Would you check the edge of your 2007-S proof Jefferson dollars if you knew it meant you could be up to tens of thousands of dollars richer?
While I cannot state with any certainty what the Out-Of-Sequence Edge Motto error dollars would sell for, I can say that the original finder – Mesa, Ariz., collector Vitto Pierri – was asking tens of thousands of dollars for his discovery sets when he first found four of the errors and had them confirmed by Coin World and then the United States Mint.
Instead of correctly reading: “2007 S – E PLURIBUS UNUM – IN GOD WE TRUST,” the edges on the error dollars read, “2007 S – IN GOD WE TRUST – E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Raised vertical lines can be seen on the edge of the 2007 and 2008 proof Presidential dollars representing where a bit of metal squeezes out between each edge collar segment during striking. There are also two very weak deliminator dots, one preceding the date and another following UNUM.
It has now been 10 years since I alerted Numismatic News readers of this major edge inscription error, and it has been six years since I included it in the Cherrypickers’ Guide To Rare Die varieties 5th edition Vol. II by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton, which I edited. Yet to date, there have been no reports of additional finds since the first four specimens were originally publicized in late March of 2008.
The coins were found within a group of 200 2007 four-coin Presidential dollar proof sets ordered by Pierri directly from the Mint early in the ordering period in 2007. The sets include San Francisco minted proof versions of the 2007-dated George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison dollars. To date, the error is only known on the Jefferson dollars.
The date, mintmark, and mottoes were applied to the edges of proof Presidential dollars by a three-piece segmented collar that surrounds the coin planchet and simultaneously impresses the incuse edge inscription into the coin while the obverse and reverse dies are striking up the designs.
“Each segment [of the collar] is indexed and placed by hand in a holder,” according to Mint spokesman Michael White in a March 20, 2008, statement. In effect, all it took was a simple mistake in the hand placement of the segments for the mottoes to appear out of order.
The collars for the proof Presidential dollars are changed frequently. “It is estimated that on average each segmented collar produces 30,000 coins,” said White at the time.
One week later, in a March 27 statement, the Mint noted that as many as 100,000 of the errors might have been produced early in the production run before measures were taken to prevent the error from occurring.
Where are they? Do you have one in your 2007-S four-coin dollar proof set?
To reach 100,000 suggests that as many as three or more collar changes could have been involved during production, but it does not state that this is what actually occurred.
The conspicuous lack of any reports of additional finds for this error suggests that only one segmented collar might have been involved and that its use in an out-of-sequence configuration may have been quite limited.
The question is, how many of the errors actually did get out? It is my contention that if Pierri found four in his lot of 200 sets that surely there are more to be found. However, the Mint packaging makes them a bit awkward to examine. In the time since the error was first discovered, many collectors have indicated to me that they didn’t think the edges of these dollars could be viewed while in the Mint holder and that they have not bothered to look. This could be a very unfortunate mistake for some, since the edges can be quickly examined once you get used to it.
Because the collar is in a set position, the inscriptions don’t float around in different positions as they do on the business strikes that are fed into edge lettering machines at random after they have been struck.
Since it seems so few sets have been checked, the potential for this error being present in unchecked sets is a distinct reality that should not be overlooked. I ask readers to look and let Numismatic News know what you find. While none of these errors have been reported on the other Presidential dollar coins in the set, I recommend that you check the edges of these, too. Good luck in your hunt!
Ken Potter is co-author of Strike It Rich With Pocket Change and has penned many feature articles for Numismatic News and for World Coin News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. An educational image gallery may be viewed on his web site at koinpro.tripod.com.
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