(Louisiana State Quarter Die Trials)
Land ~ Sea Discovery Group Staff
BACKGROUND OF THE COIN:
the year 1803 Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from
Napoleon Bonaparte for $15,000,00.00. It has since become known
as the greatest real estate deal in history providing the country
with thirteen new states and doubling its size and making it one
of the largest countries in the world.
On April 30, 1812 Louisiana joined the Union and became the 18th
in that growing list of states forming the United States of America.
A normal 2002 P Louisiana State Quarter
it is only fitting that on May 20, 2002 the Louisiana State Quarter
became the 18th quarter to be released by the U.S. Mint since the
program’s inception. The Louisiana State quarter was the third
to be released in 2002.
The governor of Louisiana Mike Foster Jr.
created the Louisiana Commemorative Coin Advisory Commission, which
then solicited design ideas from Louisiana residents. Based on the
1193 submissions, Governor Foster submitted five design concepts
to the U.S. Mint. The Governor then selected the final design.
The design consists of three elements. The
first of these is the Brown Pelican. Louisiana’s nickname
“The Pelican State” is so named for this indigenous
bird, which for some time was on the endangered species list, and
only recently has be put on “recovered” status. The
second is an outline of the United States with the area of the Louisiana
Purchase clearly marked and outlined. To the right of this highlighted
area are the words, LOUISIANA PURCHASE. The third element is a trumpet
and musical notes that represent the birth of jazz music in New
DIE TRIAL ERRORS EXPLANATION:
In the earliest striking of any coin there
is an adjustment made to insure the correct pressure settings. These
die adjustment strikes are called die trials. The first die trials
out of the pressing have very little pressure and leave a very weak
striking on the coin. Gradually the pressure is increased until
it reaches the optimum level. Keep in mind the coins are being pressed
very quickly perhaps up to 12 per second. Once the settings are
proper the die trials are destroyed and rarely found in circulation.
Any coins found to be die trials are considered error coins. Note
that the die trial coins are full weight planchetts.
THE LOUISIANA STATE QUARTER STUDY:
On October 16, 2002 I was given the rare
opportunity to study a number of die trials of the Louisiana State
Quarter with the Philadelphia Mint mark. Though I am not at liberty
to say how many coins were placed in the study, I will say that
it was sufficient to complete the study with an excellent degree
The coins fell into five basic degrees of pressings and the most
consistent factor in my determining the differences of the degrees
were the states of relief of the Brown Pelican. Other points on
the coins did not always remain consistent.
2002 P Louisiana State Quarter die trials reverse side.
The lightest pressure and first degree. In this degree the head
of the pelican is just visible. There may be in the center a
near complete outline of the Louisiana Purchase. No date.
2. The second degree the pressure has been increased a slight
degree and a ¾ view of the pelican is exposed. Chest
area and head showing more prominent. The outline of the Louisiana
Purchase is now very prominent, the words LOUISIANA PURCHASE
are two thirds complete, and the trumpet begins to appear. No
3. The third degree of pressing produced a near full pelican,
but without detail of wings etc. The outline of the United States
has appeared, the trumpet is more pronounced, musical notes
appear, and parts of LOUISIANA 1812 are near complete. On the
bottom of the coin E PLURIBUS UNUM is appearing but not complete.
There still is no date.
4. In the forth degree our pelican is even more pronounced,
but the key factor in this degree is the date has appeared though
faint next to the pelican. The country is fairly well outlined
though Florida is weak. The words LOUISIANA PURCHASE is near
complete though weak on the right edge.
5. The fifth degree is moving rapidly towards a near complete
coin. The pelican is complete though still does not show his
complete detail of his wing, beak, and eye. The date is much
stronger in relief. Nearly all the other features of the coin
are complete however the date, last letters of LOUISIANA PURCHACE,
and at the top LOUISIANA may be thin still.
2002 P Louisiana State Quarter die trials obverse side.
you can well imagine, often just finding one die trial of a particular
coin is extremely rare. Finding a progressive run is an exceedingly
rare find. I can honestly say that in a life time you may be able
to find one or two of these, but to be able to put a set together
to show the progressive state of pressing the coins in the die trials
will be near impossible. I believe that if this example of die trials
interests you, that you check with knowledgeable coin dealers and
you will find that this is indeed a rare item.
you are interested in owning a set of 5 progressive die trials for
the 2002 P Louisiana State Quarter, check in the marketplace
for availability. I doubt you will not find them anywhere else in