These two top images are a comparison of the edges of a 1911 matte proof (left) next to a 1911 business strike (right) coin. At left they are pressed together. At right they are free standing.
The edge of a matte proof will always be flatter, smoother, and more reflective then its more rounded business strike counterpart. A matte proof will stand alone on its edge very easily. Further,
the inside and outside edges of the rim, as seen in the images below with the matte proof on the left and the business strike on the right in each image, will be sharper and crisper. A matte proof will have its
inside edge drop off more steeply and therefore the coin will exhibit less of an inside curved dish than a business strike. A matte proof may also have a slight fin on the far outside of the rim around the coin.
In general a matte proof coin will have the following surface and edge characteristics to help differentiate it from its business strike counterpart:
• More detail in the image and design elements.
• A surface matte appearance resulting from the blasting of the die surface. Wear and toning may result in this surface being lost.
• Flatter, smoother, and more reflective rims.
• Sharper and crisper edges on the outside and inside of the rim.
• Less dishing of the coin than for a business strike.
To be absolutely confident when authenticating a matte proof coin you must examine the die characteristics for that year as described below on the obverse and reverse for the 1911 matte proof.
Two die pairs were used in 1911. For all die states from the first pair is a die scratch between the 9 and 1.
I'm not sure this is correct but it's my best guess. A horizontal die scratch from the rim below the L of LIBERTY was not found.
A vertical die scratch from the L of LIBERTY to the field above. This is also for die pair number two.
A vertical die scratch from the bottom of the L was not found.
Extra metal in the fork of the Y of LIBERTY. This is also in the second die pair.
Two parallel die scratches above the N of IN.
A die scratch from the G to the D of GOD.
A die scratch above the WE.
A die scratch from the T to the R of TRUST.
A die scratch from the rim to the G of GOD. Mid die state only. This will not appear on an early die state coin and will be worn down on a late die state coin.
Die scratch from the rim above the G of GOD. Worn down on a late die state coin.
For die pair number two a die scratch will run from the first 1 in the date left to the die scratch which runs from the 9 to the 1.
Again. I'm not sure I've identified this correctly.
Two parallel die scratches between the I and the B of PLURIBUS. These are from a master reverse die used on matte proof
Lincoln cents from 1910 to 1914.
Die scratch from the lower right leg of the M of UNUM in to the area above the E of ONE. This is from a master reverse die used on matte proof
Lincoln cents from 1910 to 1914.
A die crack through the O of ONE appears pn late die state coins for reverse number 1. Two die scratches from the M
of AMERICA downwards reportedly present on reverse number 1 were not found.
For the second die pair the top of the F in OF is broken.
So is the top of the first A in AMERICA.
Also the top of the T in UNITED.
Lastly, the bottom of the E in UNITED.
A die scratch through the middle of the U in UNUM. A heavy die scratch from the D of UNITED down through the M of
AMERICA to the rim was not found.
For the late die state of die pair number 2 none of the following was detected:
- A die crack from the rim through the wheat stalk at 8:30.
- A die scratch from the bottom right leg of the M of AMERICA.