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.

Penny Mint Errors & Challenges


1967 Cent Curved Clipped-Penny mint errors buying guide
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-Penny mint errors buying guide
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 penny mint errors we can find to our customers in the coming years!


Monday, October 11, 2021 - 13:32
Error Money -Trends in error coin market

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!

Latest Happenings in the Error Money Market

So what is happening in the error coin market right now? We’ve noticed a large increase in activity in the error money 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!


Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 08:40
Defective money and Error Coins Market Report post ANA coin show

This year will be one for the books for a number of reasons, one of which is that there was no ANA Convention this year. As one of the largest coin shows of the year, it annually heralds the beginning of activity in the coin market after what is often referred to as "the summer doldrums." This year, however, there was no ANA. There were still major auctions which would have normally been held in conjunction with the show, with the typical tens of millions of dollars of coins sold. Amongst those millions, was the tiny sliver of error lots, which are of course what we paid attention to. The US Coin errors in the sale overall did very well, with a few that "fell through the cracks", and going for far less than they were worth, but with a number selling for (frankly) crazy high numbers, and the rest "average." So it was mixed, but not especially high or low on average.

What about the lack of dealer-to-dealer sales or dealer-collector activity stemming from few if any coin shows, and coin shops being limited or temporarily closed? Online is where this activity has moved, to a large degree. For most dealers, the problem is not so much selling coins as much as it is acquiring fresh inventory. This posses challenges to dealers, but it seems most dealers are doing ok.

For us, fresh coins and defective money have been coming in to us at a reasonable level, and especially some incredible proof errors, which although a decent number have come into the market over the last year or two, the number has been generally well absorbed but the coin market. Many of the more rare pieces appeal not just to pure error collectors, but also to the U.S. coin collector. As a result, sales have often been well above what we would expect a particular proof error to sale for. Because some of the pieces are rare enough to have few, if any, "prices realized" from auctions, some have also resulted in very high and occasionally very low prices. The market for major proof errors will certainly sort itself out over time, as we think there are very few left to come to market (we could be wrong, but that's our 2c.)

Defective Money and their Demand in ANA Convention show

Non-proof errors have been selling well, such as Ike dollar off-centers, any denomination or design of major double-strikes, off-centers, Morgan and Peace dollar errors, the more common double-denominations, major clips and defective planchets, interesting and unusual pieces, as well as 11c double-denominations (which as a side note, are a good example of "buy them when they're cheap", since a year ago they had dropped a lot in price, but have since rebounded since all the supply has dried up.) As is the case 9 times out of 10, when there is a lot of something on the error market, buy it if you want it, since prices usually rebound and collectors and dealers alike look back and say "why didn't I buy more when I had the chance!" 

But not all error categories are in demand. Some of the errors right now which are down in price include state quarter errors (especially missing clad layers), nickels on cent planchets, Kennedy half off-metals, and the somewhat more "common (meaning 10 or so known) proof off-metals. You can buy most of these types quite cheap right now, as well as some other types and series of errors. All these are some areas which come to mind that are "cheap" right now in general.

As we enter the 2nd half of the year, there is some hope that there will be coin shows on defective money and a general "reconnecting" of the hobby in person. The Baltimore coin show is probably going to be held (they're planning to have it at a new venue we're told) later in the year, and perhaps more coin shows will open up. As they say "time will tell", but we are optimistic since the year so far has stated surprisingly busy and active, which is of course a good thing for the hobby. We all can stay connected over the internet, phone, and through our coin clubs such as CONECA, the ANA, and many other speciality clubs (if you're not a member, join!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 14:06


750 Error Coins for Sale

We have been very busy adding inventory to this website, and have finally got all our inventory up for sale so that there are now well over 750 error coins on the site! It has taken quite a long time to get everything organized, photographed, priced and list on the site, and we are very pleased with the results. The coins are organized by date and denomination. Click on any error category and you will see that there are a number of ways to view the coins, whether by year, price, alphabetically, or newest listing. 


Latest news on Mint error coins

We are always getting fresh inventory in. Sometimes it's a collection, sometimes fresh coins from a coin show, or sometimes from other sources, but we will keep you alerted if you sign up to the "News" newsletter. We will alert you when we've added a large group of coins to the site, eBay, or have other important news to share. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link at the bottom of the newsletter (and we of course will never share your email with anyone.) Here is a handy link if you need to subscribe: 


Buying error coins

Buying US Error Coins

We are buying errors! If you have any error coins for sale, please contact us for a quote. We sell many tens of thousands of dollars worth of error coins every month, and are always looking to replace inventory. Contact us to discuss selling your collection or perhaps you have some duplicate error coins you want to sell, either way contact us at: [email protected] or (931)-797-4888

circa-1920 minting process video

We have added an interesting youtube video to the site which is well worth your time to watch. The film is a circa-1920 silent video showing the minting process at one of the U.S. Mints. This is a very interesting video because it shows a number of minting processes and procedures which were in place at that time, as well as the conditions that the employees worked under, the equipment they were using, and also how much "hands on" work was done. Machines were not used nearly as much as they are today, although there was obviously a great deal of machinery in use. 

A few notes about the film:
1.Mute it--the background sound is obnoxious.
2.Note the used of scales to weight EVERY planchet. This would explain why clips are extremely rare on early 20th century coins.
3.The planchets being "ring tested" by hand. Until I saw this film, I never knew that was done. Very interesting, and it also would explain why defective planchet coins, off-metals, etc, are nearly unknown on early 20th century coins.
4.The use of the massive screw press for hubbing the dies.

Here is a link to the video (I recommend you mute the sound--the film has some obnoxious background music.)





Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 08:34

With the recent mint error sale with Heritage Auctions, which was comprised of some 261 lots, it was interesting to see the prices the coins fetched. (Here is a link to the sale:

Market Analysis: Heritage Auction Coin Errors for Sale

Many of the coins were on the high end, although there were some that sold cheaply. In fact, some coins we sell in our regular inventory stock sold for substantially at auction.

1.Collectors think they will get a better deal at auction than from a dealer. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes the coins that sell "cheap" are cheap for a reason--they have problems that might not be noticeable to the untrained eye, which is why they won the coin "for a steal!"

2.Collectors (and dealers) sometimes get carried away in "live bidding" environments, resulting in their paying more (sometimes multiples more) than the coin could be purchased from in a dealer's inventory.

3. Collectors will often frequent well-publicized auction events, see a coin, and bid it up thinking that the coin is worth the price. In a dealer's inventory, the same coin may be available at half the price, but because the dealer's website isn't regularly checked up on by the collector, they fail to realize the same coin is available at the lower price there. 

4.Collectors sometimes think a coin is worth, for example, $1,000, and plan to bid that, but at the bidding rises to their valuation, and surpasses it, they think "if other people are willing to pay this, it must be worth more." This is almost always a bad idea, since all it takes is one uninformed bidder as one's competitor for the price to go "to the moon." 

All these reasons are just my 2c, and you can get a good deal, but there are a number of pitfalls (including those just mentioned) to take into consideration when bidding in an auction. 

So what can be said for the error sale? Well, most of the high end coins went for full price and then some. Some went for substantially more than I had thought they would bring. There were a few coins that fell through the cracks, but overall, the $2,000+ errors brought "all the money." It was surprising to see a number of coins sell for DOUBLE or TRIPLE what the price realized should have been! Proof errors were strong in the sale, with the off-metals and other misc proof errors bring very strong prices. 

The "mid range" errors, in the $500-$2,000 range for the most part were strong as well. A few coins fell through the cracks, but overall strong prices.

For the lower priced market, under $500, some of the best deals were to be had, with some nice mint errors selling cheaply. However, many of the coins that are extremely common and worth about $10-$50 brought $100-$300! This is nuts, but it's what can happen in an auction environment! 

So overall, my estimation of the sale was an "A" for prices--the error market is strong if judged by this sale.