What is so special about the 2020 double die penny? First of all, you can’t get one just because it is in circulation. It’s a major rarity, which can fetch five-figure prices. The double die design features the bust of Abraham Lincoln with the word LIBERTY to the left of his portrait, and the words ONE CENT, UNITED STATES, and CHANGE in the right corner.
The double die is most noticeable on the obverse of the coin. This is the only doubled die known to numismatists. The doubling is most noticeable around the ribbon and banner carrying the words “In God We Trust.” A single example of the obverse of the coin, graded AU58, sold for $1,955 in an auction in 2012. The obverse is not affected, with the exception of the dies in the eyelid of Thomas Jefferson. The Bison Reverse Nickel, graded AU58, shows a slight doubling in other devices.
The doubled die is often confused with a “Poor Man’s Doubled Die” cent. This cent was produced through a process called die deterioration doubling. It occurs when a worn die doubles the design. While the design is still doubled on this penny, it is rarer and less expensive than a “doubled die” cent. It’s worth just a few dollars. However, it’s always good to know that the coin has an additional doubling.
An error penny is a one-cent coin with a flaw in its composition. Such a coin can contain an error, such as a broadstrike, off-center coins, or an edge crack. Double-die Lincoln cents are not technically errors, but they’re in a category called varieties. They are not technically errors, but they do have some distinctive characteristics. It’s a good idea to study all of your coins and pay special attention to those that look a little different from what you’re used to seeing.
Error coinage is an extremely vast subject. To learn more, visit a reputable reference guide or educational website. The Combined Organization of Numismatic Error Collectors of America is a great place to start. A guide written by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton is an excellent choice for anyone interested in rare die varieties. In addition to the Whitman “Red Book” Guidebook, it’s a great source of information.