These two top images are a comparison of the edges of a 1909 matte proof (left) next to a 1909 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 1909 matte proof.
There is only one set of dies for this year and many die artifacts are the same as for the 1909 VBD. At right is a die scratch from the
back of lincoln's coat underneath the TY of LIBERTY. There is also reportedly a die scratch from the right bottom of the R to the top left
of the T but I could not find it. As you can see the toning on this coin makes the die scratches difficult to spot. In many cases you have
to know they're there to see them. The first three images represent all die states.
There are numerous die scratches in front of and below Lincoln's nose.
There is a die scratch inside the top part of the U of TRUST. There is also supposedly a die scratch from the top right of the R of TRUST
but I could not find it. Also not found were die chips from the rim at 7:30 and also at 9 o'clock.
For the late die state there is a die scratch from the rim to the top right of the U of TRUST. Again, there is supposed to be a die scratch
from the rim to the area above the left side of the U of TRUST but it is not apparent on this coin.
The first four reverse images show artifacts from the early and mid die states. This shows a die scratch above the IB of PLURIBUS.
There is a die scratch from the rim to the top of the U of PLURIBUS.
A die scratch from the bottom of the second leg of the A of AMERICA.
There is a die chip to the right of the right wheat stalk. This is also for the mid and late die states.
For the mid and late die states under the A of AMERICA. The first goes from the second leg of the A to the wheat stalk.
The second goes from the first leg of the A down into the area below it.
Again, for the mid and late die states a die scratch between the E and R of AMERICA.
A die scratch from the N of CENT through the ST of STATES to the R of AMERICA, mid and late die states.