Skip to main content

Get ready for big price for fantastic error

I have had a year’s worth of emails about cent errors due to discoveries of two new ones at the beginning of last year.

What will the sale of an incredible Year 2000 Washington quarter/Sacagawea dollar mule bring me?

I am about to find out.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will offer the newly found 17th known example of this famous error coin at its official auction at the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Baltimore Expo in March.

Struck on a golden dollar coin planchet, the mule features a Washington obverse paired with the dollar's Flying Eagle reverse.

The auction firm notes the initial skepticism that greeted discovery of the first example of this error in late May 2000.

But by June 19, 2000, the Mint had acknowledged the error as genuine.

It sold for $29,900 in August 2000.

And the price kept rising as more were found.

Stack’s Bowers said it heard reports of a sale in the neighborhood of $250,000 in the 2007-2008 time frame.

An auction conducted by the firm at the August 2012 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money saw an example bring $158,625.

What will the present one bring nearly six years later?

And what will collectors do in response to the upcoming news flash?

Stack’s cites error expert Fred Weinberg to tell the tale of the error’s creation.

Around 1998 or 1999, the Mint instituted an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule requiring employees in specific roles be rotated into other positions on a periodic basis, adding to the potential for confusion in the Die Room.

Sometime in spring 2000, a coin press operator requested an obverse die for the new Sacagawea dollar from the Die Room and was given instead an obverse die for a quarter.

Thousands of error coins were struck, but the Mint was able to identify and retrieve most of them.

The firm also mentions that one collector, Tommy Bollock, owns 12 of the 17 known pieces.

Frank Wallis is credited with discovering the first reported example in May 2000 in Arkansas.

This first coin is the one that sold for $29,900.

How many multiples of this price will No. 17 fetch?

We will see.

When I report the results, it will be off to the races with more error coin questions in my email inbox.

I will keep on eye on Stack's Bowers and keenly await the results.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

• Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.