1972 PROMOTED COMPOUND-DOUBLED OBVERSE MASTER DIE?
LEAD AUTHOR ROB EZERMAN
Also Ehab Eassa, Brian Vaile, Herb Hicks, Gary Hoop, David Golan and Andy Oskam
Dr. Wiles’ response (5) to the Ike Group’s “Four Questions” (4) included a picture of a 1972-D “DDO-003” obverse as his proof the Mint used a peg leg design in a 1972-D Ike.
Over two weeks, the Ike Group pooled our 1972 Ikes to investigate. Our observations suggest that the “peg leg on serif-R” image on the left leg of the R in LIBERTY seen in Dr. Wiles’ picture is variably but substantially present in all four 1972 NI-clad Ikes, as is tripling and quadrupling in earlier die states(6) of ‘IN GOD WE TRUST” (IGWT) on all four 1972 Ikes; and, quad, quint and even sextuple “doubling” of the upper serif of the “1” in “1972” in early to early-middle die states (MDS) on all four 1972 Ikes.
As one would expect, hub doubling looses definition rapidly as the obverse die ages into and beyond middle die states but there are “Strange Markers” on all 1972 Ikes that persist well into early to middle late die states (LDS) including:
- the non-specific peg-on-serif image,
- double and triple sharp “Ice-Cleat” notching on the end of the R’s right leg,
- subtle notching of the left upper end of both the 2 and the 7,
- exuberant multiple rolls of metal spilling off the 7 (and variably off other devices), and,
- a major “notch” in the crotch of the 7.
Furthermore, although many 1972 Ikes show what looks like Machine Doubling Damage (MDD) on the “7” and the “2”, we found not one “D” mintmark showing a comparable MDD “shelf”.
These and other observations lead us to some speculations:
- Dr. Wiles’ pictured 1972-D “DDO-003”, while interesting, is not “proof” of anything;
- cataloging 1972 Ikes in other than EDS is not without risk;
- the obverse on all four 1972 Ikes was struck either with dies from a single compound-doubled working hub (highly unlikely) or from a new master die created by “promoting” an existing doubled 1972 working die or working hub.
The Ike Group claims no particular expertise in the study of doubled dies. We have, however, gleaned what we could from James Wiles’ excellent “CONECA Attribution Guide to Eisenhower Dollar Die Varieties”(1), from Wexler’s, et al, essential “The Authoritative Reference on Eisenhower Dollars” (Second Edition)(2), and from the detailed Die Variety Master Listings published on the CONECA website(3).
Our driving interest is the Ike series as a whole from the collector’s perspective, not so much its doubled dies and other areas of CONECA expertise, yet some familiarity with microscopic Ike varieties is necessary to understand the series and germane to our research.
In the course of our efforts to better understand Ikes, we came to conclusions that differed from those published by CONECA: we submitted for publication in ErrorScope “Four Questions” that respectfully presented four of those differences(4). One of our four questions conveyed our opinion that all of the NI-clad peg leg Ikes are die-states and not the purposeful Obverse Design Varieties listed in “Variety Vista”(7), that the clad peg legs are the product of die abrasion used to “repair” clashed dies.
In his response(5) to our “Four Questions” ErrorScope article , Dr. Wiles included a picture of Tim Wissert’s 1972-D “DDO-003”, calling it a Peg Leg on Serif-R Class III hub doubling, and offered it as proof that the US Mint had Peg Leg dies on hand and direct evidence that a peg leg Ike was produced in 1972.
Dr. Wiles wrote in his response:
“For 1972 I have 1 Philadelphia die and 3 Denver peg leg dies catalogued. All with the full peg leg. Since the 1972-S is a full peg leg by design, we know that these dies abound. Again it is only reasonable to assume that a few of them found their way into the clad production cycle at Philadelphia and Denver, rather than the silver production cycle at San Francisco.
In addition to these I have catalogued a 1972-D which clearly shows a class III doubled die with one design from the serif R and one design from the peg leg R. This not only proves that the peg leg is a distinct design, but that it could have been and indeed was used to produce clad coinage in 1972.”
The Ike Group was intrigued so we looked up what has been published on the 1972-D Varieties:
- Wexler, et al (2), lists one 1972 doubled die, a “1972-D DDO-001 Class II, Distorted Hub Doubling, with tripling seen in IGWT and the 1 of the date and doubling on LIBERTY and 972”.
- CONECA’s Eisenhower Variety Master Listing (3) details four 1972 DDO’s and three 1972-D DDO’s, none of which are noted in EDS and which are based on a listed population of 16 specimens: http://www.conecaonline.org/content/eisenhowerdoubleddies.html#_1972 .
CONECA’s three1972-D DDO listings seemed similar one to the other and to Wexler’s single 1972-D DDO listing.
Even the 1972 DDO CONECA listings seemed similar to the 1972-D DDO listings.
With our curiosity aroused, the Ike Group first explored our stores of 1972-D Ikes and then all of our NI-Clad 1972 Ikes. Here’s what we found.
1. The peg-on-serif image, in various degrees of completeness, is the dominant and quite possibly the sole presentation of the R on all 1972 NI-Clad Ikes (the Denver and the three Philadelphian Mint 1972 Ikes).
2. In EDS, the 1972 Ikes share the same doubled/tripled/quad/quint features on IGWT (FIGURE 2a).
As the dies age well into Middle Die State, the tripling mushes out. Beyond MDS any residual doubling fades into the slide of metal pulled off the minor devices by die erosion (FIGURE 2b).
3. In all but advanced Late Die States, we find the same “Strange Markers” on all 1972 NI-clad Ikes (FIGURE 3):
- Peg Leg on Serif image (FIGURE 1),
- Doubled sharp notching on the end of the R’s right leg (“Ice Cleat” notching) (also in FIGURE 1),
- Small, round “notch” on the upper left end of both the “2” and the “7”, notably in the bottom of two layers on the “2” in earlier die states; and, a huge angular “notch” at the crotch of the “7”.
- Cascading “rolls” of nickel spilling off some letter and number devices, most noticeably the “7”, in directions unrelated to any looks-like-MDD smearing of the 7 (see 4. below).
We call these “strange markers” because we can not explain them and because they usually survive well into middle Late Die States.
4. Most of the 1972 Ikes we studied seem subject to some degree of lateral smear that looks like MDD, limited mostly to the 2 and 7, and mostly North and South. Curiously, among our one hundred fifty plus 1972-D NI-Clad Ikes we have not one example of obvious North-South “slid-over”, shelf-forming” classic-MDD “D” mint marks. The authors are therefore using “MDD-like” to describe the appearance of the two 7’s below.
5. One of the more interesting microscope features in these clad 1972 Ikes in early die states is the upper serif of the number “1”. Although often times not apparent upon straight-on examination, adjusting the angle of lighting and tilt of the specimen always reveals strong tripling, and usually quad, quint, even sextupled “doubling” (FIGURE 5A) which can be as spectacular to see under a microscope as it is challenging to photograph. Check out the remarkable sextupling in the upper right photo in FIGURE 5A (just include the faint upper “high line” that is more easily seen in a different 1972-D but the same die, in the upper left hand photo, shot at a slightly different angle).
We are fascinated by the 1972 NI-Clad Ike’s multi-hubbed images. Such multiplicity of images is certainly not a common sight on NI-Clad Ikes. A similar but more generalized pattern can be found on classic-era coins subject to Class II multiply-hubbed doubling, as Wexler, et al, noted: of interest, their one listed 1972 DDO 1972 is a “Class II” (2).
As the dies age through MDS, the discrete multiple lines on the serif of the “1” seem to coalesce through complex patterns into the typical “grinning dog” image, with or without one or two smaller grin lines below the main one. In later LDS, however, even the main residual “grin line” becomes obscured.
FIGURE 5a shows the upper serif of “1” on four 1972-D’s in EDS, then a 1972-D in MDS and then a 1972-D in early LDS.
FIGURE 5b, below, shows an early MDS pair of 1972 Type 1’s, Type 2’s and Type 3 Ikes.
6. Since Dr. Wiles states his 1972-D Class III DDO is a Peg Leg Variety double hubbed with a Serif-R Variety, and because the one known peg leg design readily available to the Mint for the 1972 clad Ikes was the high relief design used for the 1972-S Silver Ikes, the authors compared that high relief peg leg design with the serif-R low relief design to see if there might be specific problem areas if the two designs were “married” in a Class III doubled hubbing. Beside their different “R”, we found one possibly significant difference, the “S” in “TRUST”, pictured below (FIGURE 6).
Note the serif on the low relief “S” is not present on the high relief “S”. Yet that serif, now substantially fattened by its quadrupling-plus on this 1972-D, persists with no indication of any superimposed image from the high-relief S.
7. We examined roughly 200 1972 specimens in the course of this investigation, including some 150 1972-D’s, and found almost half the Denver’s showed evidence of die clash (clash images or die abrasions in clash-image locations on obverse or reverse). The percentage with clash increased in older die states, certainly no surprise. As expected, die clashes were seen infrequently on Philadelphia Ikes.
Of these 150 1972-D’s, we found only one obvious same-die pair and one set of three. We estimate that the majority of our 150 came from different obverse dies.
The authors abandoned looking for same-die examples as well as looking for die pairings since so many of these 1972-D Ikes had different die-clash repair abrasion patterns and numerous examples had mis-matched dies, one side showing clash and the other not.
8. Lastly, we present photographs of an interesting 1972-S Peg Leg (high-relief) ODV Business Strike Silver Ike with clear evidence of both doubling and true MDD which in combination seem to create an almost “peg-on-serif-R” image (FIGURE 7). We like this Silver Ike both for comic relief and for whatever clues it may provide to help eventually understand the 1972 NI-clad Ike “Strange Marker” images including its peg-on-serif (FIGURES 1 and 3).
1972-S “HYBRID” HIGH RELIEF BS SILVER IKE WITH BOTH HEALTHY HUB DOUBLING and MDD. IT IS INTERESTING TO COMPARE ITS FEATURES WITH THE LOW RELIEF PEG-ON-SERIF 1972 NI-CLAD IKES. NOTICE, FOR EXAMPLE, HOW THE HUB DOUBLING AND MACHINE DAMAGE SEEM TO CONSPIRE TO FORM A FALSE “FOOT” AND THE BEGINNINGS OF A “PEG-ON-SERIF-R” ON THE “R” OF “TRUST” (BOTTOM RIGHT). AND CHECK OUT THE LAYERING AND “NOTCHING” ON THE LEFT END OF THE 2 (MIDDLE TWO PICTURES).
A FEW QUESTIONS
The Ike Group humbly offers the following exploratory questions:
1. The 1972 NI-clad Ike obverses show tripling (and quad, quint and sextupling) in early die states, doubling in middle die states and “strange markers” including “peg-on-serif” imagery, “ice cleats” and a strange “7” on all but later die states. Is it possible that the common1972 NI-Clad Ikes, Wexler’s 1972-D Class II DDO, and Dr. Wiles’ 1972 (P) and (D) DDO’s all carry the same obverse, just in different die ages and with or without a “D” mint mark?
2. If we are correct that the “peg-on-serif-R” image is present across all CuNi-clad 1972’s, is it likely that even the impressive photograph of Tim Wissert’s 1972-D “DDO-003” may not be reliable evidence of Peg Leg ODV on Serif-R ODV Class III hub doubling?
3. Is the case for the “DDO-003” being a Class III ODV Peg Leg on ODV Serif-R doubled hubbing further weakened since the only known low relief peg leg ODV dies are the two low relief ODV BS 1971-S Fading Peg Leg(8)(9) and the single die low relief ODV BS Straight Peg Leg, all three of which were used to mint the business strike 1971-S Silver Peg Legs (meaning the obverse working hubs would have been dated 1971)?
4. The US Mint did have on hand high relief ODV Peg Leg 1972 dies and hubs for the 1972-S BS and Proof Silver Ikes. While there are rare precedents in other series, is it not somewhat of a stretch that the 1972-D “DDO-003” was double hubbed from a high relief ODV Peg Leg hub and a low relief ODV serif-R hub? Are there not other specific differences between these two designs that would have manifested or caused problems (like the different “S” in “TRUST”)?
5. A reasonable test of our thinking is whether or not Tim Wissert’s “DDO-003” has the other “strange markers” that appear on our 1972 specimens. This would help rule out the possibility that the Philadelphia Mint purposefully or accidentally created a single Class III working hub or die responsible for Tim’s specimen. In this regard, may we point out the “Strange Marker” “Ice Cleats” notching on the end of the right leg of the “R” in Dr. Wiles’ photo?
SHEER SPECULATION (pun intended)
The Ike Group has had a thrilling voyage of discovery in the course of the two weeks we spent in research and writing early drafts of this article but we were respectfully aware of the life-time of research and writings of Wexler, et al and of Dr. Wiles as we ran head-long into confounding un-knowns that defeated our initial efforts to explain the 1972 Ikes. Until Herb Hicks suggested promotional hubbing.
Let’s start from the assumption that we are discussing one obverse design on all 1972 CuNi-clad Ikes, an obverse that includes sextuple doubling and the “Strange Markers” depicted in this article. Additionally, we’ll assume that more than one working hub was used to mint all 168,000,000 circulation 1972 Ikes, meaning that all the features of the 1972 Ikes were present on the up-line 1972 master die.
Since the “2” shares Strange Markers with the R and the 7, we can say with authority that any class of doubling to the master die is out as a sole explanation for the 1972 Ikes: the “2” (and possibly the “7”) would be pristine on the master die having been newly carved. While an individual working hub could be doubled, including the “2” and the “7”, it is most unlikely they all would be doubled in exactly the same manner.
This leaves the authors with just one explanation to offer, an unusual class of hubbing, “up-line” hubbing (“promotion hubbing”) of a 1972 working hub or working die, promoting the hub or die to a new master die.
Such up-line hubbing, though uncommon, has been documented in other series, including modern quarters.
The Ike Group suggests it is possible that the bizarre features and sextuple doubling of the 1972 Ikes could have occurred from compounded doubling during the “promotion” phase. Such doubling would account for the unusual “2” (and possibly the 7?) on the master die that was then replicated downstream into working hubs and working dies. If a 1972 working hub was promoted to master hub, then that working hub was already doubled.
Why the need for a new 1972 master die? Perhaps the original 1972 master die was made of the experimental more resilient die steel that was introduced in 1972, and maybe it cracked up? (the new tool steel promised great improvements over the tool steel used for all 1971 Ikes but it proved difficult to handle: for much of 1972, exploratory use resulted in some premature die failures from catastrophic die cracking, just more chaos Gasparro had to deal with).
The only other explanation for the 1972 Ikes we could come up with is a normal-progression but compound-doubled single working hub used to hub all 1972 Ike dies, but this is a big stretch.
1. Wiles, James, Ph.D. CONECA Attribution Guide to Eisenhower Dollar Die Varieties, 1997
2. Wexler, John, Bill Crawford and Kevin Flynn. The Authoritative Reference on Eisenhower Dollars, 2nd edition, 2007.
3. CONECA, Eisenhower Variety Master Listing, http://www.conecaonline.org/content/eisenhowerdoubleddies.html
4. Ezerman, et al, “Four Ike Questions”, ErrorScope Vol 17 No1 (Jan/Feb 2008), pages 27-29
5. Wiles, James, Ph. D., “Reply to Four Questions”, ibid
6. There is no published account providing series-specific insight or boundaries for Ike “die states”. Even the master of die states, Del Romines, did not study Ikes. While the Ike Group plans to rectify this situation, for now we use “Early Die State” (EDS), “Middle Die State’ (MDS), and “Late Die State”(LDS) roughly as Romines laid out for the smaller coins, accounting roughly for 1-3%, 3-20%, and 20-100% of the typical 1972 Ike die’s production respectively. Yes indeed, all dies rip through their early states in a hurry and we think Ike dies may have torn through their early states even faster.
7. Dr. Wiles’ “Variety Vista” listings on CONECA’s Web Site, http://www.varietyvista.com/
8. Ezerman, et al, “A Report on a second BS 1971-S Silver Ike Fading Peg Leg die”, in progress.
9. Ezerman, et al, “Silver Peg Leg Ikes”, The Numismatist, Jan ’08, Pages 48-53.
10. Photos of the “R”s were taken with lighting adjusted to bring out “peg-on-R” image. Photos of doubling were taken with whatever angling of the coin best brought out the doubling. Photos in Groupings received identical lighting and were taken flat with identical lighting. None of the photos were re-touched or otherwise manipulated. Lighting: LED ring light augmented with two LED goose neck spots.