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Community Voice Responses (Aug. 22, 207)

 (Image courtesy CC BY-SA 3.0,

(Image courtesy CC BY-SA 3.0,

From the July 28 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Will public interest in error coins lead to the growth of numismatics?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

There will always be a small and dedicated part of society that remain scholarly to numismatics, or stamps, or genuine American Western belt buckles (used, of course), classic cars and Pez dispensers.

However, the majority are solely interested in “What can I flip it for?” We have turned into a live-only-for-profit, instant gratification, being in first place and “owed-an-apology” society for the most part. They will pass in time but are here for the while, in my opinion.

I love varieties. The late, great Walter Breen forecast that in his landmark Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins from decades ago. Just last July, I was rummaging through a dealer’s bucket of 90 percent silver and nabbed a very scarce FS-recognized 1928-S Liberty Standing quarter. I sent the coin in and it was returned VF-35 with the designation. (The coin would have been neat in that grade if nothing else.) OK, OK, that was a cool find, but it is in the same arena as to what you are referring here. The coins are out there, and effort coupled with dedication at least rewards one with learning about proper grading and originality.

Paul V. Battaglia
Milford, N.H.

The obvious or visible errors help get their attention but only if the value exceeds the coin face value.

Most people are only interested in the purchasing power, not the aesthetics.

Wesley Ellis
Portland, Ore.

Any time the hobby gets publicity, the growth of numismatics is promoted. When the public is told that a circulating coin is worth $10,000, everyone reading the story starts looking, like a treasure hunt.

When a coin club or coin dealer announces that a rare coin is put in circulation, the public becomes interested. Error coins cause similar interest. The excitement of the find is what hooks new collectors.

The present problem with the hobby is the diminishing ability to make exciting circulation finds. In recent years, double dies have been the best circulation finds. The Mint would do the hobby a big favor if it were a bit more sloppy. Another 1955 double die, where the doubling is clearly visible with the naked eye, is just the ticket.

My favorite error is the coin struck off center. One does not need good vision to tell that something went wrong at the Mint. If only the Mint would reuse an old style press ...

Bruce Frohman
Modesto, Calif.


William Johnston
Address withheld

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

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.

• Download The Metal Mania Seminar with David Harper to learn more about the metals market.