Coins & Money

Why This Error Coin Auction Could Break the Bank

The United States Mint works hard to remove any coin that does not meet its standards of perfection. An error coin is anything that escapes detection from the mint and is not melted down. Errors are not just imperfections on the design itself it could instead be as simple as quarter minted on a dime planchet. The more obvious the error the more scarce the number of examples exist. An error coin auction could break the bank.

Error coins can be thought of each as individually unique. On August 26, 2021 the Don Bonser Error Collection, Part 4 US Coins Showcase Auction #63166 will close bidding.

Heritage Auctions compiled a list of the coins in this auction that have the most viewers and bidding traffic. Here are a sampling of the coins offered.

1977-S 1C Lincoln Obverse & Reverse Struck Thru on 10C Blank PR63 NGC.

There is fine texturing in most of the fields on each side and throughout the devices, while the most protected areas show glimpses of proof like mirroring. Silvery-gray in color with sharp detail. The dime planchet fills the dies throughout most of the strike, save for weakness along the upper reverse border. The current bid is $1,550 after 15 bids.

1977-S 1C Lincoln Cent struck on 10C planchet PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC. 2.3 grams.

A remarkably attractive “silver-colored cent,” showing liquid-like mirroring throughout the fields and frosty luster across the brilliant devices. Detail is sharp, and contrast is dramatic on both sides. The lower obverse and upper reverse rim is incompletely filled by the dime planchet. The current bid is $3,900.00 after 34 bids with 50 individuals tracking the progress of the auction and 1,443 page views according to Heritage Auctions.

2000-D 5C Jefferson Nickel Double Denomination on Struck 1C Planchet MS66 Red PCGS.

In plain English its penny that was struck in a nickel die. The current bid was $1,400.00. The coin looks like a normal Jefferson Nickel from the year 2000 with the same metal color as a shiny penny. There have been 17 bids on the coin with 31 individuals tracking its price according to Heritage Auctions.

The coin with the most views of the entire auction at 5,276 is a 1972-S Cent and Dime Eisenhower Dollar Mated Pair, PR67 Red Cameo, PR67, PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC.

Almost painful to see a dime fused with an Eisenhower dollar coin with a hint of 1972 S penny. How this coin escaped the eyes of quality control could be the plot of a movie. In fact, it could potentially bring a six-figure sale. Heritage Auctions has a the best description and information on previous sales of a similar event:

“A proof clad dime planchet and a proof copper cent planchet were fed or placed together, side by side, between proof Ike dollar dies. The strike created a mated pair. The two pieces fit together, with a partial straight edge, across Eisenhower’s cheek. The dollar-on-dime was aligned with the collar die at 10:30. The dollar-on-cent was aligned with the collar die at 5:30. The date and mintmark is complete on the dollar-on-cent. Also present is Eisenhower’s neck, and the partial legend OD WE UST. Between both mated pairs, the profile of Eisenhower is complete, as is the eagle’s head. The dollar-on-dime also shows the partial legend LIB. Earth is complete on the reverse of the dollar-on-cent, along with E PLURIBUS UNUM, STATES OF AME, and the eagle’s right (facing) wing. The dollar-on-dime displays the eagle’s legs, olive branch, and left wing. The 1972-S dollar-on-cent is graded PR67 Red Cameo NGC. The (1972-S) dollar-on-dime is graded PR67 NGC. Also included, to demonstrate the type, is a 1972-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC, Type Two Reverse, light gold toning with exemplary contrast. The three coins (mated pair and proof silver Eisenhower dollar) are housed together in a large format NGC holder, titled UNIQUE PENNY/DIME MATED PAIR. It is unusual, although certainly appropriate, for NGC to use the word unique to describe this error pair, since it involves a non-overlapping mated error pair on two different off-metal wrong planchets struck by proof dies of an obsolete type. The mated error pair is reminiscent of a three-piece “clover leaf” proof Eisenhower dollar struck on adjacent and non-overlapping dime planchets, which realized $105,000 as lot 1329 in our April 2021 Central States Signature.”

Coins that are considered error type coins are not a new phenomenon here are some of the unique examples over 100 years old offered in this auction:

1889 $1 Morgan Dollar — Rotated Dies — MS63 NGC. NGC Census: (26986/20961).

PCGS Population: (20743/17320). Mintage 21,726,811. The current bid is $135.00 after 16 bids and 164 page views for this uncirculated example perfectly displayed in its PCGS holder. Perfectly displayed is meant to describe viewing the front of the coin and flipping it over in the same position displaying an obvious rotation where the reverse looks crooked.

1847-O $2 1/2 Liberty Head Quarter Eagle Rotated Dies VF35 ANACS.

The current bid is $410.00 after 13 bids and 129 page views. The amount of gold in the coin rivals the current bid for it. There are 13 people tracking the coin according to Heritage Auctions so perhaps this is not an example of a coin going unnoticed in an auction.

Collectors Dashboard aims to keep both collectors and investors informed of what trends may fade and which trends may endure ahead. The card price appreciation of 2020 and into early 2021 witnessed a sharp correction during the first half of 2021. The mass-produced new cards of recent years took much of the pain, but Babe Ruth remains highly sought after even if some prices have come down selectively.

An error coin is a common occurrence and many simple errors exist and are bought and sold as novelties. Some of these coins just do not bring high-dollar sales. Included in the auction are many examples like this selling for novelty prices. A 1996-P 25C Washington Quarter Dollar Struck 20% Off Center K-2:00 AU58 ANACS fits the bill here. The listing of the coin is all in the title that was listed, but the current bid was just $12.00 with 5 bids and 53 page views. Only two people are tracking the coin perhaps cementing its status compared to some of the more unique or rare mint errors available to collectors.

Error coins will always be in demand because they are examples of mistakes from a historic American institution that does not make mistakes. When the United States Mint does make a mistake they are very good at destroying them. Not listed in the sale in a 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln cent which Collectors Dashboard profiled in its Key Date Series.

Image provided by Heritage Auctions.