Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 12:15

Cracked planchet coins are a well known error type. They typically are found on nickel and copper coins, but also on silver coins on occasion, and very rarely on gold coins. We recently acquired an extremely rare and dramatic 1927 Saint Gaudens $20 gold piece, with a large crack extending across the coin from the 8 o'clock position to the center of the coin. The crack is separated about 1/4 inch into the coin (you can even see a little light through the coin if held up to a light source), and then simply extends inwards to the very center of the coin, with a "crack" visible on both sides of the coin to the center of Ms.Liberty. 


Although long cracks are actually fairly common on coin series such as Lincoln cents or similar low value coins, it is all but unheard of on U.S. gold coins to have a crack this large. This is because of the high quality standards applied in the manufacture of gold coins. Even the most minute errors resulted in the coin's being rejected and melted down before they were allowed to leave the Mint. Gold coins were typically examined individually by hand, and were weighed individually. This resulted in virtually no errors coming out for gold coins, and this is even more the case with large sized gold coins, such as this 1927 Saint Gaudens double-eagle. 


Even today, gold and silver coins are created with extreme care. Anything which effects the metal content or integrity is of utmost importance to the Mint. Gold and silver eagles, for example, never come with cracked planchets (and only very rarely with errors effecting their weight or metal.) As was true in the past is also true today—when the metal content is important, it is vital that the Mint do a near perfect job in manufacturing their precious metal coinage. 


When looking back over the last 200 odd years of U.S. Mint coin production, there are remarkably few gold errors. Most of what exists are small strike throughs, slag inclusions or minor laminations. Major errors on gold coins are rare, and the number of cracked planchet coins is minute, with probably no more than a handful known for all gold coin series’. The 1927 Saint Gaudens is the largest planchet crack we have seen so far on any U.S. gold coin. To view images of the coin, here is a link:

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 07:05

Coin World just broke a story that another of the 1982-D Lincoln cent small date transitional off-metals have been found, bringing the known total to (2) examples. The new find is certified as NGC AU58, and is the same grade as the other known example, which was an AU58. The previously unique 1982-D sold for $18,800 in a Stacks auction in the summer of 2017. This new example was submitted, according to the Coin World article, by a major auction house, and so will likely be going to auction as well. Here is a link to the Coin World article:

The error occurs when there is a change in the metal content of a coin type. Leftover planchets from the earlier metal (in this case a 3.1 gram copper cent planchet) are accidentaly fed into a press striking the next generation of coins (in this case 2.5 gram zinc cent planchets), creating a coin with the prior years metal on the next metal year's coins. These are always rare, and there are no "common" transitional off-metals known on U.S. coins. Most have less than a dozen examples known for any particular metal change, and we aren't aware of any transitional off-metal with more than about 25 known examples. 

There are other known examples of transitional 1982/1983 cents, including:

-One or two 1983-D transitional copper cents.
-Probably seven or eight 1983 transitional copper cents.

All examples of transitional 1982 or 1983 copper cents typically sell for $10,000 to in excess of $20,000, depending on the grade, and if they are in an NGC or PCGS holder. In our opinion, it is important to buy them in one of these two 3rd party holders since some of the other grading services aren't as careful with making sure the coin's are actually transitional off-metals asopposed to simply being struck on overweight zinc cent planchets. For example, sometimes you have have a heavy zinc cent in 1983, which coin might weigh 3 grams. This would be within tolerance for a copper transitional 1983 cent. In such a case, the only way to be 100% sure the coin is copper and not simply a heavy zinc cent, is to do a non-destructive metal anaylsis, which will give the composition of the planchet, and thereby give an accurate attribution of the error. 

These are all being found in circulation (that we are aware of), making them a ripe area for Cherrypicker's to search for examples in their pocket change. Of course, the odds of finding them are very slim, but with enough searching, people are finding them. You would need to use a scale to identify them, since they are very similar in appearance to a normal "zinc" cent. A copper cent weighs 3.1 grams, whereas a zinc cent weighs 2.5 grams, making the difference in weight an easy diagnostic for the transitional off-metals. 

If you own one of these interesting coins, you have a rarity, and a coin which transitions the change in metals for the Lincoln cent. We have sold a small number of these, and they are always an interesting error to handle. 

Image: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions. (1983 Lincoln cent transitional off-metal.)



Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 12:20

We recently attended the Long Beach Expo, which is a coin show helps three times a year in Long Beach, California, at the Long Beach Convention Center. This show was January 31st-Feb-2nd. The show is a show we attend fairly often in the past, and have made it a permanent fixture in our show schedule every year due to the oftentimes good business we are able to do at the show.


Although error coin collecting has largely moved online, and in-person local coin clubs, coin shows, and the like have become less popular in the last couple decades, coin shows at least will never go away. They are too important to the hobby, as they allow “online” dealers to interact with customers, fellow dealers, and also are useful venues for buying and selling coins (albeit more wholesale than resale most of the time.) We love coin shows, and look forward to them every few months. 


This Long Beach show was a good show for us. We bought and sold a lot of mint errors, and it was one of our best Long Beach shows on record, returning to our office with lots of coins to send off for certification and otherwise sell to our customers. 


It was a surprise to us how many retail customers we ran into at the show. Usually the Long Beach show is light on retail, but there were a number of our “regular” customers at the show, and also other “occasional buyers” who shows up and created a number of “empty slots” in our display cases. We also made a new customer, who was excited to begin his error collection—it’s always fun to start a new coin collection!


Although there were a small number of auction lots in the two auctions being held, most of the coins went for relatively high prices, and we were amazed to see some of the coins bring far in excess of what we would value them at. Perhaps because there were so few lots, collectors went a bit “overboard” in their bidding! This was also our observation at the last FUN show in January—the tiny number of lots on auction brought strong money. 


We will be offering some VERY nice mint errors in the coming month or so, including some major proof errors, off-metals, and a nice selection of state quarter missing clad layers. There are other coins as well—all are currently out being certified. 


In a few weeks we will be attending the Baltimore show, and then a month or so later the ANA in Pittsburgh. If you are attending either show, please be sure and stop by our table to chat about errors, or if you are looking to buy or sell. 


We hope everyone is having a great year, and if you have any error collecting needs, please let us know: [email protected]

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 06:58

Have you spent any time lately reading books or articles on errors or varieties? If not, you should consider spending some money on books for your library so you can be an informed collector. This investment in reading will give you a much better appreciation for your coin, as well as arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed buying decisions for your error collection. 


Below is a list of books we recommend for the error or variety collector. We’ll separate them into two lists for your convenience since most people either collect errors or varieties, and not both (but some do!)  Note that some of the books in either category have information which would be useful to a collectors of errors or varieties, since information on die production, for example, while especially relevant to variety collectors is also of great use to error collectors, etc. 


We are not in any way compensated by these sellers listed, and are putting links to their books as a convenience to our customers. However, the sellers are good sources for books and we’d recommend them.



The ANA’s Correspondence Courses on Mint Errors and the Minting Process. (This would be the no.1 book we’d recommend to error or variety collectors to take. You must be an ANA member to do the course, but it is well worth the relatively small cost.)


100 Greatest Error Coins


The Cud Book






Strike it Rich with Pocket Change



Cherrypicker’s Guide Volumes 1 & 2


Cherrypicker’s Top 150





Redbook (not an error book, but everyone needs a copy for basic information on coins.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 09:14
Washington Dollar on Manganese Dollar Planchet Obverse

We recently acquired a very interested 2007-D Washington quarter struck on a manganese dollar planchet, and struck in a dollar sized collar. Here is how we believe it happed, and also why we believe it is highly likely (although impossible to know for certain) that the coin was struck on a 2007-D Washington dollar planchet.

Although the NGC holder says “Sacagawea dollar planchet”, it actually isn’t possible to know either way. The 2007 Sacagawea dollars have no edge lettering, and neither does this coin. The presidential dollars do have edge lettering, and this coin does not—that would seem on the surface to prove that it is a Sacagawea planchet. However, because edge lettering is added to the presidential dollars after they are struck, that is not proof.

Instead, what I think may very well have happened is that this error was made when a 2007 Washington quarter obverse and reverse die were installed in a press for Washington presidential dollars. You could conjecture that it might have been the Washington dollar since the same name “Washington” for the dollar and the quarter might have confused the press worker if the dies were somehow marked “Washington”. Both would also be “2007”, and perhaps the dies were marked something like “2007-D Washington” on the quarter dies, and might not have stated denomination (or the press worker might not have noticed the denomination designation.) The press then struck some or an entire bin of coins with quarter die obverse and reverse, and a Washington dollar coin planchet and collar, then the press worker went to move the coins to have the edge lettering applied but noticed the mistake. Instead of them going through the edge lettering machine, the coins were simply all sent to be waffled and thereby destroyed, resulting in this coin.

We’ll likely never know, but the scenario seems entirely plausible to me, and in fact most probable, that it was actually a 2007 Washington dollar press that these 2007-D Washington quarter dies were installed on.

Additionally, I checked and of interest the Washington dollars were released in February 15th, 2007. Washington quarters were released April 2nd, 2007. The coins almost certainly were being struck at the same time, further proving the likelihood that a mixup of this kind occurred since both designs' striking was concurrent. Also, the newness of the presidential dollar series doubtless created some confusion and adjustments at the Mint, furthering the likelihood of a mix up of the quarter/dollar dies as they refined their manufacturing processes.

The same error occurred as well in 2000, when a Maryland quarter set of dies were installed in a press striking Sacagawea dollars, creating a "quarter on Sacagawea planchet and with a Sacagawea collar die." Since one of the 3 dies (hammer, anvil, and collar) is incorrect, the collar die in this case, it is a mule, as is the 2007-D Washington quarter on manganese planchet, although not the type of mule you'd typically expect for a "mule" error. It is a "collar mule."