Cuba 1920 20 Centavos “RAYS ON REVERSE” Variety or Mint Error?
April 11, 2020
In the Cuban First Republic 20 centavos series most of the attention is given to the 1932 key date and to the 1915 20 centavos pieces with the different combinations of high and low relief and fine and coarse reeding. The 1920 date ranks among the most common dates excepting the 1948-1952 dates, which is supported by NGC census numbers. Interestingly, there’s at least one 1920 variety, the 1920 NO PERIOD AFTER “G” variety, of which NGC has graded a single example in almost uncirculated (AU58) condition and that hasn’t been discussed in detail, unlike its 5 centavos cousin. We’ll defer discussion on the NO PERIOD AFTER “G” variety until a later day. Today we would like to open a discussion with this community on the proposed 1920 20C RAYS ON REVERSE variety/error.
Our first encounter with this variety dates back to 2008 during the Stack’s March 2008 Coin Galleries auction. The description of Lot 3611, an otherwise mundane 1920 20 centavos in an ANACS MS63 holder, referred to rays coming out of the coat of arms on the reverse. The eye appeal of this coin happened to be off the charts with lovely peripheral deep golden hues, solid strike and nearly blemish free devices, all of which made the MS63 grade seem to be unfair. Back to the topic of interest, what about the RAYS ON REVERSE?
As can be seen in the photographs above and below, there are very noticeable rays surrounding the coat of arms, more prominently in the left-hand side. We have since been on the lookout for additional examples and have recently come across another very dramatic additional piece that we’re now proud to offer for sale, see below. We haven’t seen, or may have missed, any prior discussion about this variety/error among this community.
We would love to hear from you: have you heard of the RAYS ON REVERSE variety? Do you have any additional examples or images to share? Please send your comments below.
Update: thanks to the contribution of our members, we have added an update below.
We followed up on Mr. Crespo’s suggestion that it may be a die clash error.
Die clash: “When a planchet fails to enter the coining chamber and both the hammer die strikes the anvil die, imparting design features of the opposing die into each die face. When a planchet does enter the coining chamber it is struck with the clashed dies and will show details of the obverse on the reverse and visa versa.“
If that was the case, we should see perfect overlap of the obverse features on the reverse. We put the images through some analysis and the results are very clear, perfect overlap! See for yourself, mystery solved!!! Be on the lookout for 1920 20 centavos die clash errors. Interestingly, there may also be coins with reverse design features on the obverse. We haven’t seen any of those. Have you?
For more information on die clashes visit MadDieClashes.com
We are proud to offer for sale a very dramatic example of the RAYS ON REVERSE die clash error. The fact that this coin has been cleaned at some point does not take away from it’s amazing level of detail, the very evident hallmark signs of the die clash and it’s uncirculated details.