Obverse 1a: Strike Doubled Date and Stars, High Date, Slight Downward Slope
Reverse A.2: Polished Die, Large O, [mm C,H,TL4], Shattered Die
Obverse 1a Reverse A.2
Obverse Diagnostic Point(s) Reverse Diagnostic Point(s)
Comments: This variety required considerable research to formulate an opinion on the source of the date doubling. Ahwash indicates "The entire date has been doubled struck to the right and very slightly up". Greer comments that, "Faint repunching shows directly to the left of each final digit".
Obverse 1, as presented above, exhibits doubling on both the date and the stars. Stars 11 through 13 are strongly doubled north. There are no signs of obverse doubling on Liberty. After finding examples of Obverse 1 that DO NOT show date doubling (Variety 101a), I conclude that the doubling seen on this variety is strike doubling. Reverse A appears to be in a later die state with significant amount of die cracking.
Further study of Reverse A revealed weak letters in the legend especially those within AMERICA. This observations suggests that Reverse A could have been polished and cracked immediately after re-entering production due to the lack of specimens that exhibit progress die cracking. All Reverse A examples seen are cracked as per the plate coin.
July 2012 Update - Dr. Tim Cook carefully considered the above comments concerning the possibility that Reverse A die had been polished prior to exhibiting reverse die cracks. Tim located a Reverse A example in an earlier die state that is unpolished and only has the die crack through the foot of AMERIC(A). Tim's discovery caused the re-ordering of the 1857-O Variety 101 die sequencing and attributions. As a result, 1857-O Variety 101a is renumbered as Variety 101b to properly reflect the strike doubling on a polished obverse die.
This complex variety is included in the Top 100 Varieties set with strike doubling on the obverse and illustrated die cracks on the reverse being necessary for listing in the set.
Plate Coin: G. Fortin Collection, PCGS AU55
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