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  1. #1
    Paid Member jay4202472000's Avatar
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    How to determine die states?

    I am looking to expand my understanding of this great hobby and am wondering if anyone knows a pretty detailed source of how to determine die states. I understand that later die state coins show easily seen die flow toward the rim. I want to study up on what the difference is between MDS & LDS and EDS & MDS. What is the line the coin has to cross to go from EDS to MDS, ect. What are the things to look for?

    Is there a source out there like I am looking for or does this knowledge just come from experience?

    Thanks all!

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  3. #2
    Lincoln Cent Variety Expert mustbebob's Avatar
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    It pretty much has everything to do with die flow lines. An EDS coin will have little to no flow lines at all. MDS encompasses everything in between, so there would be many more MDS coins. As far as at what point the transition is made, it is very subjective. We do have EMDS or MLDS, but only use the three main die states on coppercoins.
    Bob Piazza
    CONECA Lincoln Cent Attributer

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  5. #3
    Lincoln Cent Variety Expert
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    Die states:

    Very Early Die State (VEDS): No flow lines, outer edges of devices near the rim are crisp and sharp. Encompasses about 1.5% of all coins made by a die that made it through an entire life.

    Early Die State (EDS): A very faint pattern of die flow lines may be present. Outer edges of devices are still crisp and sharp, but could show some very light feathering. Encompasses about 3.5% of a die's life.

    Mid Die State (MDS): Some feathering on outer devices, but edges are still defined. Light to moderate flow lines throughout the outer 2/3 of the design. Generally broken into 'early' and 'late' stages (EMDS, LMDS). Encompasses 20% of a die's life.

    Late Die State (LDS): Outer edges of devices near the rim lose definition and become mushy. Fine details throughout the design begin to lose definition. Flow lines are throughout the design and can be heavy. Encompasses 40% of a die's life.

    Very Late Die State (VLDS): All devices begin to fade into mush. Outer edges of all devices near the rim are gone. Fine details and sharper edges throughout the design are gone. Flow lines take over the design - the design loses focus. Encompasses 35% of a die's life.

    Number of coins (approximate) struck before die state changes, given 1,000,000 coins struck by a die:

    VEDS: up to 12,000 coins struck.
    EDS: up to 40,000 coins struck.
    MDS: up to 250,000 coins struck.
    LDS: up to 650,000 coins struck.
    VLDS: up to 1,000,000 coins struck.

    Given that a cent die can strike 1,000,000 coins, if you find a die variety in LDS, this means it is likely that at least 250,000 more of that die were struck, because that's about how many strikes it takes for a die to go into LDS. That's what the numbers mean.

    Thing is, this number might sound huge, but in the case of 1961D-1MM-001 (which is known in LDS), this could comprise as little as 250,000 coins out of 1.75 billion total coins struck. That's 0.0014% of total 1961D production, which is why they are still difficult to find.

    It's a matter of finding needles in haystacks. If your haystack is a million and you have 250,000 needles, then your chances are pretty good of finding one. But when your haystack is 1,700 times that size, the needles are substantially more difficult to locate.
    Charles D. Daughtrey, NLG, Author, "Looking Through Lincoln Cents"
    [URL="http://www.coppercoins.com/"]http://www.coppercoins.com[/URL]

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    Paid Member jay4202472000's Avatar
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    Thanks a ton Mr. Daughtrey! That is exactly the info I was looking for.

  7. #5
    Moderator, Die & Variety Expert jcuve's Avatar
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    I will add that there is still issue of the era the die was used, the composition of the coins struck and other variables can make assessing die state difficult.

    The depth of the design on the die (how high the design is on a struck coin); die composition (no way to know if or how any one die may differ from another); a die being polished heavily to the point that flow lines are hard to detect (this can happen early or late in the die's life); other hard to predict variables like the assembly not being oriented correctly causing more wear some areas or possibly inconsistent compositional issues in one specific die causing early die fatigue to some areas.

    The 1943 dies did not wear at the same rate or showing identical characteristics as dies striking bronze, or copper plated zinc, or silver, or nickel and so on. Lincoln cents from the '50s show signs of die fatigue that won't match the '70s or other eras. The '80s and early '90s started to see die wear very differently, presumably from the composition change to the planchets.

    I suspect that the die striking 1936 1DO-002 starting wearing prematurely and somewhat oddly compared to the die striking 1936 1DO-001.

    Die state sounds easy until you start to really get into it...



    Jason Cuvelier


    MadDieClashes.com - ErrorVariety.com
    TrailDies.com - Error-ref.com - Port.Cuvelier.org
    CONECA

    (images Jason Cuvelier 2008-18)___________________

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  9. #6
    Lincoln Cent Variety Expert
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    Jason is correct in his assessment that different compositions wore the dies differently. I should have placed in my original thread that the case of a million coins struck by a die are hypothetical in nature, as cent dies probably struck anywhere between 10,000 and 2,000,000 coins depending on the design, composition, and other factors.

    I do disagree that determining die state is difficult, though. Just like grading a coin does not matter how many people held the coin, determining die state on an individual coin is not dependent on how many coins the die struck before your coin. It is determined ONLY by the amount of wear on the die at the time the coin was struck. It's all in how the die wore. Some wore faster than others for many reasons.

    Die state is an examination of the condition of the die at the time the die struck an individual coin. All you need to be concerned with when determining die state on a coin is the evidence left behind by the die on THAT COIN.

    The numbers of coins struck per die state and percentages of full die life strikes in each die state are very approximate.
    Charles D. Daughtrey, NLG, Author, "Looking Through Lincoln Cents"
    [URL="http://www.coppercoins.com/"]http://www.coppercoins.com[/URL]

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    Administrator Maineman750's Avatar
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    This is good stuff so I made it a sticky..any of you experts can let me know when it is complete enough and I'll close the thread as well.
    "Every mighty oak tree started out as a nut who stood his ground. I just started out"

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    Registered User georoxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coppercoins View Post
    ...but in the case of 1961D-1MM-001 (which is known in LDS)....
    Question: Does this suggest that 1961D-1MM-001's were not produced early in the run? This confuses me.

    Thanks.

    -George

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    Administrator Maineman750's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georoxx View Post
    Question: Does this suggest that 1961D-1MM-001's were not produced early in the run? This confuses me.

    Thanks.

    -George

    No, it means they had a full run.
    "Every mighty oak tree started out as a nut who stood his ground. I just started out"

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  17. #10
    Lincoln Cent Variety Expert
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    Georoxx - Think of it this way...

    I have ten cookie cutters that wear out with use. Each one will make 100 cookies before breaking or wearing out. I need 2,000 cookies, so I'm going to need at least 20 cookie cutters to finish the job. Some cookie cutters break before others, so I'm going to play it safe and buy 15 more for a total of 25 of them.

    Some of the cookie cutters make 100 cookies, and some even make 110 or so...but a few of them only make 25 cookies before going bad. So in the end, it might take 23 cookie cutters to punch out 2,000 cookies.

    One of my 23 used cookie cutters had a flaw that people don't notice until they look at the finished cookies - it had squared edges instead of rounded edges.

    Now...with all that, an examination of some of the cookies could tell you the following:

    1. 23 cookie cutters were used - each one is slightly unique in its own way.
    2. 2,000 cookies were made.
    3. One of the cookie cutters was in error, making squared edges.
    4. By examining ONE of the squared edge cookies you can tell YOUR cookie was made around the 50th cookie from that cutter.

    So, you can tell that the error cookies - by examining YOUR error cookie - number AT LEAST about 50 total, so you know at least another 49 were made.

    Then you take into account that it took you 30 minutes to figure all that out, and the cookies went to a hungry team of high school football players, and nearly a thousand of the cookies have been eaten.

    The REAL challenge is: Without looking at the remaining cookies all at once, how many of the error cookies are likely to be left behind? I know, it's not possible...but we try. Welcome to the forensic study of square edge cookies.

    The point to the story above - as the cookie cutters wore out, so do dies. The cookie cutters left signs behind telling someone with knowledge looking at cookies just about how many cookies were made with the cutter before that cookie was made. Die state gives us that information by looking closely at a coin.
    Last edited by coppercoins; 10-16-2013 at 01:13 PM.
    Charles D. Daughtrey, NLG, Author, "Looking Through Lincoln Cents"
    [URL="http://www.coppercoins.com/"]http://www.coppercoins.com[/URL]

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