In 1916, the munitions pier on Black Tom Island exploded and seven people were killed in a blast that was felt as far away as Philadelphia. Investigation into the explosion determined it to be caused by a series of fires set by German saboteurs. Though the United States had not yet entered the war against Germany, it had been supplying munitions to the Allies, hence the nature of the attack. This 1916 double die obverse nickel recalls the loss of seven people and $20 million worth of damage in an act that would bring the US closer to war.
A well-known, eagerly sought variety in the ever-popular Buffalo Nickel series, the 1916/16 Doubled Die Obverse is also a rare coin that is elusive at all levels of preservation. The first published report of this Mint error came in the July 1962 issue of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. The 46 years that elapsed since this report and the error's minting was sufficient to efface the date area and, hence, the most prominent doubling on many examples. Furthermore, many of those pieces that retain bold definition in the date area are still worn to at least some extent, and it is a rare event indeed when the collector or investor is presented with the opportunity to purchase a solid Mint State survivor of this important 20th century Mint error.