolls. His first coin shows doubling of
an essentially complete, though slightly thinned
out, left index finger displaced onto the front
cover of the book positioned just about dead
center between the normal index finger and the
thumb. He lists in the coppercoins files as
2009P-1DR-002 (this is the first doubled die he
has listed for the Formative Years type but he
lists it as No.2 because he has one listed for
the Birthplace design).
His second find shows as a portion of the lower
finger doubled right above the normal index
finger. He lists this one as 2009P-1DR-003.
Piazza also provided the image of a normal cent
for comparison. I'd like to thank him for taking
the trouble to reshoot these doubled dies in a
resolution needed for the printed media and
sharing them with us.
It is unknown as to whether any of these finds
were from Mint issued rolls or those dispersed
The Formative Years cent is the second of four
designs planned for 2009 to commemorate Abraham
Lincoln's 200th birthday and the 100th
anniversary of the first Lincoln cent produced
in 1909. The reverse, designed and sculpted by
U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers,
depicts a young Lincoln reading while taking a
break from working as a rail splitter in
The cause of the doubling on these cents is
thought to be the result of Tilted Hub Doubling.
In earlier reports that I have made on many of
the modern centralized doubled dies that I've
covered in these pages over the years I
described the effect as follows:
Tilted Hub Doubling restricted to such a small
area of design within the center region of the
die is possible due to the result of either of
two related scenarios.
1) The hub is backed off after the initial kiss
of the hub into a tilted die blank and is then
reset properly and hubbed again.
2) The hub and die blank are tilted in relation
to each other and are then forced to seat into
proper position by hubbing pressure within a
split second after the initial kiss of the hub
into the tip of the die blank.
The face of a die blank (referred to as a "die
block" in Mint jargon) is machined with a
slightly conical configuration to aid in the
flow of metal during hubbing. This would
indicate that the initial kiss of a hub into a
die blank would be restricted to this
centralized area before continuing on to fill
out the rest of the design. During this process
the tip of a tilted die blank would be
positioned slightly off location away from the
center of the hub into a different area of
design than intended and thus the misplaced area
of doubling on the affected die.
With these and other doubled dies reported in
recent years we are well into the single-squeeze
hubbing era so researchers feel that the
doubling would have most likely occurred via the
second scenario described above, when a tilted
hub/die seated into proper position within the
single squeeze of the hub. As the name implies,
the single-squeeze hubbing procedure, impresses
a complete design into a die with just one pass
of the hub.