Unfortunately, the doubling that you see on your 1981-D Washington quarter
is not the result of a doubled die error. It is a common form of doubling known as " Die Deterioration
doubling." It is caused when the dies used to strike the coins are kept in use for too long a period of time.
When the dies strike the planchet to form a coin, the planchet metal is pushed into the cavities of the die to form the design. The constant movement of planchet metal across the surface of the die causes the die surface to wear and erode as time goes by. The eroded areas on the die are depressed, but on the coins they appear as raised areas. Since the greatest erosion is around the design elements such as the letters, date, etc. the new raised areas resemble doubling. According to the Mint, dies that strike coins with primarily nickel planchets ( Jefferson nickels
) or with nickel in the alloy (clad dimes, quarters, and half dollars) wear down more quickly because the nickel resists spreading when stuck causing the dies to wear down more quickly.
Serious doubled die collectors consider this to be a form of damage rather than a collectible form of doubling. Consequently, coins with this common form of doubling do not have any extra value. You can find more information and photo illustrations of Die Deterioration Doubling
at my website http://www.doubleddie.com.
In the left column menu click on Worthless Doubling. Scroll down and then click on Die Deterioration Doubling
John A. Wexler