1916 5C Doubled Die Obverse MS63 NGC. FS-101....
Famous 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Nickel1916 5C Doubled Die Obverse MS63 NGC. FS-101. In CONECA parlance (the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America), the 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo has been described as an example of pivoted hub doubling, where the dual hubbing is rotated about a pivot point near the rim. But a close look at this variety adds substance to a point that group makes on its website (www.conecaonline.org) where it has gotten away from such technical descriptions in favor of the more-generic "hub doubling error" or "doubled die error":
Fabulous MS63 Example of FS-101
Fabulous MS63 Example of FS-101
"In its infancy, the collecting of hub doubled coins, commonly known as 'doubled dies,' centered around the circumstances that produced the various kinds of doubling known. For example, the doubling on some coins appeared all the way around the rim lettering in a clockwise or counter-clockwise fashion. Other coins exhibited doubling on just some of the rim lettering. On other coins, the doubling was directed toward the center or the rim. Still on others the doubling affected only certain design elements. Thus the following classes of hub doubling were proposed, principally by Alan Herbert, to explain these differences. Most hub doubling is now regarded as a hybrid of these classes. It is very difficult with only a coin in hand to logically backtrack and find the cause of its hub doubling. So many things can and do happen in the hubbing process that figuring out exactly what happened in each case may not be possible. Again, the important thing is recognizing the variety as true hub doubling, not in determining to which class of hub doubling it belongs."
On the 1916 Doubled Die Buffalo, the doubling is clearly boldest in the region of the date, appearing to be pivoted hub doubling with the pivot point opposite about 1:30 near the obverse rim, a location at which the doubling is too minute to be perceived.
But something else is going on, as well. The doubling of the date is not of the carbon-copy variety -- not even an off-center carbon copy. The first appearance of the date is of course level on the coin, but the second, doubled occurrence of the date appears to tilt slightly upward from left to right -- an understandable observance, given our comprehension of pivoted hub doubling. What is more difficult to explain, however: On the doubled date, the first 1 is barely visible, with only part of its top showing. Each successive digit shows more detail toward the bottom, with the last 6 nearly complete on the bottom loop.
What happened to cause this phenomenon? The second hub blow appears to have been a glancing one, with planar misalignment between hub and the die it was striking. It is not only the extreme elusiveness of this variety, but its extreme oddness as well, that contributes to its appeal.
This example of the 1916 Doubled Die Obverse nickel must have been certified at least a few years ago, for the label uses the old Fivaz-Stanton number, FS-016. The coin itself is luminous under a mix of light gray and green-gold shadings with occasional glimpses of lavender and violet. It is strongly appealing despite wispy abrasions and a flyspeck to the southeast of the portrait's chin, and the strike is decent, if a trifle soft on the bison's shoulder. An important and rare Mint State survivor of this cherished variant. Census: 4 in 63, 4 finer (2/12).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 2TSS, PCGS# 3931)
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