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Chinoy finds mixed up medals

Anomalies include Hayes-Grant design mule.

It?s the dream of every numismatist to discover something unusual. Dr. Walter Chinoy thinks he has.

The president of the New Jersey Numismatic Society recently received a set of Presidential medals from the U.S. Mint. There were a number of surprises in the set, including a Hayes-Grant design mule.

?I was sort of happy about it,? said Chinoy. ?I?ve never discovered anything newsworthy before. Even if there are others, I still might be the first one to report it.?

After waiting for two months, Chinoy received his $185.50 43-piece set from the U.S. Mint. He?d ordered it from the Mint?s fall catalog sometime in October or November and received it in mid-January.

Upon studying his set on the night of Jan. 10, Chinoy noticed some strange anomalies ? namely, two medals were struck in the wrong die rotation and another was struck with the wrong design reverse. The two medals struck in wrong die rotation were the Lyndon B. Johnson medal and the George W. Bush medal.

It turned out, they had been struck in coin turn and not medal turn. Had they been struck in medal turn, the obverse and reverse dies would have been aligned so that both the tops and the bottoms of both sides are in line with each other.

Because they were struck in coin turn, they are aligned on an axis 180 degrees from one another, meaning that if you are looking at the obverse right side up, the opposite side will be upside down.

Even more surprising is the Rutherford B. Hayes medal Chinoy received. It had the same U.S. Grant reverse that appears on the Grant medal and the inauguration dates match those of Grant, not Hayes. They are March 4, 1869 and March 4, 1873.

Hayes served one term. His inauguration took place March 5, 1877.
A collector since 1958, Chinoy normally collects coins. He only purchased the Presidential medals because he had recently become interested in the history of U.S. presidents.

With regard to the Hayes-Grant mule, Chinoy wonders if he has the only one in the country.

?I?d like to know how common it is,? said Chinoy. ?For now, I?m calling the Hayes piece a mule. Nobody knows how many are out there.?

Someday, Chinoy wants to get the correct medals to complete the set. In the meantime, he?s content to sit on what he has.

?I?m not going to call the Mint for a while,? said Chinoy. ?What if every one of those medals is wrong? Then there?d be no hurry. But if I?ve got the only one, then wow!?