Obverse Die 34
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Obverse die 34 has doubled 18 with the left 1 slightly doubled at the top right, and the left 8 at the top outside, and with a short die chip at the top left inside of the upper loop.
(You can see the coins in our collection by clicking on the VAM link below.)
VAMs Featuring Die 34
53 - Doubled 18
Since VAM 53 - Doubled 18, Pitted Ear has proven to be our most common we think it is appropriate that we start this study there. This VAM uses Obverse Die 34 and so far it is unique to this VAM.
As of this analysis we have 52 examples of VAM 53, and 39 of those are Mint State coins. So there is plenty of material to examine. So far there seems to be only one die crack present on the die in our examples, but this crack exists in different lengths as the crack progressed. Also, this crack is visible down as far as grade AU 53 on some examples outside our study.
In the earliest state for Die 34 there is no crack present. So obviously the absence of a die crack cannot be used to either identify or eliminate Obverse Die 34 from consideration.
There are a number of coins where the die crack appears below the E only or may extend very slightly at the top of the E.
Finally the crack begins to grow and extends beyond the top of the E much further than in the examples above indicating that the crack was becoming more prevalent.
But Then We Found This
Looking at a particular die in this much detail can reveal some facts overlooked in other analyses. Our discovery was that out of the 39 Mint State coins, 5 were lightly clashed. The clashed coins were not grouped by grade and all exhibited the latter state of die crack.
Four of the five coins show signs of stress toward the rim as if the die is starting to fail.
The signs of the clash are faint, but observable and there is a small gouge or other mark on these coins that is lacking on others on the lower hair vee.
And then on one clashed Mint State 65 coin we believe we have both clashing and letter transfer. This one deserves further analysis to see if it is a sub-variety.
In summary, Obverse Die 34 can be identified by its die crack through the E in the Legend. The length of the die crack does advance with wear and ultimately appears with signs of die fatigue.
Since we have only one VAM associated with Die 34 at this point, then it follows that VAM 53 can also be identified by this obverse die crack.