This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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If you happened to buy a proof 2007-W half-ounce platinum American Eagle, now is the time to dig it out and see if it exhibits a die polishing error as the quarter-ounce and ounce coins do.
The word “Freedom” on the ribbon of the obverse is not properly polished and it looks frosted rather than brilliant as it should be on the errors.
So far, the one-ounce $100 face value bullion coin and the quarter-ounce $25 has been reported. The Mint says there could be half-ounce $50 coins out there that exhibit the same error. No tenth-ounce $10 coins were released with the error.
In the Feb. 22 issue of Numismatic News it was revealed that the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of Sarasota, Fla., announced that it had certified a newly discovered platinum Eagle variety. According to that story “The latest oddity to surface in the Mint’s American Eagle Bullion Coin series is 2007-W platinum $100 proof that displays a die-polishing error.”
The coin was discovered by Jason Fishman, according to NGC.
This popular coin type, which features a facing eagle with wings outstretched, also includes a shield on the eagle’s breast. Draped over this shield is a banner inscribed with the “W” mintmark at left and the word FREEDOM at right. On dies having a normal polishing pattern, this incuse word displays the same brilliant finish as the coin’s fields, thus standing out within the frosted banner. The newly discovered variety has the word frosted so that it blends in with the rest of the design.
Since the story was published, NGC has now certified the same variation on a $25 quarter-ounce specimen.
In a Feb. 22 telephone interview I had with Michael White, of the Mint’s Office of Public Affairs, I learned that the coins where not struck in error but were what the Mint refers to as “pre-production coins” for review.
“A small quantity of coins were struck and retained as ‘good product’ prior to production,” White said. “During the pre-production review process, we changed the frosting mask to polish the word FREEDOM, to make it more readable, and went into full production with the new dies. We believe the frosted FREEDOM coins, which were struck prior to production of the approved version, were inadvertently placed in the production stream while preparing for an internal audit.”
According to White, the total population of the struck frosted FREEDOM that could be in the public hands are:
1 ounce – 12 coins
Half ounce – 21 coins
Quarter ounce – 21 coins
Tenth ounce – none made”
So far a half-ounce coin of the $50 denomination has yet to be found. Interestingly, while some observers are designating these as “varieties,” they are in the opinion of this author, technically pattern coins that were released in error.
What will that do to their value? We’ll see.
Ken Potter is the official attributer and lister of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collector’s Association of Die Doubling. He privately lists U.S. doubled dies and other collectible variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register. For more information on either of these clubs, or to learn how to get a variety listed in the Variety Coin Register, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope and 63 cents to Ken Potter, P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232. Contact him via e-mail at Kpotter256@aol.com, or visit his Educational Image Gallery located at: www.koinpro.com.