It shouldn’t surprise me but it does that some readers think that the recent spate of Presidential dollar errors was created on purpose by the Mint.
Any manufacturing process has a rate of error. Striking coins is a manufacturing process. For a process that has been around a while, the rate of error is fairly low. That is true of the Mint, but because the Mint strikes 15 billion coins or so a year, even a tiny error rate translates into rather large numbers of errors, though most are minor.
When a new manufacturing process is introduced, the error rate is much higher. Adding edge lettering to the Presidential dollar coins is a new manufacturing process. It is no surprise that there are a number of errors generated by it.
When the creation of a coin like the Presidential dollar involves two manufacturing processes to reach the final struck state, the number of errors rises by the combined error rates of the two manufacturing processes. Even if the Mint has the best quality control in the world, stuff just happens.
Once Presidential dollars are struck and are ready to be sent out to the banking system, if a few have no edge lettering, or twice-applied edge lettering, it is virtually impossible to catch with a visual inspection.
It makes me feel old just to look at a Presidential dollar’s edge. The lettering is tiny and rather shallow. Imagine trying to find mistakes amid hundreds of thousands of coins moving by at once.
This is not an easy task.
I know the suspicions will not go away. I can’t change that. What I can do though is write that there doesn’t yet seem to be any Presidential dollar errors that seem to have been “helped” along as was the case with the Sacagawea dollar when its production began.
It also pays to remember that it was the error hobby itself that pointed out to the Mint that some of those Sac errors, the mules specifically, would be impossible without some kind of inside help.
The error hobby proved to be right and the Mint had to scramble to prosecute the employees involved.
I will watch those who are active in the study of errors and my actions will be guided by theirs.
So far, things look clean. Let’s enjoy the publicity we get as a hobby from the errors.