Friday, May 03, 2013

What is meant when a Morgan dollar is said
to have a good Cartwheel Effect?

The Cartwheel Effect can be seen in
this image of an American Silver Eagle
Cartwheel Effect is a phrase used to describe the windmill-like effect of reflected light off a coin when it is rotated under a light. This occurs due to the light reflecting off the flow lines created when the coin was first struck.

This cartwheel effect occurs on all uncirculated coins, but it is more pronounced on silver dollars such as the Morgan dollar due to the larger size and heavier flow lines of the coins.

In fact, Morgan dollars were nicknamed “Cartwheels” soon after they debuted due to a combination of their large size, and the cartwheel effect when rotated under a light.

Why is the Cartwheel Effect so important?

The flow lines that cause the effect wear down with circulation or improper cleaning and eventually cause the effect to disappear giving coins a dull, lifeless look.

A coin described as uncirculated but without a nice Cartwheel Effect could mean that the coin is actually in circulated condition or was improperly cleaned at some point. This would have a negative effect on the value of the coin.

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