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Early State

Early State.  A stage of the die, and thus pieces struck from the die in that condition, which is discernible from a later state. Dies may change during their lifetime by

any retooling, die polishing, diebreaking, sinking or other identifiable die progression that may have occurred (in addition to normal wear). Specimens from an early state of the die are desirable because of the fresh, unblemished, pristine circumstance of the die and pieces struck during that early state normally exhibit that pristine state. The very earliest state does not exhibit die striations, but shortly thereafter these may appear and develop into a cartwheel effect. Obviously, die studies, made by experienced numismatists, require an examination of a large number of similar specimens. Early stages of the die are identified from later stages and an attempt is made by numismatists to classify the first, second, and such state of the die.  See state.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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