Collecting by Error Type
There are some collectors who like to collect error coins by “error type.” Most of the time, they are looking for examples of that error type on any and all series of coins, but sometimes they also want to collect an error type for a particular series of coin. This is an exciting and pleasurable way to collect errors since pretty much every coin is visually different, and the collector has the flexibility to add coins to make his collection larger, or stick with the basics and keep it smaller. Also, the cost of the collection can be much higher or lower depending on the grade and the eye-appeal of the error, with higher grade, superb examples of an error type obviously costing much more than lower grade and less eye-appealing examples.
A good example of this collecting method of collecting would be a collection of off-metals. The collector would collect a particular series or country of coins, and then try to get all known off-metal types within that series or country. As an example, a collector who wanted to collect all known off-metal types by date and mint for the Lincoln Memorial cent series (1959-2008), would try to get the following list of coins:
3.Pre-1982 P & D Mint cent on zinc planchet (reverse transitional off-metal.)
4.Post 1982 P& D Mint cent on copper planchet (transitional off-metal.)
5.1965 cent on silver dime planchet (reverse transitional off-metal.)
6.1964 cent on clad dime planchet (transitional off-metal.)
Those are just the “basics” of the different off-metals for the Lincoln Memorial cent series, and most collectors who were building a collection this expensive would also opt for any exotic “unique” off-metals which are known for various dates/metals (such as a 1989 cent on copper planchet, or a 1966 cent on silver dime planchet, etc.) But that is not necessary, and to keep the collection smaller and more basic, the above coins would be all that are needed for a “complete” Lincoln Memorial off-metal collection by off-metal type.
Above: Double-struck Off-Center 1979 Kennedy half dollar.
This method of collecting can be applied to any error type/series of coin. Other collections could be double-strikes, and the collector would try to get a double-strike for all known U.S. Coins. Another example would be missing clad layer coins, and the collector could try to get a missing clad layer obverse and reverse for Roosevelt dimes, Washington quarters, a state quarter (getting all known missing clad layer state quarters would be virtually impossible), Kennedy half, Ike Dollar, Susan B. Anthony dollar, Sacagawea dollar, and a Presidential dollar. Here is a list of some other set ideas:
1.U.S. Modern coin off-metals—This would be expensive and in the many thousands of dollars, unless you didn’t get the transitional off-metals.
2.Missing clad layer collection (obverse and reverse.) — Less than $10,000 for a complete set.
3.U.S. Coins with struck-in and retained wire bristles (aka staples.) — A very rare error type, and the hardest part would be finding the coins. Perhaps a $10,000+ set depending on how nice the examples were, and if the collector wanted “all U.S. Coins” or just a select series.
4.Struck on feeder fingers. A 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and $1 would be a complete set since they’re the only series known on feeder fingers. — A complete set like this would probably cost $30,000 for a nice set, and half that for lesser examples.
5.Off-center modern coins. This would include a 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, $1. — Depending on what design were included, this set could be had for less than $500, or for far more depending on the grade, coin design, and how far off-center it was.
6.Double-strikes for modern coins. This would include a 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, and $1. Depending on the designs of coins in the set, the set could be had for less than $500 if it was made up of low quality examples. A decent set might run $2000, with the 50c and $1 costing most of that, and the others being inexpensive by comparison.
So, pick an error type you like, figure out what your budget is, then decide how big you want your collection to be in terms of getting examples of an error type for one series of coin, a few series, or perhaps all U.S. Coins. Create some guidelines for the collection (grade, any attributes you want for that error coin type such as “50% off-center coins only), and then start collecting.