1916 Doubled Die Buffalo Nickel, MS64
    Richly Toned With Strong Underlying Mint Luster
    Tied for Finest Known

    1916 5C Doubled Die Obverse MS64 NGC. FS-101. The celebrity of the 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo nickel has intensified over the last few years, the result of a confluence of factors. Increasing numbers of numismatists are turning to the Buffalo nickel series as an attractive and rewarding one. It seems that more and more collectors are competing for the finest Registry Sets, and new set definitions are being introduced that include notable varieties such as the 1916 Doubled Die, the 1918/7-D overdate, the 1937-D Three-Legged Buffalo, and the various Two Feathers issues. And finally, many serious numismatists are learning that for all its fame, the Three-Legged 1937-D is far less elusive in top grades than the 1916 Doubled Die and the 1918/7-D. In fact, the 1916 Doubled Die, judging by the certified populations, is also far more elusive than the 1918/7-D overdate.
    In CONECA terms (the error collectors' organization, Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America), the 1916 Doubled Die is designated "1-O-V-CW from K-12," with "very strong spread on date, chin, throat, feathers, and the tie on the braids." Translated, this means Class V or pivoted hub doubling, clockwise from 12 o'clock. The CONECA website defines this kind of doubling thusly:

    "This coin exhibits hub doubling that occurred as a result of a pivot of the hub or die at or near the rim in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. The doubling spreads out in a fan shape from the pivot point. The strongest doubling is at the rim directly opposite the pivot point."

    We would disagree somewhat with CONECA and say instead that the pivot point on the 1916 Doubled Die is somewhere between 1 and 2 o'clock, since the boldest doubling is opposite on the date at about 7:30, a happy coincidence for this bold variety.
    The authors of The Authoritative Reference on Buffalo Nickels, John Wexler, Ron Pope, and Kevin Flynn, also describe the variety as pivoted hub doubling, which:

    " ... occurs when a die is pivoted about a point near the rim during rehubbing. Because the point of the pivot is near the rim, the spread of doubling will be the strongest at the point directly opposite the pivot point and will decrease as you move away from that point."

    This variety is thus in contrast with an even more-famous Doubled Die, the 1955 Lincoln cent, which is an example of rotated hub doubling, where the hub rotates about a central point. The resulting doubling is therefore strongest at the peripheries of that side.
    Although the Lincoln cent and Buffalo nickel Doubled Die Obverse variants are technically slightly different in their origins, they share an important, indeed crucial similarity -- the boldness of the spread between the two impressions. These varieties require no microscopes or 10x loupes to discern. Both can be seen clearly by the unaided eye, and therein lies much of their attraction to the numismatic community.
    Usually the 1916 Doubled Die is only found in low grades. It is remarkable to see a coin such as this one with softly frosted mint luster and a relatively strong strike. Were it a common issue, this piece would be unremarkable. But because of the absolute and condition rarity of the doubled die, it is tied for the finest known among only seven pieces, all of which grade the same as this piece. Each side displays rich reddish patina with subtle hints of lilac intermixed. Close examination with a loupe reveals a few tiny abrasions, but none stand out as significant enough to be pedigree identifiers. Census: 4 in 64, 0 finer (11/11).
    Ex: Chicago Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 4/2008), lot 196, where it brought a remarkable $276,000.
    From The Teton Ranch Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 2TSS, PCGS# 3931)

    Weight: 5.00 grams

    Metal: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel

    View all of [The Teton Ranch Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2012
    3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
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