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The wavy step or trails error is a die error that is found on some United States minted coins beginning in 1986. The anomaly occurs during the die making by the single-squeeze hubbing process.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
While the exact cause of "trails/wavy steps" is not known, it is believed to be caused by movement of the die against the hub during the single squeeze hubbing process. Similarities exist between this anomaly and the doubled die, however, the major difference is that a doubled die is a duplication of a design element, while a "trail" die is an extension of a design element.
In 1986 The Annual Report of the Director of the Mint for financial year 1986, states that the mint had been experimenting with a new single-squeeze hubbing system. In the year 1996, the mint announced at the opening of the Denver Mint's die shop that the cent, nickel, and dime dies would be made from this process. It took until 1999 to include the rest of the denominational coins' dies to be produced by this method.
Hubbing is a metalworking process that is used to make dies. It is a cold-working process, which means that it occurs well below the melting temperature of the metal being worked.
The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint that struck its first coins on February 1, 1906. The mint is still operating and producing coins for circulation, as well as mint sets and commemorative coins. Coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark. The Denver Mint is the single largest producer of coins in the world..
A nickel, in American usage, is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is .835 inches and its thickness is .077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2015, over 1.5 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.
While the purpose of the single-squeeze hubbing process's creation was to entirely eliminate the doubled die error, not only has it failed to do so, but also it has produced this die anomaly whose properties are similar in nature. This anomaly, known as "wavy steps" or "trails", is considered a variety type error since it is found on every coin that the particular affected die produces.
Doubled die is a term in numismatics used to refer to doubling in the design elements of a coin. Doubled dies can appear as an outline of the design or in extreme cases, having legends and dates appear twice in an overlapping fashion.
The die anomaly, "trails", began to occur in the year 1986, shortly after the mint began experimenting with the single-squeeze hubbing process and persists even to this year, 2011. To date, over 1,200 examples of dies affected with this anomaly have been found on cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars.
The first wavy step die was discovered in 1995 on a 1994 Lincoln cent from the Philadelphia mint. It was not until 2003 that this die variety gained popularity when another die, a 2003 Lincoln cent, was discovered and written about in Coin World magazine. It was only a matter of time that more and more of these varieties began to be uncovered. It wasn't until the year 2003 that the name "wavy steps" was affixed to this anomaly.
The Lincoln cent is a one-cent coin that has been struck by the United States Mint since 1909. The obverse or heads side was designed by Victor David Brenner, as was the original reverse. The coin has seen several reverse, or tails, designs and now bears one by Lyndall Bass depicting a Union shield. All coins struck by the United States government with a value of 1/100 of a dollar are called cents because the United States has always minted coins using decimals. The penny nickname is a carryover from the coins struck in England, which went to decimals for coins in 1971.
The Philadelphia Mint was created from the need to establish a national identity and the needs of commerce in the United States. This led the Founding Fathers of the United States to make an establishment of a continental national mint, a main priority after the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.
The phrase "trail" die was first thought of in the year 2000, when Ken Potter observed lines trailing off some of the design elements of a wavy step die. Comparison of other dies that carried both "wavy steps" and "trails" showed that the lines from both anomalies traveled in the same exact direction. From this, it was ascertained that these anomalies were one and the same thing with the only difference being the direction that the lines took.
The United States one-cent coin, often called the penny, is a unit of currency equaling one one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is ¢. Its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 to 2008, the reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial. Four different reverse designs in 2009 honored Lincoln's 200th birthday and a new, "permanent" reverse – the Union Shield – was introduced in 2010. The coin is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm) in diameter and 0.0598 inches (1.52 mm) in thickness. Its weight has varied, depending upon the composition of metals used in its production.
1943 steel cents are U.S. one-cent coins that were struck in steel due to wartime shortages of copper. The Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints each produced these 1943 Lincoln cents. The unique composition of the coin has led to various nicknames, such as wartime cent, steel war penny, and steelie. The 1943 steel cent features the same Victor David Brenner design for the Lincoln cent which had been in use since the first in 1909.
Mint-made errors are errors in a coin made by the mint during the minting process. Groups of coins with distinctive characteristics are known as varieties. The term variety applies to coins with both intended and unintended differences while the term error refers only to coins with unintended differences. Nevertheless, not all errors are varieties. Although there may be many identical examples of a some errors, others are unique. For example, there may be many indistinguishable examples of coins with a specific die crack, while off-center strikes tend to be unique. Being unique does not mean that an error is valuable. Although no other coin may be similar to a coin with an off-center strike, off-center strikes happen often enough that buyers can choose from many examples each of which varies slightly from the other.
Die deterioration doubling (DDD) is an extremely common form of mint-made error on many United States and Canadian coins that results from degradation of the die used to strike the coin.
The United States Mint is a unit of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.
The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation, being .705 inch (17.91 mm) in diameter and .053 inch (1.35 mm) in thickness. The obverse of the coin depicts the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the reverse boasts an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch, from left to right respectively. As of 2011, the dime coin cost 5.65 cents to produce.
Proof coinage refers to special early samples of a coin issue, historically made for checking the dies and for archival purposes, but nowadays often struck in greater numbers specially for coin collectors (numismatists). Nearly all countries have issued proof coinage.
The 1955 doubled die cent is a die variety that occurred during production of the one cent coin at the United States Mint in 1955.
In Canada, a dime is a coin worth ten cents. It has been the physically smallest Canadian coin since 1922, smaller even than the penny despite its higher face value. According to the Royal Canadian Mint, the official national term of the coin is the 10-cent piece, but in practice, the term dime predominates in English-speaking Canada. It is nearly identical in size to the American dime, but unlike its counterpart, the Canadian dime is magnetic due to a distinct metal composition: from 1968 to 1999 it was composed entirely of nickel, and since 2000 it has had a high steel content.
The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.
The Mercury dime is a ten-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from late 1916 to 1945. Designed by Adolph Weinman and also referred to as the Winged Liberty Head dime, it gained its common name as the obverse depiction of a young Liberty, identifiable by her winged Phrygian cap, was confused with the Roman god Mercury. Weinman is believed to have used Elsie Stevens, the wife of lawyer and poet Wallace Stevens, as a model. The coin's reverse depicts a fasces, symbolizing unity and strength, and an olive branch, signifying peace.
In coin collecting, a key date refers to a date of a given coin series or set that is harder to obtain than other dates in the series. The next level of difficult to obtain coins in series are often referred to as semi-key dates or simply semi-keys.
This article is a collection of Numismatic and coin collecting terms with concise explanation for the beginner or professional.
The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.
A type set is a coin collection based on coin design or type. Traditional collections consist of all dates within a series such as state quarters or Lincoln cent.
In minting, coining or coinage is the process of manufacturing coins using a kind of stamping which is now generically known in metalworking as "coining". This process is different from cast coinage, and can be classified in hammered coinage or hammering and milled coinage or milling.
There are three categories of error coins as provided by the American Numismatic Association. Metal usage and striking errors referred to widely as “planchet errors”, die errors, and mint striking errors. This does not include the varieties that the US Mint has issued over the years.
The numismatic history of the United States began with Colonial coins and paper money; most notably the foreign but widely accepted Spanish piece of eight, ultimately descended from the Joachimsthaler and the direct ancestor of the U.S. Dollar.