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The Elongated Third Ray Dollar


The Elongated Third Ray George Washington Dollar. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Originally, I had zero interest in the small dollar coins. That was until the nationwide coin shortage occurred and my search for the West Point-minted “W” Washington Quarters had proven unproductive. A friend suggested that I start searching through the Presidential $1 coins.

One variety that caught my eye and intrigued me the most was the speculation and possible existence of an "Elongated Third Ray" of the tiara on the 2007-P George Washington issue. This coin was believed to have been found in 2007, which was the first year of issue for the Presidential $1 coin series. I searched for information on this coin for months online and elsewhere for any documentation of a confirmed or attributed example, but nothing was found.

All the information I acquired over these months was merely speculation of its existence. Was it an unintentional die gouge which extended the ray? Was it a scratch? Was the die intentionally modified, altered, or manipulated at the mint? No one seemed to have the answer. There was no evidence that this coin had ever been officially recognized or attributed by any grading service or in Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins, by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton.

So, my search began. I found that banks had boxes of these small dollars that none of their customers wanted. After months and months of searching through thousands of these Presidential dollars, I found what I believe are several examples of this variety. The design of the ray seemed too well formed to be a die gouge. I realized that, after having been in circulation for 15 years, this variety was still unreported and still could be cherry picked.

I contacted a number of key players in the variety/error coin community, showed them the coin, and even submitted a notarized Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Mint for any and all documentation, records, or logs relating to the minting process of this specific coin. The request generated zero results.

My non-professional numismatic eyes suggested that the ray was too clear to be anything other than an intentional die alteration or modification at the mint and my aim has been to have it assigned a FS (Fivaz-Stanton) number. With the help, opinions, and feedback from many experts in the field – too many to mention – this interesting observation would not have been possible. The tenacity, commitment, and due diligence in this effort eventually found its way to recognition by PCGS, which attributes the Elongated Third Ray variety.

Presidential Dollars