Die Deterioration Doubling:

Here illustrated are examples of Die Deterioration Doubling (DDD) on both modern and older Lincoln cents. This phenomena is often confused as being a Doubled Die (or sometimes as Machine Doubling), both look different. DDD occurs on dies as they age; basically the atoms of metal are slowly forced outward toward the rims and causes a doubling effect on some outside devices. DDD on zinc-clad coins appears somewhat different from that of copper issues presumably as the zinc causes a different kind of wear on the steel of the die face.

Below, Illustration (a), shows a 1989D with DDD south-east (going towards the rim). You can see in the first picture that the date has a ghostly doubled companion, by changing the light (photo 2), one can see the typical orange peel associated with DDD on older Lincolns is present here as well. You can also see that the doubled area is inhabited by strong die flow lines from age. (Also note the mintmark has Split Plating Doubling.) Below for comparison is a 1989P with clear Machine Doubling (MD) and finally a 1989P 1DO-005 with class VI extra thickness in the date.


DDD is very common and adds no premium to the coin. DDD occurred on many, many different dies for each year. For whatever reason it can be found in abundance on coins from the late '30s to late '50s with an abnormal number of dies effected in 1943, 1953 and 1955.

The illustration below shows a 1943P with DDD, also shot twice, once for the doubling effect and the second to show the orange peel character of the surface. Below that is a 1943P DDO-001 with strong class VI extra thickness in the date. Further down is a common LDS example of a 1955P with DDD on the second 5 and also across IGWT (sometimes called a poorman's double die, a misnomer). At the bottom is a 1955P DDO-002 with separation and notching in the word GOD.


The next example is typical DDD on nickels and CLAD coinage. It has a look that varies from something similar to DDD on copper to something similar to MD. It is often on both sides of the device, very irregular and can be found anywhere but most often near the edges of the coin. To new collectors it appears to be die doubling - what's missing though are notches and clear doubling, though it is rather deceiving.

It is suggested that one examine thousands of CLAD coins before trying to discern between Doubled Dies and DDD. [I will later add photos of a doubled die nickel for comparison.]


Illustrated below is a 1937 Lincoln with DDD on the 7, two views of a 1953 with DDD on the 3, and for comparison 1963D DDO-001 with a nicely doubled 3. Notice how the Doubled Die has rounded, distinct doubling vs. the irregular DDD.

Images and text © Jason Cuvelier 2009: www.cuvelier.org