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Filled Die

Filled Die.  A striking error from a coining die during a long press run in which loose particles of metal or other debris have lodged in a design cavity and partially or completely eliminated a design element, a letter or figure, from all succeeding pieces struck from that die. The cavity sometimes fills by stages and only a part of the design element is struck up, as only the base of a letter, until, perhaps, even it too will disappear on subsequent strikes.

The particles which lodge in the die cavity can come from several sources. Most common is the debris adhering to the succession of blanks carried into coining position which wedge into a die cavity. Or it might be a diechip – a tiny piece of a die – broken off in one place and lodged in another, or on another die.

In modern presswork this problem can easily be eliminated by blowing compressed air over blanks and dies before striking occurs.

A filled die is similar to a broken projection of some height in a die. The center of an O or D – or the loops in A, R, P or figures 6, 8, 9 – may break off in a long press run due to metal stress. Such a filled die variety could have been eliminated by the champs levée process. When these varieties are described, they are often called broken, as 1922-D Lincoln cent broken D.

Missing letters and other design elements are often attributed to filled dies, but can also be caused by heavy die polishing – to remove some imperfection, as clash marks, and detail is removed by die retooling. It is very difficult to know by which method the design disappeared by observing a struck specimen. Die polishing does remove some adjacent design, however, but if one letter is filled adjacent to another that is completely struck up, then it is probably a filled die.  See also filled letter.


NE42 {1982} Doty, p 135-136.

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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