This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Mint errors highlighted a Bowers & Merena’s auction held in conjunction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Summer Expo June 18-19.
Over 2,300 lots were offered in the $8.6 million sale, including 56 major mint errors and many important varieties.
Several recent-date dollar error coins fetched prices in the four figures range. All prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The top money-grabber in the error section was an NGC-66 certified George Washington Presidential dollar described by the cataloger as: “once classified as having been struck on metal scrap, this type of error is now known to involve the tips of the feeder fingers that are used in the modern minting process. The present example is bright-white and brilliant, both sides revealing portions of the George Washington Presidential dollar design that confirms the date of striking as 2007.” It fetched $6,325.
The second highest selling error was a (2008) Martin Van Buren dollar also described as struck on a feeder finger and graded NGC-65. It was hammered down at $5,980.
While some lots were left unsold, there were also some lower priced errors for the budget-minded with perhaps the best buy being a 1964 mated pair of Jefferson nickels struck on scrap. The first piece was a double-struck fragment with a partial brockage on the obverse. The second piece was another fragment struck into the obverse of the first fragment that acquired a mirrored impression from the brockage. We show the two obverse images of the two pieces here. Ungraded, it sold for just $270.
The error section ran from an undated Braided Hair large cent struck 35 percent off center that sold for $2,875, through an 1897 Liberty half eagle gold piece struck 5 percent off center in ANACS AU-55 that went for $3,566.
There was a scattering of everything in-between from Indian cent errors through a silver American Eagle planchet along with a few lots of miscellaneous errors and varieties that contained mostly modern minors.
The auction also included scores of doubled dies, overdates, repunched mintmarks, over mintmarks and other varieties listed by numerous attributers.
In the Lincoln cent series a few of the highlights that sold include a 1927 doubled die obverse graded PCGS-64 RD and listed in the Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties, Fifth Edition Volume 1, by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton as FS-101. It sold for $2,645.
A trio of 1941 doubled dies sold at $316 for an FS-101 in PCGS-64 RB, $2,300 for an FS-102 in PCGS-64 RD and $3,335 for a FS-103 in PCGS-65 RD.
Of note was a 1972 FS-104 (doubled die obverse #4) in PCGS-62 RB that sold for $2,070. This is a minor variety with just a handful known that is very much in demand. It demonstrates that minor errors can sometimes fetch stronger prices than major errors of the same date and mint if they are highly sought after and rare.
Ken Potter is the official attributer of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling. He also privately lists other collectible variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register. More information on either of the clubs or how to get a coin listed in the Variety Coin Register may be obtained by sending a long self- addressed envelope with 61 cents postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076, or by contacting him via e-mail at KPotter256@aol.com. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his website at www.koinpro.com.