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Community Voice Responses (06/05/12)

From the May 11th Numismatic E-Newsletter: Have you ever found an error coin when looking through your change?
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From the May 11th Numismatic E-Newsletter: Have you ever found an error coin when looking through your change?

Many years ago, back in July 1982, my family and I had just gotten back to Philadelphia, from a trip to Italy, and decided to eat at local Burger King near our home. In change, I received three quarters and a penny — a 1972 P.
Upon examining the penny, the date appeared to be doubled, even with the naked eye. Being an error and variety collector, I knew that there are several obverse doubled-die varieties for the 1972 “P” Lincoln cent. So, when I got home, I verified my suspicions that I truly had a 1972 doubled-die Lincoln cent of obverse die #1 (DDO-1), condition of AU 50, at the time having a value of approximately $175. It goes to show you, you never know what you find in change.
What a great way to end a vacation.
Mike Brister
Philadelphia, Pa.

I have only found minor errors in change: die cracks, chips, cud breaks and very rarely a die clash. If the condition is good enough I’ll keep them, but I have never found anything very exciting, error wise, in change — no extra leaf Wisconsin quarters or banana stickers under the serial numbers of my $20 bills.
Be that as it may, I must share that being in the minting industry (in the private sector) for 25-ish years, I have found the best source for finding error coins are used coin presses. Used coining presses are treasure troves of numismatic anomalies, especially if they have an overseas pedigree. Since I had the job of preparing used presses for use, I got the opportunity to dig through the oil sumps and every internal nook and cranny of these machines. I have a saying that if you leave a space just big enough for a coin blank or coin to escape to, one will find its way there, and they do. When the mints dispose or sell their used equipment, they go through them and remove any blanks or coins they see. But they don’t bother taking all the covers off and cleaning out the internal workings of the equipment, which are where these items are typically found.
Just a short list of items I have found include coined quarter strip webbing coined with Mississippi state quarter dies; coined finger fragments with dime and other state quarter designs; I built a full set of U.S. coin blanks (1 cent-“Golden” dollar); a multi-struck German 2 pfennig; a beautiful off-center strike (baseball cap style) of a 1 Senti from Lesotho (how many error coins are known from Lesotho?); Indian 1 rupee blanks with the security edge groove already applied; matching Hong Kong scalloped 10-cent coins and blanks; casino tokens; enough change to buy donuts for my crew once; and so much more (including tools). Refurbishing old coin presses is a dirty job, but the thrill of the chance of finding unknown treasures sure made it a lot of fun.
Sean Moffatt
Couer d’Alene, Idaho

I checked it, and found a good-size cud (I guess the start and end points were around 70 degrees apart) and three small clips. I misplaced the coin before I could get it safely into my collection and have not seen it since. Perhaps it is still out there, waiting for another collector to stumble upon it.
Walter Fortner
Milwaukie, Ore.

Yes, I have found several error coins, blank cent planchet, clipped coin on cent, double clip on a dime, offset on a cent, a 1983 doubled-die reverse Lincoln cent, 1984 doubled-die obverse Lincoln, shattered die obverse die crack on a dime. These are some of the coins I remember.
Jim Bassett
Yorkville, Ill.

I’ve found two or three. The best is a 1967 cent that had multiple doubling all over the obverse, as well as the clothing area of the Lincoln bust imprinting through to the reverse to a degree. Whenever I get around to it, I’ll have it professionally looked at. I’ve found several that have the basic blemishes, if you will, that don’t have any dollar worth or that there really isn’t a collector market for at this point in time.
Bryan New
Columbia, Ky.

I have found numerous errors in my change though the years, some broadstrikes and only one 1995 doubled-die obverse in AU-50-AU-52 shape. I have been going through my older coins and finding a few doubled dies in the early 1960s proof and mint sets. But the hunt goes on.
Al Montana
East Longmeadow, Mass.

Yes, especially the BIE Lincoln cents
Joe Powers
Midland, Mich.

Do not know if it is a mistake, although I have never seen a coin like it. I have some 2005 nickels, “Ocean in View” obverse, and buffalo obverse, with a strong copper tone, not the usual nickel tone.
William Lambertson
Ephrata, Pa.

I have several error coins. I lived in Jacksonville, Fla., when the Washington dollar was released, and it happens that is where all the plain-edge dollars came. I got 40 of them from five rolls. I sold fivefor $300 each the first day, and they were down to $100 in three days, as the market was flooded. Of the ones I have left, I had nine graded at NGC, three of those have a star burst on the obverse — small, squiggly lines emanating from Washington to the edge of the coin — and on the reverse, the spikes of the crown on the Statue of Liberty are somewhat doubled, with a ghostlike set of spikes etched into the area above the spikes. I put on the slip to NGC that I wanted to have this made note of. I apparently was supposed to send these in separately and pay more for error coins, which I was unaware of, so they came back just graded. I have 13 more of them, and several have this same type error to varying degrees; some just have it on one side. I am curious if this has been a recognized error by Wexler or the other group (starts with a “C,” cannot recall the name). I also have some other errors, lots of misstruck pennies.
Randy Dull
Nokomis, Fla.

My son was closing out the cash drawer at his work and noticed that a quarter appeared unusual. He brought it home to me for examination and this is what he had found:
OBV: Possible 1993P Washington Quarter struck on a possible US 5 cent planchet, not reeded on edge, smooth, coppered colored; weight: 5.1 grams; width: 22.5 mm; shape is slightly oblong with the rim partially covering the date, legends and motto; date/legend/motto are very weak.
REV: Eagle expanded; left wing not fully present; no details on head, chest is bare, no details on leaves, etc.
Rodney A. Morison
Fredericksburg, Va.

Yes, I have found several coins. The best was a 1983 doubled-die reverse cent. (XF/AU) I’ve also found a 75 percent overstrike cent with a blank. I also have a few off-center strikes. I have about a half a dozen wide AM cents. Many misaligned dies. I check all of my pocket change every day. It is well worth the time.
R. Miller
York, Pa.

Yes, I’ve found a Canadian dime at my family’s pharmacy in the early 1960s. The obverse is off-centered, thin border on one side, thick on the other. I was told it had a value of $7 to $8 10 years ago.
At the same time period, I had also pulled out a Standing Liberty quarter, since they were disappearing. It turned out to be a 1927-S. What a pair of finds. Can any other readers top these two finds?
Gary Kess
Escalon, Calif.

Yes, over the years I have found several in change. All of them have been cents, and most are die breaks. It is fun to find such.
Griff Carnes
Kerrville, Texas

I once found a blank planchet cent.
Ginger Rapsus
Chicago, Ill.

A few years ago, while searching through rolls of quarter dollars, I came across a 1971-P Washington quarter that appeared to be a doubled-die reverse.
I had just purchased the book on “The Best of the Washington Quarter Double Die Varieties,” and after checking I found this exact coin on pages 171 & 172. I sent the coin in to ANACS to have it graded, and it came back in EF-45 condition giving it a value $850, according to the book. According to the book, this coin is considered not just rare but “Extremely Rare.” Ever since then, I have found dozens of other coin varieties while searching bank rolls.
Dennis Ringler
Address withheld

Years ago, very young, seeing “funny mint marks” on war nickels. I had seen very noticeable doubled-die coins over the years, a few blank planchets or coins missing most of an obverse or reverse. My pre-numismatically aware thoughts related to my general, lifelong thoughts of global decay: They can’t even make money right.
Going through my change jar last month, sorting and rolling coins, found two doubled-die cents. Still sitting on my work desk — coins and painting area — ’82, ’83, can’t remember; don’t really care. Know not to roll them for deposit. Not personally an error fan; I need to staple them into flips and toss ’em into the U.S. under-$100 value cigar box.
I keep my coins in collected, dovetail-joined, beautifully labeled, vintage wooden cigar boxes, in a hidden, built-in, fireproof safe. Gold and high-value rarities in one; bullion and accumulated silver obsolete rolls in one; one each for nicer world and U.S. pieces ($100-$300 value); then one each for just stuff I like in similar categories. I mainly accumulate silver coins; they don’t even go into the safe. Other varied, interesting, low-value pieces in a binder of flip-holding pages. I have additional boxes for select mint products and bank notes. In general, I have the most “fun” with the modest pieces. The past couple years I’ve been avidly collecting mid-19th to early 20th century copper and bronze world coins chosen on design, history, geography and quality alone — some beautiful, low-cost pieces, some quite rare — growing into a beautiful collection. But, as many numismatic enthusiasts, ever plotting my more substantive acquisitions, my rule is when any category overflows its box, it is time to inventory and sell some pieces, reinvesting the returns on a nicer piece. Something about a cigar box that I know is mostly silver filled, weighing well more than a kilo — to me that is sort of cool!! Like any smarter collector, few know the actual extent of my holdings.
In my 50s, happily single, with no heirs, what will I ever do with all this stuff? Perhaps sell most of it in a decade or so and take a nice trip somewhere, maybe buy an odd vintage car and go on a crazy road trip. It, for me, has been a fun, interesting, personally enriching hobby. It is one I got serious about when I got sober many years ago, far more reasonable and healthy going on a “coin bender” than the other type (for me, anyway). I feel far more productive in my time spent in my pursuits than many of my associates watching “Dancing With the Stars,” “American Idol” the NFL, NBA, etc. My friends make fun of me for my corny interest. I’ve learned to contain my enthusiasm for my acquisition of treasures and be more creative about my gift giving than coins. I have given some far too rare and beautiful things to unappreciative, unknowing recipients. But I have a nice, very liquid “portfolio” in addition to my traditional investments.
Name withheld