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Near-Mint 1916 Doubled Die Nickel

1916 5C Doubled Die Obverse AU58 NGC. FS-016. The Doubled Die 1916 is the key date to a complete Guide Book collection of Buffalo nickels. It is even tougher than its closest competitor, the 1918/7-D. Both varieties are rare because their significance was not recognized for many years after their production, by which time most survivors were circulated. There was little reason to save a 1916 nickel in Mint State, since its mintage of nearly 63.5 million pieces was the highest of the type aside from the 1936 and 1937. One must wonder how many collectors over the years received an example, noticed the wide die doubling on the date, then spent the piece because the 1916 was a "common date." The variety did not appear in the Guide Book until the 1978 edition. Breen notes in his 1988 Encyclopedia, "Ex. rare. Usually in low grades." As a result, the two leading grading services, NGC and PCGS, have certified a total of just 13 pieces across all Mint State grades, some of which may be resubmissions.
This sharp example shows slight wear on the hipbone, which prevents an Uncirculated grade. The subtle multicolor toning is attractive, and offers lilac, powder-blue, and tan tints. Neither side reveals any reportable marks, and the overall appearance is pleasing. The obverse die doubling is strongest on the 6 in the date, but the other three date digits are also widely doubled, with a lighter impression from the initial hubbing. All three feathers are die doubled at their bases. LIBERTY is not die doubled, since the pivot point for the Class V doubling is within that legend. The absence of die doubling on LIBERTY probably delayed the reporting of the variety for many years, since doubled die varieties were inevitably compared with the 1955 DDO cent, which has dramatic Class I doubling. For Class I, the pivot point is the center of the die, and all peripheral elements exhibit a similar spread. The numismatic science of die varieties greatly advanced during (Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2TSS, PCGS# 3931)

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Auction Dates
April, 2006
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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