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Jeff Garrett: Collecting Error Coins

How to get comfortable in this challenging and fascinating corner of numismatics

By Jeff Garrett for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) ……
My daily assortment of emails contains quite a few inquiries about rare coins and mint collect. People run across a news program article, or something I have written about, and think they might have something of value. Over the years, some amazing things have surfaced, and I am careful to respond to every agreement. My recently purchased roll up of 13,000 Morgan silver dollars started with such an electronic mail. The “ Antiques Roadshow ” expression of what I do for a living makes every day potentially stimulate !
unfortunately, however, approximately 90 % of the emails I receive are from people who think they might have a rare coin, and it is my job to disappoint them. One of the most frequent inquiries is about the much-misunderstood topic of mint errors.

rarely does a day go by that I do not receive an electronic mail or call about mint errors. This dawn, a lady called because she had heard that a rare 1975 Roosevelt dime had sold for over $ 100,000. She is correct, but I needed to then explain to her the dispute between a Proof 1975 Roosevelt dime without a mintmark and the common coin she had that was lone worth a dime bag. It took some convert and solitaire on my separate .

Common Mint Errors

For the majority of Americans, finding a coin with a batch mistake is extremely exciting and apparently like hitting the lottery. That ’ s because most have no mind how coarse minor batch errors are, and we find it hard to believe otherwise. Examples of common US batch errors are as follows :

  • Off-center – An off-center mint error can range from slightly off-center to nearly off the planchets. Until the last decade or so, these were seen quite often on lower denomination coinage and worth just a few dollars each.
  • Blank planchets – These mint errors are incredibly common, and cents can be purchased for just a few dollars.
  • Die breaks – Die breaks are very common on early coinage and usually do not bring a premium.
  • Cuds – These are caused when a portion of the die breaks off, and part of the design is obscured.
  • Missing letters – Missing letters are usually caused by grease or foreign material on the dies.
  • Clipped planchets – With clipped planchets, the planchets are punched out incorrectly, and portions of the design are missing. These are very common.

The Guide Book of United States Coinage ( known as the “ Red Book ” ) has a fantastic section in the back of the book devoted to the submit of mint errors. This guide book will give you an idea of the most normally seen errors and their values .

Major Mint Errors

major batch errors are another matter and are highly collectible .
Some have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in late years. One of the most celebrated mint errors of all clock is the 1943 Bronze cent. These coins were struck by mistake during World War II when the country was producing cents in steel to preserve copper for shell casings .
The 1943 Bronze cent is also one of the most counterfeited coins of all time. There are thousands and thousands of copper-plated steel cents in private hands. This means that every time one of the real mint errors makes the news for being sold for six figures, the phones ring off the bait in coin shops around the area.


respective books have been published about major mint errors. Mike Byers wrote the Worlds Greatest Mint Errors in ‘ coffee bean board ’ format, and brought the reader stories of Byers years of buying, sell, and discovering the most dramatic and amazing mint errors and die trials ever found in the U.S. and across the world .
Whitman Publishing besides released The 100 Greatest Error Coins by Nick Brown, Fred Weinberg and Dave Camire ( NGC ) chronicles the amaze world of great mint errors that slipped out the doors of the US Mint over the years. Some of the most celebrated and spectacular pieces include :

  • 2000 Washington quarter/Sacagawea dollar mule
  • 1968 and 1975 Roosevelt dimes Proof No-S
  • 1906 Indian cent struck on gold planchet
  • 1993-D Lincoln cent mule with Roosevelt dime reverse
  • 1995-P Roosevelt dime mule with Lincoln cent obverse

Watch for Counterfeits

As confusing as the topic of batch errors is for the average person, the trouble has been compounded in recent years by a proliferation of counterfeit batch errors that are being sold on the internet and elsewhere. Counterfeiters are producing an range of complicated mint errors using the same dies they use to make standard fakes. I have seen double-struck Morgan dollars, off‐center colonials, off‐metal Seated coinage … just about everything you can think of fabricate !
The world of batch errors is an excellent discipline of the mint process, as you can learn a bunch about how coins are actually made. You will need to do your homework, however, to determine what to pay for error coins. There are no real price guides, and as I have mentioned many times in former articles, you should find an technical to assist you in this ( or any ) complicated part of the grocery store. It is besides necessity to buy NGC-certified coins because evening experts have trouble authenticating mint errors these days.

Oftentimes, mint errors may seem depreciate considering the rarity of major errors. The well news is that you can start with cheap coins that are identical interesting and work your way up as your cognition increases. so, the adjacent time you find a foreign mint in circulation, keep in mind that you might not get rich, but you will have the chance to discover a fascinate recess of numismatics .
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