Monday, October 11, 2021 - 13:32

We’ve said it a number of times in the latest blog posts, but the error coin market is hot as a whole. Recent auction results among some of the large auction firms showed strong prices on most of the mint errors sold. Yes, some fell through the cracks, but we were impressed with the results as a whole. Everything from common off-center cents to major proof errors all, as a whole, fetched strong prices. Off-metal cents on dimes, double-strikes, off-metals, cuds, clips--it's all hot right now!


So what is happening in the error coin market right now? We’ve noticed a large increase in activity in the error coin market, and also observed it in the regular U.S. coin market of late. This is probably due to a number of factors, the largest being the reopening of the economy, with coin shows (larger ones) finally being open once again. The reopening of the economy in general is giving collectors and dealer the confidence to step back into the coin market in a big way, and the strong bullion prices have also buoyed the coin market, putting money into both collectors and dealers’ pockets. We think this trend will not abate anytime soon.


As soon as the FUN show occurred this last July, coin activity reached another level of growth. Every month since, it seems to have gotten hotter and hotter, and auctions seem to be getting higher and stronger prices. This is due we believe for the reasons already stated, but also because dealers are having trouble restocking since they entered this year with thin, low inventory levels, and yet demand is high, and so they also are buying material often at top dollar, bidding up auctions, which further feeds the cycle of increasing prices. Collectors are also hungry for coins, and so they are competing against other collectors but also dealers. 


In the frenzy of the market, do not get caught up overpaying for material. If a coin looks way too high, it is. Yes, paying for “good coins” is always something that has to be done, but even cheap errors have been selling for “moon money” in auctions. Some dealers have dramatically raised prices after seeing the prices realized in some of these sales. The problem (or reality check) is that those same error coins, which the dealer might be pricing at $500 because an auction result was $500, can be had from another coin dealer for “normal” pricing any day of the week for $250. Again, do not get caught up in the hype (and there is a lot of hype in the prices right now.) Recent auction prices realized are not indicative for pricing a coin except for a snapshot in time (this year.) We do not think it is part of a  broad, multi-year price gain, but a single, fast surge in prices that will abate once the economy has been fully "reopened" for a few months or a year. Until then, look for prices to remain elevated. That's our best guess. 


We are always working on getting fresh material in, and will be offering it as it comes in—it’s a challenge however, and it takes many, many hours every week of scouring the marketplace to find good material at reasonable prices. Let us know if you need help finding any errors, and will do our best to find them for you. Our next show is the Baltimore coin show in mid-November. It promises to be an excellent show, and if it's like the last few coin shows, will be very busy and heavily attended!


Monday, August 23, 2021 - 07:50

The ANA Worlds Fair of Money in Rosemont, IL ended a few weeks ago. It was a blow-out of a coin show, with lots of activity both in buying and selling—particularly in selling. We were surprised at how active the buyers were, and we sold a number of coins in 4 figures as well as coins in the under $1,000 price range. Although our total sales were still a relatively small number, at least compared to dealers’ in non-error U.S. coins, who sell often hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of coins at a coin show, we were surprised at how many error sales we had. Most of the time, not a lot of error collectors make it to coin shows, being spread out across the U.S. as they are, and so naturally sales are low. But at this show, sales were hotter than we expected.

Sullivan Numismatics Booth







(Above) Sullivan Numismatics Booth

Additionally, buying was pretty good, although we had more trouble than usual acquiring inventory relative to past years. Collectors and dealers are more in the “acquiring” frame of mind than they are in the selling. Both often hold out for the top dollar, and if they can’t get it, coins often keep them or they go to auction where many will sell for many multiples of what they are worth, with only some coins falling through the cracks (which we try to purchase!)

Some collectors opt to buy out of major auctions with mixed results. It’s always difficult when a customer shows us an error coin they paid twice (or more) what it was worth in an auction, and are asking “did I get a good deal?” We answer honestly of course, but in a market where many coins have gone the auction route during Covid lockdowns, etc, the competitive nature of auctions often makes the coins sale for far more than they are worth, unfortunately. If you do seek a coin in an auction, we do offer mint error coin consultations for reasonable fees around 5% of the hammer price. Getting good advice on rarity, value, and condition of a coin makes this a bargain in our opinion. Contact us for more information on our auction consultation service.

Auction Lot Viewing








At the coin show, dealers in U.S. coins had phenomenal levels of activity with every dealer we talked to saying they had a good show, and many saying they had record or near record good shows. There is lots of enthusiasm and activity in the coin market based on this and the prior coin shows.

Some of the hottest areas of the error market include older type errors, such as Morgan dollars, the Barber and seated coin series, buffalo nickels and Mercury dimes, Indian cent errors, and other popular designs. Also, modern major errors that are business strikes (non proof) are generally hot with some exceptions. Major striking errors, off-metals, and visual errors are popular. State quarter errors have had a surge of interest for truly rare as well as visually exciting errors. Areas of weakness including proof errors in the 1960’s-1970’s era for the most part, as well as double-denominations of the more expensive types (over $2,500.) Part of this weakness in proof errors is due to the larger numbers of proof errors that have come on the market in the last number of years. Prices on them will likely be all over the place for years to come, but once it settles down the rarer pieces will move back up in price and the more common pieces will not in our estimation. Be careful overpaying for them, but at the same time, when a lot of a particular coin type comes on the market historically, there will be both winners and losers at the end of the day, so opportunity also presents itself.

We look forward to our next coin how in Baltimore, Maryland in a few months. In the meantime, we look forward to helping out our customers through our website and email. Look for a lot of fresh mint error material coming to our website in the coming weeks.


Friday, July 16, 2021 - 06:41

Error Coin Market Report - July 16th, 2021

Wow, what a July it has been for the error coin hobby, as well as for coin collecting as a whole! We can officially say that the coin market is “hot” and not feel like we are in any way exaggerating. Coin shows and auctions are hot, with coins realizing high prices or selling quickly. Anything fresh tends to go fast, and coins that are not “fresh” are still selling well.


The first major coin show of the year happened this month at the July FUN coin show in Orlando Florida. We had a table there, and all we can say is it was a great show for both dealers and attendees. Every dealer we talked to had a good show, and at least one (a well known dealer in U.S. coins) said it was their best show the have ever had. Many dealers said it was one of the best shows they had ever had as well, with dealers selling large volumes wholesale, and also there was a good retail presence. We sold quite a few coins, and had more trouble buying than normal due to a lack of fresh material—but we still managed to pick up some fresh coins that will be offered in the coming weeks and months.


Collectors have money, and want to spend. Major auctions have been doing very well, with many of the coins fetching jaw-dropping prices. One of the last big error sales brought what could easily be referred to as “crazy prices” for many, many of the coins. Coins that sold for $400 in 2019, often brought $1,000 or more. Some coins sold at normal “retail” (what is the new normal—perhaps we have to adjust our view on what “normal” retail prices are?), while few coins slipped through the cracks. Some (but not all) of the higher dollar coins over $5,000 or thereabouts sold cheap, and were actually weak, while some of them did sell for normal retail or actually strong money. Coins under $5,000 or so were strong, many selling for multiples of what they would have sold for about a year ago.


So, between the strong prices at auction, and the strong action at coin shows, and also coins dealers simply selling a lot of coins at their websites, we feel comfortable terming the coin market, including the error coin market, “hot”, with of course some weakness on some (not all) of the higher priced items and a few types (but not many) of the cheaper error types, and overall very strong prices on most of the mint errors in the under $5,000 price level.


Coins with great eye-appeal, or which (for whatever reasons) are popular right now, such as 11c cent on dimes, nickels on cents, cents on dime planchets, most double or multi-struck coins, etc, all are selling exceptionally well at auction and in dealers’ inventories.


We look forward to the rest of this year with excitement, as we have the next big show, the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, IL in August, and it promises to be a blowout show of memorable activity. It will be the first of the truly giant coin shows since January of 2020, and will likely be one for the books.


We will continue to search for errors at the best value and offer them on our website. If you need assistance with either buying or selling, we are here to help!




Friday, June 4, 2021 - 08:43

Mint error coins have been hot in auctions. You can pretty much pick any auction from most of the various venues, and see some very high prices realized! And although there are certain areas that are not as popular right now (certain proof errors do to the quantities that have come out of late, certain state quarter errors, and actually some of the scarcer older off-metal types), other areas are very popular. Errors under say $500 are generally very popular right now, 11c double denominations, and always the dramatic, eye-catching errors generally are difficult to keep in stock. Some of the rare proof major errors have gone for incredible prices at auction, fetching many tens of thousands of dollars.


Ups and downs in the market are always the case, but as a whole, the error coin market is doing well. Perhaps as the economy is opening back up from the recent Covid shutdowns, collectors are starting to attend smaller coin shows, and larger coin shows such as the summer FUN show in July in Orlando FL, and the ANA Worlds Fair of Money in Rosemont, IL, are all on track to be 100% a “go”. We will be attending both shows, and look forward to seeing dealers and collectors once again! The July FUN show will be our first coin show since February of 2020, so it is long past due that we set up at a show.

NGC 5c 1977-S Proof Nickel on Dime Double-Denomination
NGC 5c 1977-S Proof Nickel on Dime Double-Denomination 

It has been exciting for the hobby that there have been a large number of previously unknown proof errors on the market of late. It’s been something which we have both watched, and been able to participate in, having been acquiring some and offering them over the last few years or so. Major proof errors are historically rare, and in reviewing error coin catalogs dating back to the 1960’s or 1970’s you can find broadstruck proof errors, clips, off-metals, and really the same errors existing that we are now seeing come fresh to the market. Back 10 years ago, a proof nickel on a cent planchet was nearly unheard of, and a proof Kennedy on a quarter planchet was very rare. Now, they are still very scarce, but not as rare as they once were due to the recent coins that have come on the market.


We cannot say with certainty where all the proof errors have come from that have been coming to market of late, or how they left the Mint, since we have only 2nd hand knowledge of them and their whereabouts, or even how many are known, but the higher quantities of proof errors that have come on the market of late seem to be old hoard(s) that were put together perhaps some 50 odd years ago (based on the dates of material that has come out), and have never been on the market until now. The coins are comprised of both proof and business strike errors. They are unquestionably 100% authentic, and from what has appeared in major auctions, other dealer’s inventories (and our own) range from the incredibly dramatic (mated pair off-metals, etc) to the fairly mundane (minor clashed dies, planchets, etc.)


It is an exciting time in the hobby that there are a quantity of proof errors on the market, since before now there really were not all that many. Although some proof errors will drop in value due to the quantity of "fresh material" on the market (perhaps temporarily, perhaps not), others will doubtless turn out to be great rarities. Only time will tell, but as with all hoards of coins, it is an exciting event that has taken place over the last few years, and all error collectors will watch with interest as will we! There’s the likelihood that they will also bring in more collectors, since historically, when fresh hoards of coins are discovered and come to market, they often enliven that market and result in brand new collectors forming collections.


We look forward to seeing any and all of you at upcoming coin shows, or just through emails, phone calls as we see the coin market quickly returning to pre-2020 conditions, and if we can be of service in building your collection just let us know.

Friday, February 19, 2021 - 11:12

As of mid February, 2021, we are happy to have recently been able to pick up a few collections as well as miscellaneous coins from other regular sources (dealers, auctions, and the like.) Really, we pretty well scour the market for coins that are good errors to then offer to you our customers. So what are some of the things we deal with or situations we find ourselves in as mint error buyers? Below are some of the more common areas that create a challenge.

1967 Cent Curved Clipped
1967 Lincoln cent with a large curved clip. 

Quality Coins

What do we look for when looking for coins? First, the coin itself has to obviously be authentic and not have any problems that are not acceptable. Sometimes slabbed coins will have a problem, perhaps that developed after it was certified or which might have been missed by a grader, and so we either pass on those or buy them realizing we will need to sell them at a discount to our customers. Even though 3rd party grading services have good quality holders, the coin still need to be stored in such a way as to prevent them from corroding, developing ugly toning, and the like. This is because the holders are not truly airtight, even if they are excellent at preventing air transfer.


Also, sometimes (and this is very rare), a counterfeit coin makes its way into a 3rd party grading  service’s holder. These are guaranteed by the major, reputable services, and the buyer of them will get a refund. However, it can of course be a headache going through the process, and so we can save our customers that hassle of buying a counterfeit. Additionally, if a certified coin is cracked out of its holder it will no longer have the services warranty, so a customer who bought a counterfeit and then cracked the coin out, perhaps to get it reholdered with a different grading service, would be in for a rude awakening when they realize they are out of luck getting that coin warranted by the grading service. Again, it is rare for a major grading service to certify a counterfeit error coin, but it has been known to occur, and is a headache and financial loss we at Sullivan Numismatics hope to help our customers avoid.

NGC 1968-S Cent on Dime Planchet Proof
Proof 1968-S Lincoln Cent on Dime Planchet PF67 Cameo 

Fair Values

Another thing we do is look for good values. Weeding out overpriced mint errors is a continual event. Even if an individual discounts a coin 20% off their asking price, that doesn’t mean we can buy it for inventory—many times (many, many times) the coin is price welled beyond what a fair retail price would be, so in order for it to be a fair value, it would need a 50% discount just to be a fair retail price! So finding fairly priced coins, and then on top of that coins that we can buy at a wholesale price is a challenge. At Sullivan Numismatics, our hope is to be able to sell our customers coins that are fairly priced. The reason for the wide variance in prices is not the dishonesty of sellers, but rather a lack of published price guides, and also that to properly price error coins, the best method is simply knowing the market for error coins by having handled a large array of mint errors, and see what they have sold for.


Raw Coin’s Authenticity

For raw coins (coins not in 3rd party holders), the challenge of authenticity becomes much more immediate. Most of the time, the coin itself is authentic, but was altered to make it look like an error. Usually, the coin is easily detected as being post mint damage, but sometimes it can be much more tricky to determine, and that is where we hope to be providing a good service to our customers since any coin we sell raw we guarantee to be an authentic error, so our reputation is attached to the raw coins we sell.


We will continue to work hard for our customers, and look forward to bringing the best inventory of major mint errors we can find to our customers in the coming years!