Building an Error Coin Collection

Submitted by JonSullivan on Wed, 07/08/2015 - 12:26

 Coin errors list - building a collection
      Above: Lincoln cent struck on scrap planchet. 

In the last part of this series on building an error coin collection, we discussed building a set by date and mintmark. While an interesting way to collect, some collectors like to have lots and lots of different errors in their collections, and an error type set is perfect for them. 


How to build a collection from Coin Errors list

To build an error type set you need to get an example of every error type known. This means you would get a single example of a die cap, off-metal, double-denomination, off-center, etc. The list would probably come out to be around a few hundred coins, but it could be more or less depending on how far you wanted to go with it. Most collectors would just opt for the more “basic” and well known error types, and not buy the minor errors that are not very visually interesting. 


There are two basic ways to build the type set. You can either pick a single series of coin, such as Lincoln cents, and then try to get an example of each error type within that series of coin, or you can get errors from any coin series, which would result in errors from probably all series of coins. Whichever you prefer is what you should do. Collectors who like to have a little more order to their collection, or who love a particular series of coin will probably want to do the “pick a single series” method, while collectors who love all coins and don’t really care if their collection looks as “orderly” will opt for the other method.

Coin errors list - building a collection
Above: Buffalo nickel struck off-center

A collection of this type does not have to be expensive either, since a collector could find affordable examples of every single error type out there. Even the most expensive error type, the “mule”, is inexpensive since you can buy one from another country for a few hundred dollars. Some of the most expensive errors would be the mule, off-metal, double-denomination, but as long as you didn’t try to get every single error type out there, most of the others are relatively inexpensive. Some of the toughest error coin types out there are not necessarily as expensive as they are rare. The dual missing clad layer, which is an error type where both of the nickel clad layers are missing and only the copper core remains, is one of the rarest error types, with probably 10-15 examples known for all denominations and series of U.S. Coins combined! Examples of that error type only cost as much as a nice off-metal, selling for around $1,200-$3,500 depending on the denomination and condition. 


What are some of the easiest coin series to build a type set from? I would recommend these if you want to have a lot of errors to choose from, and have the ability to complete your collection without busting the bank.



Easiest Coin Series for Type Sets


Type sets based on these coin series are the most attainable. 

-Lincoln memorial cents

-Jefferson nickels

-Roosevelt dimes 

-Washington quarters

-State Quarters


Difficult Series for Type Sets

For more of a challenge I would suggest these series, which although much more challenging, a fairly complete set is possible.

-Indian Cents

-Wheat Cents

-Buffalo Nickels

-Mercury Dimes

-Sacagawea Dollars

-Susan B. Anthony Dollars

-Eisenhower Dollars


Most of the other coin series are either rarely found with errors, or would be extremely difficult to get more than a small number of error types for their respective series. 

Coin errors list - building a collection
Above: Jefferson nickel struck on bow-tie planchet scrap.

In the next blog post, we will be moving on to part 3 of our series on how to build an error coin collection, so check back next tuesday. If you haven't read part#1 of this series, click here: blog post #1. Feel free to write me with questions or comments at: [email protected]