[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, David W. Lange. This information was originally published in 2005 in The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes]
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RARITY: Very scarce in any grade, Mint State coins are genuinely rare. This variety is more rare than the Philadelphia Mint overdate in all grades, and it is more likely to be found well worn as a consequence of having evaded detection for 20 years.
While the table reveals that only 139 examples have been certified as Mint State, it will be noted that the majority of these coins have full bands. This is fairly typical of 1942-D dimes, irrespective of variety. None have been graded higher than MS-66 FB.
COMMENTS: Although it may be difficult to identify with the naked eye, this is unquestionably a genuine overdate. The cause of this seeming accident is the same as for its ‘P’ Mint counterpart—the use of two differently-dated hubs in sinking this working die. Unlike 1942/41(P) this doubled-die obverse is also evident in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST (photo). The single pair of dies used for this variety also features a repunched mintmark (photo).The fact that numeral 1 appears to have been partially effaced from the die suggests that someone at the Denver Mint was aware of the overdate and attempted to correct it. No such evidence is found when examining the 1942/41(P) variety.
Claims for discovery of this overdate have come from a number of persons, and the facts remain a bit cloudy. Walter Breen reported in his Encyclopedia that this variety was discovered by Delma K. Romines in 1962, and Romines has said that his efforts to have it publicized were interrupted by his military service. Q. David Bowers credits Frank S. Robinson with its discovery around that same time, while Bill Fivaz believes that James Greenwich was the first to make a public inquiry about this variety. In researching the present book, however, the author came across its discovery in the November 1960 issue of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. A letter to the editor, submitted by a reader in West Baldwin, Maine identifying himself simply as “Days,” revealed that a friend of his had recently shown him a 1942/41 dime. Instructed by his friend to turn it over, he was surprised to find a Denver mintmark. This then seems to be the earliest reporting of the 1942/41-D dime.
In any case, its first publication was in 1963 in Frank Spadone’s Major Variety and Oddity Guide. The collecting of varieties and error coins was then still in its infancy, and first knowledge of the 1942/41-D dime for most in the hobby came with its appearance that same year in the “Collectors Clearinghouse” section of Coin World.81 It was simply mentioned at that time, and few persons took much notice of it until more detailed coverage appeared in Coin World three years later.82 It wasn’t until the early 1970s that this variety achieved a listing in the Red Book and became widely acknowledged. Only since the 1990s has the ‘D’ Mint overdate been included in coin albums and display holders for the Mercury Dime series.
This variety is actually 1942/1941, all four digits being doubled to varying degrees. Unlike its eastern cousin, however, this variety has numeral 4 doubled to the left rather than to the right.
A number of peculiarities are known for non-overdate 1942-D dimes which may confuse inexperienced collectors. Among these is the great frequency with which this date is found having mechanical or strike doubling (photo). This is true of all 1942-dated dimes, including those from the other mints. In addition, at least one obverse die for 1942-D was used when in an extremely eroded state. What is actually heavy erosion lines from the base of numeral 2 may be misinterpreted as the remains of a 1 (photo).