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Minor errors plague Block Island quarters

Arrows point to areas of raised metal on the wings of the bird on the Block Island quarter. Metal flows into recessed areas in a die as the planchet is struck under great pressure. When a die chips or breaks, the affected area allows planchet metal to flow into the newly created space, leaving odd extra raised areas like these on the finished coin.

Greg Kipp of California opened a bag of the recently released 2018-P Block Island America the Beautiful quarters and found it stuffed full of minor error-varieties in the form of minor die chips and die breaks on and within the reverse design elements.

While such die chips and breaks have always been with us on all coin designs, the stresses of having to develop dies for five different designs per year since the introduction of the state quarter program in 1999 through today’s ATB series does not allow the Mint the time to optimize designs through years of tinkering, as would be the case with stationary designs such as the pre-1999 Washington quarters.

This lack of optimization results in more die cracks, die chips, and die breaks occurring than what might be normal. Additionally, because the designs are changing so frequently, collectors are looking more closely at their coins and finding these minor variations.

With each and every new design introduced we get a new barrage of questions about what is being found; “Is it a new variety,” “Is it listed or listable,” and “How much is it worth” are common questions.

To answer, die chips and die breaks are generally considered too minor for attributers to list, and because of this, nobody is listing them.

Value-wise, they elicit very little interest from buyers except for a small crowd in online auctions that see them get posted for sale, with a few selling before prices tumble to near face value and the sellers move on to the next design.

In the end, the buyers learn that such items rarely ever maintain any value over their normal numismatic value of perhaps 50 cents (double face value) for a BU coin, and they stop buying.

What I suggest to collectors who find such items interesting is to keep a few for posterity or educational value and concentrate most of your efforts on more significant error types.

 

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

 


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