Modern Varieties

Photos of Some Modern Varieties

By Carl Wohlforth

I am frequently asked what is the difference between different varieties of a particular issue. Sometimes these varieties acquire interesting names like the “Peg Leg” Eisenhower dollar or “Bugs Bunny” Franklin half. This list does not discuss the major types such as the War Nickel and Steel Cent.

Since a photo is often worth a thousand words I will show some photos that should help identify several of the more popular modern types. This list is not complete, but I hope to add to it as I come across good examples.

2003 “Vanishing 3” Proof Lincoln CentMost, if not all, 2003 proof Lincoln Cents lack frost on the 3 in the date. Since the 3 is brilliant like the fields it “disappears” in some photos. At the right are two photos of the exact same coin taken with the coin tilted at different angles.

The 3 is really there, it just isn’t perfectly frosted. This is not a variety. It is not scarce or rare at all. They are not worth anything extra so please don’t pay extra for this coin.

1956 Type 1 Proof Franklin Half DollarEarly in 1956 the mint changed the reverse dies used to make Franklin Half Dollars. They added a lot of detail to the eagle. Each wing feather is made distinct. The breast feathers are well defined.

Franklin half dollars made prior to 1956 all have the type 1 eagle. After that they all are type 2. However there were a few type ones made in 1956. Happy Cherry picking!

1971 No S Proof Jefferson NickelIn 1971 the mint produced approximately 1,600 proof nickels with no mint mark by mistake. They were minted in San Francisco. Like all 1971 Proof Jefferson nickels they are hard to find with Deep Cameo contrast.
“Bugs Bunny” Franklin Half DollarThis type is really a die clash. The obverse and reverse dies struck each other with no planchet between them. Mint employees worked the dies to remove evidence of the die clash. However they didn’t fix the area around Franklins upper lip. It looks like his two front teeth are large and protruding. They are made by the wing tips of the small eagle from the reverse. Franklin half dollars minted in 1955 are most commonly found with this die clash, but they are known in several earlier dates also.
1964 Pointed Nine DimeIn 1964 there was a small change made early on in the production of proof Roosevelt dimes. The tail of the nine on the left tapers off, it is not perfectly flat and blunt. So it is called a Pointed Nine. The dime on the right is a regular one. This variety is briefly mentioned in the Red Book.

If you have a proof set with an Accented Hair Kennedy please check the dime. I don’t know for sure but suspect that most will also have a pointed nine dime. Like the AH Kennedy there are fewer Pointed Nine dimes than the regular ones.