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More Washington dollar errors scrutinized

Collectors continue to report finding errors on the 2007 George Washington Presidential dollars. While the inscriptionless,

Collectors continue to report finding errors on the 2007 George Washington Presidential dollars. While the inscriptionless, ?smooth edge,? dollars are still being found by numerous searchers, some even rarer types are also appearing.

Shawn Bell of Pennsylvania reports finding a Philadelphia specimen with a doubled edge inscription along the entire edge of the coin. According to Bell:

?I found this coin while searching George Washington original bank wrapped rolls my wife Michelle picks me up from our local bank in Leechburg, Pa., almost on a daily basis. I found on Feb. 17 in about the third roll of the new George Washington dollars I ever opened. I had to look twice to believe what I was seeing. The coin has two complete sets of the wording: 2007 P ? E PLURIBUS UNUM ? IN GOD WE TRUST, around it. The letters are readable, with the words facing upright towards the reverse of the coin on both sets of wording. If you use the date as the starting point, the second set of wording starts almost exactly 180 degrees from the first ones. Somehow the letters all seem to intermingle between the open spacing between the second set of letters, with only about four letters actually struck on top of one another, giving it quite the appearance. I also believe it was the first one of its kind that surfaced. As of this date I only personally know of three that exist, that I saw pictures of. It?s kind of a small miracle it turned up in the hands of a avid error collector such as myself and not in a jar, pop machine, or other endless places hidden from the world.?


One of the three known examples of the error type sold on eBay on April 1 as Item No. 180100590824 at a closing bid of $1,825. It saw 36 bids from eight unique bidders and was sold without the benefit of being certified. It undoubtedly would have sold for more had it been professionally graded, authenticated and encapsulated by a major grading service and had the seller not decided to publicly air concerns about its authenticity in the Questions From Other Members section of the auction where a seller may opt to openly respond to inquiries rather than keep them private. In this case publicly airing those concerns probably did the seller more harm than good.

The auction coin differed from Bell?s coin in that the two sets of lettering were orientated in the opposite directions from each other.

The most obvious cause of the double inscriptions is that these coins passed through the Schuler edge-lettering machine twice. Bell supplied the photographs of the edge of the coin shown here.

In the March 27 issue we showed images of a 2007-P Washington dollar with partially shifted edge lettering that resulted in E PLURIBU UNUM shifted way too far to the west with it beginning almost backed up against the ?P? mintmark. Bell also reports finding several of the shifted inscriptions in his area while Gil Medina of Utah reported finding a single example out of over 1,000 coins searched over a period of a week. In the photographs he supplied we can see that his was found on a Denver Mint specimen and that E PLURIBUS UNUM is shifted far to the west nearly up against the ?D? mintmark in a very similar fashion to the Philadelphia example we showed previously.


Butch Parrish of Virginia reported finding a planchet in a roll of Philadelphia Washington quarters. He said: ?I had been unsuccessful finding bank rolls of George Washington dollars here in Hampton, Va., so when my wife and I traveled to Shelby, N.C., to visit relatives, I decided to try banks in Shelby. I had to go no further than my mother?in?law?s bank, RBC Centura, to pick up a half dozen rolls, all Philadelphia mint. In talking with the teller, I learned that she had opened a number of rolls to supply the dollar coins to fill customer requests. She stated that she had just opened another roll and found this ?disc? in it. I asked to see it, told her that I believed it was a planchet that had not completed manufacture to become a dollar coin and that I would like to buy it. She charged me a dollar. That?s what the bank had paid for it. This occurred on the 27th of February. I told her that I would buy all the blank dollar coins that she found and would check back with her before I left town. I checked back with her on Friday morning, March 2nd, as we left town; she was all sold out of George dollars and had found no more blanks.?


Parrish supplied the image of the planchet shown above, which can be seen to have the raised upset rim diagnostic to a planchet, which is the proper term for a blank after it has been run through the upset mill or rimmer. This process of upsetting the rim helps facilitate the flow of metal into this area of the coin during the strike and also aids in standardizing their diameter in the event any blanks are slightly too large.

Another variation we?ve shown previously is where the edges of some of the dollars show isolated ?extra? characters in random locations as horizontally flipped ?mirror images? of one of the edge characters. They appear to have been raised and then flattened almost even with the field as if after being raised normally they were rolled flat by the edge-lettering die.


Amy and Kyle McKinney of Louisiana sent one in that they have on a Philadelphia issue showing a misplaced ?S? between the ?B? and ?U? of PLURIBUS. The cause is still unknown with it speculated that it could be occurring in the edge-lettering machine when if gets jammed and the pressure builds up. It is theorized that under such conditions, pressure could build up to a point that an incuse letter from a normally edge-lettered coin could be forced up against the edge of a second coin and act like a die and raise up the errant letter on the edge of the second coin.

It is possible that an misshapen error coin such as a double strike or an off-center could jam the machine if it somehow entered the channel leading to the edge-lettering area of the die. However, there is also speculation in other quarters that this could be occurring outside of the Mint in coin wrapping machines, etc. An answer from the Mint on the cause of this and other errors types that they committed themselves to address is eagerly awaited.

With the ?smooth edge? errors still being found in bank-wrapped rolls containing both Philadelphia and Denver Mint coins, collectors are, of course, still attempting to determine how many escaped the Mints. Mint officials have still not been able to provide that information, suggesting at as much as a fill bin or more may have escaped from each facility without going through the edge-lettering machine. They have issued one correction, indicating that the number of coins contained in the bins at Philadelphia that are used to move them from the coining presses to the edge-lettering station, is actually about half the 350,000 pieces originally stated. In a March 22 release, the Mint noted that the tubs used for this purpose hold 150,000 to no more than 170,000 coins. They have acknowledge that more than one tub may have escaped at each of the minting facilities, though hobby observers have stated that the Denver versions have been far fewer than the Philadelphia.

The Denver and Philadelphia issues appear to be able to be differentiated from one another by the amount of the copper core (or lack thereof) that can be observed on the respective issues. The Philadelphia pieces tend to show a wide band of copper on the edge while the Denver issues have a predominantly golden edge with very little or none of the copper core showing. In time this may not prove to be a reliable marker, but to date it seems to be holding true.

Collectors should be aware of the fact that the smooth-edge errors could be repeated again on any of the Presidential issues to follow. The next coin to be released will bear the portrait of our second President, John Adams. Keep your eyes open. We?d like to hear more reader reports on these interesting errors.

Correction notice:  I?d like to point out that a statement that I made in my April 3, Page 4 article on the 2007-P Washington dollar with a die gouge running through Miss Liberty was inaccurate. I attributed the find to Jim Susack of New Jersey but in actuality, he did not find the coin by searching for it as I stated. He had purchased it on eBay from Shawn Bell. I should have credited Susack as the submitter of the coin ? not the finder. I apologize for the mistake.

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 63 cents postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076, or by contacting him via e-mail at An educational image gallery may be viewed on his Web site at