Yesterday a young man who was a part of my children's ministry in the 1990's walked into my office for a short visit. What he bought in with him grabbed my attention. He handed me a well circulated 1980 Philadelpia Mint Kennedy Half Dollar, that had identical obverse and reverses and about a 20% rotated die. His question was, how much is it worth? This double headed Kennedy looks like it has not been tampered with. However, in the US Mint history only one double headed or double tailed coin has been authenticated. With billions upon billions of coins being minted, the chance of this coin being the "real thing", is about ten to the hundred power. In other words Leo, you have a much greater chance of winning the "Powerball Lottery" than this coin being authentic. Let me explain why.
At the US Mint, a coin press consists of two dies. The die for the reverse side of a coin is called the anvil die and it is stationary. It will not move! The obverse die is a hammer die which moves up and down with a force in excess of 37 tons per square inch. This is the minimal pressure for striking a one cent coin. Either die will fit in the other dies position making the law of probability against a double strike heads or tails coin mounting up quickly. The chance of one being produced is very slim and coupled with it going through the inspection process and being released into circulation, making getting one nearly impossible. However, if you think you have one it needs to go through three simple tests before being submitted to a grading service for authentication.
The first test is measurements. Check the diameter, thickness and weight of the coin to see if it meets the specifications for that coin denomination. The second test is to check the edge of the coin under higher magnification. If there is a seam it is not a real coin. Third, do the "ring" test. Locate another coin of the same date, design and denomination. Drop them both on a counter top or table to compare the sound. If the ring sound is different it is not a real coin. If your coin passes all three tests you may have a real coin and it should be submitted to a recognized grading service. You might just be the owner of the second double sided coin in the history of the US Mint. I would be happy to answer your question then as that coin could make you an instant millionaire.
As a fake coin, Leo's 1980 Philadelphia Mint Kennedy Half Dollar is worth about $ 2.00 as a keepsake, but has no value to a coin collector. I hope I have answered this question for all those double headed and double tailed coins.
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