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Clashed Denticles or Not
We are sure these have been visible on other coins but we noticed them for the first time in a group of coins sent to LVA for analysis. There has been some discussion on VAMworld about clashed denticles, and of course varying opinions.
We first noticed this feature on coin 31359563 in our LVA submission for December of 2015 that turned out to be a Mint State 63 discovery coin for VAM 65. The appearance is denticles laying half overlapped on their neighbor. Although we were not aware of how this might happen, it looked a lot like the mysterious clashed denticles under discussion.
The picture above is from the coin obverse at about 2 o'clock. So the corresponding impression should be on the reverse at about 4 or 5 o'clock, and they are there.
But adding to the mystery for us is the series of small notches outside and in the rim that are square and indented. These notches line up with the denticle gap on the overlaying denticle impressions. They only appear on the reverse, which may or may not mean anything.
It was LVA's opinion that the impressions in question arose from the ejection process where the obverse die ejected the coin and in the process made contact with adjacent denticles.
This is a feature we have only started to look for, so we have no idea how often it repeats itself, but in just one batch of 9 random coins it appeared 3 times. But then again, the New Orleans Mint was not known for exceptional production quality.
If either the ejection theory, or some other production related mystery is the source then these are not VAM varieties, but they sure are interesting.
The Aging 1D
New Orleans and the Mint in 1881
The Devolving 5
One and Done
Two and Through