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Million Dollar Coin? Two Headed or Two Tailed Coin and a real 1848 D/D Five Dollar Gold Piece

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by Frank M. Zapushek

Eight or nine times a week, we receive an email asking about a very rare coin. Just received an email that you will not believe. Here is the email:

“I have recently found a quarter which is double punched. One side has a 1973 date, no mintmark the other side is dated 1994 with a P mintmark. I can find no information anywhere, so I know it must be very rare. What value would you place on the coin?”

Yes, the two-headed coin. Let’s look at this rare and valuable coin. By using mirrors, I am able to show you both sides of a two-headed coin in one photograph. Even when looking at the coin carefully, the coin looks real.

The coin is not cut in half and no seam can be seen on the edge, even when examined under a microscope.

Now lets look at separate photographs of each side when separated. The outside diameter of both photographs are the same size, yet notice how much smaller the 1996 obverse is than the 1997. This is because both coins have been altered by a computer controlled machine lathe.

By looking at the reverse of the two coins, you can see the lathing marks on the inside of the coins. The coin has been lathed beginning at the inside of the rim and is completely grooved out.

The 1996 coin was lathed starting at the rim and completely removing the reverse of the coin. Only leaving the clad layer and a little of the copper core. This allows the 1996 obverse to fit firmly inside this half of the 1997 obverse. Thus a two-headed quarter.

The inside of this two-headed Kennedy half dollar gives a better look at the lathe marks on the inside of the coin. Also if you look carefully, you can see the pivot point at the center. The lathe goes round and round until the correct depth as been removed.

The two-headed coins come in nickels, quarters, and half dollars. Each coin can have two heads or two tails. These are sometimes called a magician’s coin.

One of the companies that makes these magician’s coins is BR Numismatics located in Flushing, Michigan. A spokesman for the company stated that two quarters are used to make one magician’s coin.

A lathe that is computer controlled is used to grind out the first half to a diameter of .875 and a thickness of .031. The second half is ground down to a diameter of .874 and a thickness of .031. Then the two sides are bonded together with a little metal adhesive.

A Real, Hard to Find Gem

I would like to take a few minutes to share with you and very special half eagle. The coin is an 1848 D Coronet five dollar gold piece. All gold coins stuck at the Dahlonega Branch Mint in Georgia are hard to find. Only 47,465 of the 1848 D half eagle’s were struck, but only 20 of these coins are known.

While only twenty are known, it is still not a million dollar coin. It is not chicken feed either.

Most 1848 D half eagle’s are weakly struck in the center on both the obverse and the reverse. This coin is fully struck with excellent detail in the center of the coin. The coin has beautiful color and original mint luster.

What makes this coin so hard to find is the D over D mintmark. No uncirculated specimens are known. Only one specimen has been graded AU 58, while two have been graded AU 55. Several of the known specimens show a weak second “D”, while this coin has a strong well defined repunched “D”. The first “D” mintmark is located to the south/southwest of the primary mintmark.

Do you have the only uncirculated specimen known for this coin? What will determine you finding a “real” gem?

Knowledge, that is the difference between the value of an 1848 D and an 1848 D/D.

Need to sharpen your skills or just enjoy reading good coin related material, visit our web page at http://www.bakercoins.net.  Information for the beginner or the experienced collector.

Have a coin question? Let us know at a coin show or contact us. Frank M. Zapushek, PO Box 1993, Bloomington, IL 61702-1993 email: mrz@bakercoins.net

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