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Missing top layer makes quarter rare

Two areas show a missing top layer of nickel alloy. The larger one at the bottom fell off after the strike. This is indicated by the reverse. It would not have struck up properly if the planchet had been thinner. The little copper-colored wedge at 11 o’clock, because it lacks detail, indicates the top nickel alloy layer was missing on that spot. The reverse confirms this because the first part of E PLURIBUS UNUM is missing. The planchet there was not thick enough to strike properly.

Rorrie McCoy of Montana has reported what is to the best of my knowledge a new error coin combination never seen before by the hobby!

While I have seen several of the basic error type, I have never seen or heard of one with this combination of effects. The coin has a long-winded description being a 2007-D Idaho state quarter struck on a partial copper obverse rolled to proper quarter thickness with two areas of a missing layer of nickel alloy cladding that fell away after the planchet was produced; one area at about 11 o’clock fell away before the planchet was struck, and the other larger area of unbonded cladding below the TE of UNITED fell away after the coin was struck. The area of copper rolled to proper thickness falls between these two areas running from Washington’s forehead to the rim.

If all this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. The error type was first explained to me by the United States Mint in 1985 for a 1981-P Roosevelt dime I had sent to them with a copper reverse rolled to proper thickness that also had cladding in an area that fell away. They said the error was due to coolant being trapped between the copper core and an outer layer of cupronickel during bonding.

As the heat and pressure increased during the bonding process, the outer layer of clad burst, leaving an area of exposed copper. The outer clad layer was folded over upon itself outside the exposed copper area, and it and the area of exposed copper was eventually rolled to the proper thickness for dime stock.

However, the displaced cladding failed to bond and fell away from the planchet before it was struck. In the case of this dime (which also bears a unique error combination), the cladding that fell away created an area of missing metal that looks very much like a Straight Clip (though it technically is not), which caused a mishap in the coin being ejected from the press and it being struck twice. One error frequently causes a chain reaction with it causing yet another error.

I’m showing the dime here for illustrative purposes.

The author learned how a top layer of cladding can fall away when getting an explanation as to how this dime came to feature the errors that it does.

McCoy’s quarter coin is the result of the same basic chain of events (other than the second strike), but it differs in that it boasts two areas of cladding that fell away – one area before the strike and the other after the strike.

This can be confirmed by an examination of the reverse of the coin. At about 7 o’clock (which is opposite 11 o’clock on the obverse), we see it is not fully struck up. This is due to the missing metal, the area of displaced cladding that already had fallen away before the strike.

Insufficient metal results in a weak strike.

Conversely, the area on the reverse opposite the larger area of missing nickel alloy clad top layer is fully struck up, indicating that the cladding was there at the time the coin was struck and then it fell away later.

Another indicator that the cladding was present in the larger area of missing metal is the formation of a rim and ghostly images of LIBERTY, QUAR of QUARTER and Washington’s profile. A strong strike due to a full thickness of planchet material facilitated this formation, while such characteristics are absent in the smaller area of missing clad at around 11 o’clock. This coin weighs 5.2 grams versus the normal 5.67 grams of a clad quarter due to the missing nickel alloy clad areas, which in themselves may have been thinner than normal due to the nature of the mishap.

McCoy noted that his mother Medori Pfeiffer originally found the coin in circulation several years ago. She put it away with other coins she was saving, which he started gathering up about two weeks ago to look at.

He found this coin in an old film container with two other quarters but did not notice it was anything special at first. It wasn’t until later that he flipped the coin over and noticed the error on the obverse. He got excited and reported it on the Facebook group COIN OPP. I am a member of COIN OPP, but I missed the post until I was alerted to it by group administrator Christopher Rhodes, whom I’d like the thank for the heads up.

At this point, one might ask what the value of such a coin is, but with it being a unique error type combination on a state quarter, it is an almost impossible question to answer.

What I can say is that it is easily valued in at least the three figures range, but who knows what it will ultimately sell for?

While it’s like comparing apples to oranges, I will note that state quarters with a complete top nickel alloy clad layer missing of the typical weight of 4.6 to 4.7 grams (of which many are known and are simply of the missing clad layer type and not with a copper obverse or reverse to start with) often sell within a range of about $200 to $600 in Heritage Auction sales, though some sell for less and others for more depending on the state involved; clad layers missing from the reverse sell for more than from the obverse.

These are an error type that can be found in auctions and in error dealer’s inventories at any time a collector wants one. However, this Idaho quarter is not of the same ilk, it being from a different cause and unique in the error combination. Theoretically, it should sell for much more than the typical missing clad layer coin assuming there are a few error collectors out there that are looking to add an error type/combination to their collection that they may never see offered again.

McCoy plans to research his coin more fully and then put it up for sale.

Finds like this one are a perfect example that there are coins out in circulation that are worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars that are just waiting to be found. All you have to do is look.

Photos of the Idaho quarter were supplied by McCoy.

Ken Potter is co-author of “Strike It Rich With Pocket Change” and has been a frequent contributor to “Numismatic News” for many years. More information about the error club, CONECA, that he represents may be obtained from him at kpotter256@aol.com. An educational image gallery can be found on his website at http://koinpro.tripod.com.


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


More Collecting Resources

• Error coins can bring big money. Learn to detect them and how to cash in on them with Strike It Rich With Pocket Change.

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.

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