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Error Coins Showcase Some Fun Mishaps

On Sept. 10, Heritage Auctions closed their Special Offering Error Coins Online Auction 60151.  It’s always fun to scan the results to see the mishaps made, and the Mint that made it, into collectors’ hands.  There were several coins struck on the wrong planchets (of course), while many others were off-center, had a double denomination, or were victims of the modern minting machines.

In addition, top dollar was paid for some very rare error coins at the Heritage Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction, which included a 2000-P $1 Sacagawea Dollar/Washington Statehood Quarter Mule that sold for $102,000.  It’s just one of 18 examples known and has been graded MS-67 NGC.  According to the Heritage website, this remarkable modern error has fascinated collectors for nearly two decades. Examples are known from three different die pairs, suggesting that the “goof” that created the mule occurred on more than one occasion, or that Mint employees recreated the blunder on a couple of presses after the first discovery was made public. In any case, the legality of owning any example has never been questioned.

Enjoy this gallery of errors, blunders, and goofs. If you have any of your favorites, or if you’ve been fortunate to come across any of your own, send us a picture and the story behind your find and perhaps we can feature it in an upcoming issue of Numismatic News.  You can reach us by email at numismatics@aimmedia.com.


sacagawea quarter mule

A 2000-P Sacagawea Dollar/Statehood quarter mule
recently sold for $102,000 at the Long Beach U.S. Signature Auction.
(Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

double struck morgan dollar

Double-struck in collar, this 1921 Morgan dollar, graded
AU-58 PCGS sold for $2,666.40. While the initial strike was normal, the coin was not ejected and was struck again with a slight
counter-clockwise rotation between strikes. Evidence of the second strike is strongest on ONE DOLLAR, AMERICA, and PLURIBUS UNUM.
(Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Off center cent

Slip sliding away! This example shows a Lincoln cent struck 25% off-center. Graded MS-62 Brown PCGS, it sold for $1,800. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

bonded Delaware

Selling for $2,100, this example shows a 1999-P Delaware quarter which was multi struck on two planchets that are bonded together. Instead of being ejected after initial strike, it clung to the statehood die and became a die cap. Before the last strike, a planchet was fed in, and the strike bonded the two pieces together. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

double denomination

This Mint error occurred on a 1979 5C Jefferson nickel…or is it a 1978 cent? Struck flush with the collar die at 2 o’clock, the nickel date is full and clear. The cent date is inverted and surprisingly sharp, located on Jefferson’s nose. Lincoln gazes west relative to Jefferson. The Lincoln Memorial is visible where it overlaps Monticello. A majority of IN GOD WE TRUST and more than half of E PLURIBUS is off the flan. Winning bid was $3,360. (Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.)

Double strike quarter

What a fun find! While this obvious error only sold for $528, it’s a fun one to see. Labeled a 1999-? 25C Connecticut Statehood quarter – double struck, it’s graded MS-64 PCGS. The first strike was a centered broad strike on a Type One planchet. The second strike was widely off-center toward 6:30, at 5 o’clock relative to the first strike. Both clock measurements are relative to the Washington side. A planchet (not included) was fed between strikes, and was struck between the statehood die and the statehood side from the first strike. The date (from the first strike) is bold. The mintmark is absent, overlapped by the second strike which has its mintmark off the flan.

planchet error

A 1943-S Jefferson nickel was accidentally struck on a steel cent planchet. You’ll notice it is slightly uncentered, with a full rim at nine o’clock on each side while the right side legends are partly off the flan. Aside from a handful of wrong planchet errors, steel cents were only struck in 1943. This error sold for $13,200. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

multiple strikes

n 2001, this unlucky quarter planchet must have become stuck in the feeder, resulting in a very irregularly shaped coin that somewhat resembles an outline of the state of Maine. The upper-left portion (relative to the statehood side) is unstruck, about half of the design is present, including Washington’s profile and most of the Statue of Liberty. The statehood side has the better strike, but the Washington side confirms multiple impressions of LIBERTY, QUARTER, and UNITED. Winning bid was $4,800. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.)

Kennedy nickel

A Kennedy nickel. Well actually, it’s a no date 50C Denver Mint Kennedy half dollar struck on a five-cent planchet. Definitely a challenging planchet combination! Graded MS-65 PCGS it sold for $1,170.

Kennedy cent

1972-S 50C Kennedy Half dollar, but struck on a cent planchet. The result is a scarce and desirable off-metal combination, much rarer than cents struck on dime planchets. This fire-red mint error has a bold mintmark. Much of the date is absent, but the top of the 7 and 2 are prominent. The centering favors Kennedy’s profile. LIBERTY and (appropriately) the denomination are absent. The central reverse is softly struck. The winner paid $7,500. (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

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