2012 Denali State Quarter – It’s not what you’d initially think

Look what this Denali state quarter initially looks like- then think again.

I have quite a few coins scattered in buckets at the location where we store things. On my last visit, I threw a bucket of these coins into my truck and headed home. Last night I was restless so I decided to dig into this bucket and look through a few of these coins. I remove a state quarter that some one had wrote “doubling on EPU”. It’s a 2012 Denali State Quarter to be exact.

I put the coin under the microscope and adjust it until I see the word “UNUM”. This is what I see.

A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential UNUM doubling.
A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential UNUM doubling.

Hummm that looks interesting, does it?

I decided to look around the rest of the coin to see what I could. Although in my mind, these sort of things have been debunked by many an expert as shelf doubling, and I will get back to that in a few.

I move the coin over to EPLUR and look at this area as well.

A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential E PLUR doubling.
A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential E PLUR doubling.

I see something around the PLU, especially the “P”. I decided to deep dive into this coin just for the fun of it and see what kind of photos I could get. Here is a closer photo of “PLU”.

A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential PLU doubling.
A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential PLU doubling.

I wanted to get a closer look at the “UNUM” again. It looked to be the area on the coin which this condition appears to be the best to see. Below is a photo of the “UNUM” area once again.

A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential UNUM doubling.
A 2012 Denali State Quarter showing potential UNUM doubling.

So, it almost ( the key word here) looks like a doubled die. But in the two photos above kind of contradict themselves. In the “PLU” photo, we see some sort of doubling to the north side of the letters. The “NUM” photo directly above, we see doubling at the southern part of the letters. Now thinking logically, this has two possibilities. Either we have a die that was impressed three times, having an impression, then a weaker one to the north and another to the south or, we have mechanical doubling.

Like I said, I dove deep into this coin. I wanted to see what I could all the way up to the maximum magnification I could get to see if there were any additional clues.

When I look at this “U”, all logic pointing towards a mechanical doubling seems to go out the window. I can see a doubling on the “U”. Look at what I labeled “Grain”. I can see lines across the middle part of the “U” and they do not wiggle or falter in any way. Does this prove it to be a doubled die? Or, are these lines simply “skid marks” ? Hold onto that skid mark comment for a few minutes.

A photo of the "U" at the largest Magnification possible.
A photo of the “U” at the largest Magnification possible.

NOTE: One thing I try not to do is move the lighting when I am taking a series of photos at a particular magnification. I do move the coin, and I try to place that coin at the same angle to the lighting as possible. This way a proper comparison can be done. Later if I need other photos, I move whatever I need to move and document the name of the file accordingly.

A photo of the "N" at the largest Magnification possible.
A photo of the “N” at the largest Magnification possible.

Ok, the “N” does not see as strong as the “U”. I do see grain lines on parts of the “N” but they are not as convincing as they were on the “U”. People normally would go back to the drawing board as logic is almost in a chaotic state at this point. Where’s the roller coaster sound effect when you need one?

The second “U” in “UNUM” goes back to the same condition at with the first “U”. It looks pretty convincing.

A photo of the second "U" at the largest Magnification possible.
A photo of the second “U” at the largest Magnification possible.

And lastly, the “M” in “UNUM”. The “M” looks a bit different. I see the doubling equal on both legs of the “M”. But, in the center “v” of the “M”, there is hardly any supposed doubling at all.

A photo of the "M" at the largest Magnification possible.
A photo of the “M” at the largest Magnification possible.

Ok, let’s let the coin out of the bag per se. With some, if not all of the State Quarters, the side that has the date on it the letters and numbers along that shelf like ring around the outter edge are “INCUSED“. What does incused mean for a coin like this? It means that the affect that is applied has the letters and numbers dug into the coin, vice them being raised. One of the neat things about the State Quarters is that they have both.

The side which depicts George Washington has raised letters and the side that depicts the Denali has incused letters.

Many coin professionals and experts believe that this doubling effect is machine doubling. As the letters of the die come in contact with the metal and puncture the surface, that initial force where the die meets planchet causes either the die or the planchet to shift ever so slightly. This would cause some of the letters and numbers to be a little more elongated than others. That is probably called “skidding” for most, then as pressure is applied it finally reaches its proper depth, and then the coin is ejected out to be bagged.

Also remember that this is a mechanical process. Dies are placed in machines by humans. The dies are carefully adjusted to make sure they operate correctly but, you cannot account for the tolerances in the machine behavior nor the inaccurate tolerances of the human eye and hand adjustments as the dies are being placed into the machines.

Typically – in the “Old Days”, a true Doubled Die more than likely will show split serifs or a notching when a doubled die was present. Typically, the old time doubled dies also had the doubling at or near the same height on both impressions of that working die.

This particular coin has the “doubling” almost exactly on top of each other. Also remember the newer way to make working dies is with a single squeeze technique, rather than the old time multiple impressions on a die.

In the case of the coin above, I strongly ( I think, LOL) believe that this is a case if “incused mechanical doubling”.

In this case, I had purchased three bags of Denali state quarters from the US Mint. I have these rolled up and in safe keeping. maybe on my next trip out to the safes, I may take a couple of rolls of the Denali’s out to see if I can locate a few more examples.

Things like this need to be approached logically. Some that are on the edge and might be discovery pieces should be sent in to an expert for examination.

This particular coin is interesting, but since it is incused where the effects have occurred, it’s a pretty good bet it’s mechanical doubling, but will be put back in a new plastic flip and placed in a box . It’s become one of those ” Let’s hold onto to this for a while” coins.