The 1955 “Poor Man’s” double die Lincoln cent

Larry C. writes: In the 1960’s I bought a Lincoln Cent from a Coin dealer in Evansville, Ind. It was called a “poor man’s double die”. It is a 1955 and you can only see the double strike with a good magnifying glass. I think I gave a dollar for it. Do you have any information on this coin and any idea of it’s value today. It is in very good condition. Thank You, Larry

Minor die doubling is fairly common since the working die was struck multiple times from the master hub. There was always the chance that the die being prepared might rotate slightly before receiving additional blows from the master hub. Current die preparation techniques, unfortunately for us devotees, have mostly eliminated double dies.

All coins struck from a doubled die are exactly the same. The die used to strike the famous 1955 double die Lincoln cent was extremely rotated and that was the cause of the quite unusual 1955 cent example. The “Poor Man’s” double die is from another die with a more common minor rotation. These are not particularly valuable (about $1 in average circulated condition) but they still are a source of pleasure for those that enjoy studying die variations.