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Error Coins

Error Coins are coins that have some sort of a mistake on them, originating at the U. S. Mint. The coin errors can be caused by many different factors, including machine malfunction and even human error.

While most coin errors are found by employees of the mint and melted down to be used again in future coins, some of them are accidentally released to the public and do find their way into circulation.

There have even been a few cases throughout history when the error coins were deliberately made and released (probably sold) by unscrupulous or money hungry mint employees.

It is believed that this was the case when an error coin showed up in 2000 with the front of a 50 State Quarter and the back of a Sacagawea dollar. With lots of publicity from the media throughout the country, people began to go through their coins hoping to find one in their pocket or purse. And so it happened that there was a surge of new people joining the hobby of coin collecting.

And hey, how many other products can you find where a booboo or mistake can make the item more valuable than the perfect ones. If it were any other item, we would return it to the store for a refund.

Here are a few examples of some types of error coins:

Off-center Struck Coins:

This is a pretty common type of coin error and occurs when a coin blankA Blank is a prepared disk of metal with a slight rim on the edge on which the coin design will be stamped. doesn't go into the coining machine right. If part of the blank is out of position when the die comes down, the part that is sticking out will not be stamped with any of the design.

Off Center Struck Error Coin
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Double- and Multiple-Struck Coins:

This coin error can occur when a coin gets stuck in the coin press and gets stamped more than once. Sometimes it can get stamped over and over again.

It is fairly common to find Double Struck Coins, or coins that have been struck twice, however, finding a coin that has been struck more than twice, or a multiple struck coin, is rare.

Double Struck Error Coin
Click Image to Enlarge


This is another error that occurs when a coin gets stuck in the coin press.

When a blank then enters the die, the two coins are struck together and the blank receives a mirror image on one side of the coin that is still in the press.

The original coin in the die gets a messed up front and the new blank that entered the die is the brockage.

Brockage Error Coin
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Wrong Metal/Wrong Planchet Errors:

Just as the title suggests, these error coins have been struck on a planchet made of a metal that was not intended for that particular coin, or maybe not that particular year the coin was made.

I will use the 1943 cent as an example. These coins were made of zinc coated steel instead of the usual 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc used in the past. At the time copper was in demand for ammunition and other military equipment during World War II

Somehow a few of the Bronze blanks from the previous year made it into the press and were stamped for 1943. 12 are known to exist, although it is believed that about 40 could have possibly been made.

The same thing happened again the next year, except in reverse.

1980 Jefferson nickel on cent planchet Error
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Struck Fragment:

Sometimes a fragment of metal gets fed into the coining press and gets stamped. Usually it is a piece of metal that was left over when cutting out the blanks, but occasionally it is some other piece of metal.

These Error Coins are often not coins at all.

I recall reading one time about a piece of a nail that had been stamped with the impression of a Lincoln Cent. To me this would be another of those examples of "How could this have happened accidentally?".

Photos courtesy of ebay seller bubbajim

Struck fragment lincoln cent Coin Error
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Mated Pairs:

If you click the image to the right and enlarge it you will see that the two coins have been stamped together at the same time and if you were to place them together, one on top of the other, you would find that they fit together perfectly like pieces of a puzzle.

These error coins are referred to as Mated Pairs. It is very rare to find both coins since they usually get separated at the mint after they are struck.

Photos courtesy of ebay seller Chuck from WCSDeals, Chuck9999

Mated Pairs Error Coin
Click Image to Enlarge

Capped Die:

Yet another example of an error that occurs when a coin blank gets stuck in a die is the capped die error.

As other blanks enter the press, the blank gets hammered over and over again into other coins causing the metal to form a cup shaped "cap".

The longer it is stuck in the die and the more times it is hammered, the deeper the "cap" becomes.

1999 Georgia State Quarter Capped Die Error
Click Image to Enlarge


A Mule refers to a coin that is struck from mismatched dies. They are very rare.

In other words, the die for the obverse (front) of the coin and the die for the reverse (back) of the coin are from two different coins not intended to be used together.

You may have heard on the news a while back about someone discovering a coin with the front of a Washington State Quarter and the back of a Sacagawea golden dollar. This coin is a mule.

Another example is the Rare Nickel discovered by Mr. Ken Frith in 1961. This unique, one of a kind nickel has the obverse (front) of a 1942 Jefferson Nickel muled with a 1941-S reverse.

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Don't forget to visit Amazon to get your very own Kindle e-reader and a variety of Books about Coins .

That way you can take all of your coin books with you where ever you go.

I love my Kindle Fire ! I highly recommend them to everyone!

I know that any time I see a coin at a flea market or coin shop or anywhere else I happen to be, all I have to do is check it out in one of the many books on my Kindle Fire. That way I can refresh my memory at any time and know for certain when I am getting a good deal on any coin.

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