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Coin Q&A: Do You Really Have A 1922-D “Weak D” Cent?

By Kyle Clifford Knapp - July 7, 2022

Q. I have a 1922 “D” Lincoln Wheat Cent, but it looks to be the “Weak D” error — I cannot see a “D” at all on the coin. How do I determine this error from wear and tear?

What constitutes a 1922-D “Weak D” Lincoln Cent? Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

PCGS categorizes 1922-D Lincoln Cents into three groups: standard (2537), “Weak D” (3110), and “No D, Strong Reverse” (3285). The industry-accepted die study for these appeared in The Numismatist in the late 1970s/early 1980s, was included in the widely distributed American Numismatic Association (ANA) 1988 Counterfeit Detection Guide, and has been assigned the die numbering scheme we use today.

The “Strong Reverse” (PCGS #3285, ANA Die #2) is by far the most desirable, as the mint mark is completely polished away while much of the remainder of the coin is sharp, making it most closely resemble the appearance of a 1922 Philadelphia Cent. It is characterized by a crisp terminal “2” in the date (the leading “2” somewhat weaker), strong rendering of “TRUST” in the motto, and a reverse with much stronger details than either of the other die pairs. This variety is believed to have been created after a traumatic die clash necessitated extensive polishing of the involved obverse die along with full replacement of the reverse die.

There are two die pairs PCGS categorizes as “Weak D” (spec #3110). The ANA's die pair #1 is identifiable by a small, sharp “T” in “TRUST,” a weak terminal “2” in the date (in contrast to the aforementioned variety), and a “jogging” die crack emanating from the reverse rim to the “O” in “ONE,” slightly skipping down as it passes through to the inside of the letter (not to be confused with a similar crack that extends straight through the “O” without being diverted found on some standard 1922-D cents). Die pair #3 has a weak terminal “2” and a mushy “O” (“ONE”) that melts into the field at bottom left. All examples from these two pairs are considered “Weak D,” regardless of the extent of mint mark visibility, which can vary with a coin's grade and the extent of die deterioration. While less scarce than the “No D, Strong Reverse” examples, “Weak D” pieces still command a strong premium over their standard 1922-D (#2537) counterparts.

Please note PCGS no longer certifies any pieces as “No D, Weak Reverse.” This designation had previously been used to designate what are now considered “Weak D” coins.

Article provided by PCGS at
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