Trail Die Oddities

Trail Die Oddities


While the statue of Abraham Lincoln on the reverse has had many distortions due to trails being present, this is perhaps one of the oddest. It has yet to be determined if the extra length of Lincoln’s head is part of the design extension, however, the other distortions seen (extra thickness in the legs, knees and the supposed tie) are part of this type anomaly. Also seen is a line from Lincoln’s mouth (dubbed a cigar) that adds to the clownish appearance of the statue. This is truly a unique oddity and was found by Bob Piazza of Florida. It is identified as 1999P-1DER-049T.


Another unusual statue of Lincoln has been found, this time by Joe Koelling. Similar to the above die pictured, this one has a different direction. While both of these anomalies came from dies that had trail, there is still no firm base for identifying these lines as trail related. This was found on 1994P-1DER-065WST



This misshapen Lincoln comes from die 1999P-1DER-033T. The offset direction has distorted the statue in such away that it resembles Quasimodo from the “Hunchback of Notre Dame”.



One of the mysteries of trails is this odd occurrence. As you can see in the image above, some of the columns appear to have splits near their tops. What is even odder is the fact that it is every other column. This is not the only case where this has been encountered and there are actually four dies, from various years, that have these split columns.

There is even one case of a split Memorial building base line and a split Memorial floor line, which is shown in the above image. Notice that the splits lines take the same direction as the trail lines from the corners of the stylobate. This gives credence that these splits are formed by the same function as trail lines. Even though it has been surmised that this is part of the design extension anomaly, the reason behind how it happens is a mystery.




While it is not unknown to have curved trail lines, most are straight or have just a small amount of curving to them (see below image). The lines, especially on the date are too much curved. Also note that the lines above the date are incused (raised on the die), something that will only occur on a working hub with trails.

The overall mushy appearance of the obverse, when compared to the reverse, gives us the final clue as to what has happened to this particular coin. This is a Lincoln cent that has been struck through a very late die cap that has some movement to the die cap when it struck the coin. The folds and creases in the die cap give the coin the look of having trails.

Here is another example of a very late stage struck through a die cap. This coin is in the collection of Bob Piazza.

70sstrukthrucap1 70sstrukthrucap2

Notice the wisp curved lines from the tops of the date and mintmark. These are not trail lines.



Not really. Take a look at the above picture and it is obvious that there are two small bows in this trail line. If you refer to the 1999P-1DER-015WST will see that the step deviation appears to curve as the trails pass through the steps. Just another oddity of trail dies.