David Camire explores the numerous variations in the Presidential Dollar Coin series that have appeared in the news lately, and how it will affect NGC's grading.
First, some overview: The new Presidential Dollar Coins were officially released
on February 15th of this year. They are being minted at both the Philadelphia and
Denver mints. The planchets used to make the new dollar coins are of the same composition
(a three-layer clad composition), weight (8.1 grams), diameter (26.5 mm), and thickness
(2mm) as the Sacagawea "Golden" Dollar. Where the coins differ most significantly,
apart from the obvious obverse and reverse design difference, is the edge. On the
Presidential Dollar, some of the requisite legends have been moved to the edge of
the coin (Photo 1a and 1b). The presidential coins are
edge-lettered, with the date and mintmark (photo 1c),
as well as the mottos E PLURIBUS UNUM, and IN GOD WE TRUST. The lettering is applied
after the coins are struck in a separate process, and the edge lettering is attracting
a lot of interest.
1a.) 2007 P George Washington Presidential $1 coin obverse showing edge lettering.
All photos by David J. Camire
1b.) 2007 P George Washington Presidential $1 coin reverse showing edge lettering
1c.) Close-up image of edge lettering showing the date and mintmark
Struck coins are fed into an edge-lettering machine randomly, and thus the orientation
of the edge lettering is also random. These coins can be found with the edge lettering
that can be read either from looking at the edge holding the coin with the obverse
facing up or reverse facing up (Photo 1d). This variation
in obverse lettering is a necessary and intended part of the minting process, and,
unlike coins struck with a lettered edge collar, there is no significance to the
orientation and placement of the lettering.
1d.) Two 2007 P George Washington $1 coins showing opposite edge lettering orientation.
The coin at left shows lettering which can be read with the obverse facing up, while
the coin at left shows edge lettering which can be read with the obverse facing
What if the coins were to inadvertently bypass or miss the edge-lettering stage
of the minting process? The resulting coins would simply have a plain edge, the
same as a Sacagawea dollar (Photo 2a). This does pose
an interesting problem. The coins are not only missing the mottos E PLURIBUS UNUM
and IN GOD WE TRUST; they are also missing the date and mintmark. (Photo
2b) Washington dollar coins missing the edge lettering are being
found in rolls minted at both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints.
2a.) A George Washington Presidential $1 coin missing edge lettering
2b.) Close-up of the edge of a George Washington Presidential $1 coin missing edge
Aside from missing the edge lettering, other edge letter anomalies are being discovered,
including partial and multiple edge lettering. For example, this pictured 2007 P
Washington dollar is missing the words E PLURIBUS UNUM (Photo 3a).
The coin apparently became partially jammed (note the two edge marks Photo
3b, 3c) before exiting the machine, resulting in only a partial
design transfer. NGC will certify and attribute partial and fully missing edge lettering
as well as multiple edge lettering. All coins will be encapsulated in the NGC state-of-the-art
coin EdgeView Holder™ so that the edge error will be visible.
NGC will also grade and authenticate other Presidential dollar errors such as blanks
and planchets (both plain-edge and with edge lettering), die adjustment strikes,
broadstrikes, off-centers, multiple strikes, coins missing clad layer(s), coins
struck on wrong planchets, and major clashed dies, etc. NGC will not
attribute minor errors such as die cracks (Photo 4c),
die chips, minor struck throughs (Photo 4b), minor clashed
dies, minor die damage (Photo 4a), starburst effects,
die polishing, etc.
4c.) Small die cracks, as shown, are not considered mint errors on circulating coinage,
and are not recognized on the certification label by NGC.
4b.) A coin with a small areas struck through grease, as shown, is not significant
enough to be considered a mint error and is not noted on the holder by NGC. Recognized
struck throughs are struck through foreign material and/or missing major design
4a.) Minor die damage visible near Liberty's neck, as shown, is not significant
enough to be considered a mint error and is not noted on the holder by NGC.