Skip to main content

Community Voice Response: March 3, 2020

From the Feb. 7, 2020, Numismatic News E-NewsLetter

Have you come across any error coins in circulation or in an inherited collection? If so, what was it?

Here are some answers sent in from our E-Newsletter readers.

I’ve found a few “BIE” error coins,a couple of RPMs, some strike-throughs, and a couple die breaks. Many of those were found while coin roll hunting in Lincoln cents.

Garry Bowers
La Junta, Colo.

In 1980 I received an off-center Lincoln cent sans date during a convenience store transaction. The clerk was relieved that I did not demand another in replacement. Yes, I still have the coin. It may be $4-5 now.

Wesley Ellis
Portland, Ore.

I recently have come across two 2019 Lincoln cents with decent-sized reverse die cracks. They are brilliant uncirculated red condition. I was able to find them without magnification and they are great to see in the hand! You can still find some nice errors in modern coinage! Collect what you like, friends!

Tony Brubaker
Elkton, Md.

I found a 1983 double die reverse cent in a coin jar I was rolling up for the bank. It was graded AU-58 BN by NGC. I found it in July of 2017.

Rich Vatovec
Birmingham, Ala.

I have come across a fair amount of coins in circulation over my lifetime (I am now 72) that I have held onto because they looked different from others in circulation. About 2009 when gold started to rise in value, I became interested in acquiring coins for investment, and also started to educate myself by purchasing coin books, joining the ANA, SSDC, NGC and PCGS Collectors Society, CAC, etc. As a result, I began to review my holdings for possible errors and varieties.

The following three are the most prominent error coins that I found in circulation:

(1) 1946-S Roosevelt dime that is a Broadstrike without Collar, Type 2. Grade looks to be VG-6

(2) 1947-S Roosevelt dime with a Misplaced Text Stop (0.2 mm round, raised feature) just left of the Torch Upper Band. Grade looks to be MS-66

(3) 1963 Jefferson nickel that is a Bonded set of three planchets. Grade looks to be EF-45. Diameter is oversize by 0.41 mm; thickness is over max design by 0.52 mm; Weight is over by 0.14 gm.

Proto Rim is high and thin. Distinct planchet delineations can be viewed at various points along a portion of the coin’s edge.

Gary Silvers
Address Withheld

In 1967, I received a Franklin half dollar in change that had a lamination error on the obverse. I was 9-years-old and was thrilled to get an obsolete silver half dollar in change but didn’t realize it was an error until I later became a serious collector.

Mark Saladino
Palm Springs, Calif.

After going threw nine $500 dollar boxes of quarters looking for W mint marks, the tenth box had a nice 1994 broad strike. This is the first and only error coin I’ve ever found in circulation.

Johnny Widener
Lincolnton, N.C.

I have a unique situation that allows me to find mint errors. I have been in the minting industry (private sector) for over 30 years. In that time I have refurbished many used coin presses. Most have been ex-government (both U.S. and foreign). Over the years I have developed a saying that goes “used coin presses are treasure troves of numismatic anomalies.”

I have found probably 100+ errors, mostly minor, but there have been a few major finds. I have found thousands of blanks and hundreds of coins. In the last ex-U.S. mint press, I purchased in the second-hand market, I found enough change in the bowels of the press to buy donuts for my entire mint staff for a week (after the oil, grease, and dirt was cleaned off the coins.)

I rebuilt some old HME CM1 presses that were ex-Birmingham mint that were just chock full of coins, blanks, and errors of royal mint outsourced products from the 70s and 80s for countries like Lesotho, Trinidad & Tobago, Hong Kong, India, and Angola. I might have the only known error coin from Lesotho, I have never seen another one. I have found precious metal blanks and bullion products when purchasing presses from some failed private bullion mints (typically 1-ounce rounds and bars, but also many base metal medallions and badges.)

It is not just coins that can be found, there is also damaged tooling, like coined feed fingers, tools, and other interesting items. The largest mint error I have ever seen, and maybe the largest mint error known, was on an old Schuler M200 press that had a pedigree of the Karlsrue mint in West Germany. The “feed plate” which is about 12 in. wide by 9 in. high and half-in. thick had one-third of the obverse and reverse of an Ecuadorian 1 Sucre (KM-78b) coined into the plate on either side near the center opening. That must have been exciting when that happened. That plate was still usable and I ran it for almost 10 years before the company was sold.

I have pictures of many of these items. I have used many of these items in a presentation that was first given at the CSNA (California state numismatic association) education seminar in 2015. I am also trying to write a book on the minting process and what can go wrong with many of the graphic errors I have found and many I have had to repair.

Sean Moffatt
Oklahoma City, Okla.