Category IV - Die Errors - Concentric Lathe Marks (Lines)

Lathe Lines
By Jason Cuvelier

Over the past several years there have been various reports by collectors of having found Lincoln cents with raised concentric lines (marks) on the obverse or reverse face of US coinage. First identified on 1996D Lincoln cents, what was frequently observed were soft concentric lines that became stronger toward the perimeter of the coin, yet did not go into the devices. On the reverses of various dated Lincoln cents, the lines are thinner, tend to be stronger in the middle and do go into the devices. While the the lone Jefferson nickel has thicker lines which resemble the appearance of the '96D lines yet go into the devices.

Ken Potter, of CONECA, has stated that he had a conversation with a Philadelphia Mint spokesmen about the occurrence of these coins (K. Potter CONECA website),”…[the Mint Spokesman] suspected that they probably had not polished the die blanks sufficiently to remove all the lathe lines.  The lines were created when the die blank was machined from a cylinder of steel according to him and we can presume that if this is accurate, that the hubbing process did not eliminate them completely.”

To clarify, dies are made from steel rods called Blanks, in the process of preparation the rods they are lathed into a conical shape of approximately 22°. Apparently, after reaching the desired shape, they are furthered polished to remove evidence of their formation. As hypothesized, the lines were inadequately removed from a number of different dies. After being hubbed, some of the lines remained. To the left is a drawing of a die-blank.

As there was no specific documentation of dies for coinage with Lathe Lines available, it was suggested that they be documented. Having acquired or borrowing several others from various collectors, a number of dies have thus been identified labeled with the Date, MM, denomination and listing number (e.g., 1996D #C LL 00#); if it ends with an "R", it is a reverse die; they are numbered 001 and onward by year as identified.

I am actively searching for new coins with Lathe Lines - see my SUBMISSIONS page for details on sending examples for inclusion to this site.

The LINKS below have photo collages and die markers for dies identified.

Lincoln Cent Files:

1959D 1c LL-001R

1961D 1c LL-001R

1964D 1c LL-001

1964 1c LL-001R

1964 1c LL-002R

1982D 50CWash LL-001 (NEW)

1985P 1C LL-001R

1988 1C LL-001R

1989P 1C LL-001R

1990 1C LL-001

1991 1C LL-001

1990P 1C LL-001R

1993D 1c LL-001R

1996D LL-001

1996D LL-002

1996D LL-003

1996D LL-004

1996D LL-005

1996D LL-006

1996D 1C LL-007 MDS

1996D 1C LL-007 LDS

1996D 1C LL-008

1996D 1C LL-009R

1996D 1C LL-010

1996D 1C LL-011

1996D 1C LL-012 MDS

1996D 1C LL-012 LMDS

1996D 1C LL-012 LDS

1996D 1C LL-013

1996D 1C LL-014

1996D 1C LL-015

1996D 1c LL-017R

1996D 1c LL-018R

1996D 1C LL-016

2009 (PR) 1C LL-001R

2010 1C LL-001



Higher Denomination Files
(Jefferson & Kennedy):

1988D 5C LL-001R

1990 50c LL-001

2000 5c LL-001

2001 50c LL-001

2008D 5C LL-001R

2008D 5C LL-002R

2008 5C LL-001R

2008 5C LL-002R



Visually Related Errors:

1982 1¢ with circular die scratches

1983 DDR-001 (Obverse scratches)

2006D concentric PMD


The Lincoln cent obverse lines tend to be .02mm wide - the area of coverage runs from 1mm to 3mm. The Lincoln cents reverse lines are closer to .005mm wide and can cove the entire length of the coin. The Jefferson nickel examples and Kennedy are around .03mm wide and were present on most of the coin's reverse.

See images below:


Lincoln Memorial:



1996D (Obverse)
1961D (Reverse)
2010 (Obverse)


Lincoln Memorial Reverse:

1996D (reverse)
2009 (reverse)

Jefferson Nickel Reverse & Obverse:


1990P (Kennedy Obverse)

All images copyright © Jason Cuvelier 2008-12