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Unusual Items: Remarkable Double Denomination Mule 1993-D Cent with Dime Reverse

ha_11c_error_fun09U.S. coins struck with dies of different denominations are extremely rare. Until recent years, none were known.

The most famous among those are the Sacagawea dollar reverse, paired with a statehood quarter obverse, of which ten examples are known, per Fred Weinberg.

In Heritage’s April 2006 Central States Signature, a 1999 cent with a dime reverse hammered down for $138,000, the largest prices realized for an error coin in a Heritage auction, excluding the 1944-S steel cent that sold for $373,750 in our 2008 ANA Signature.

Aside from malfeasance of a mint worker, the muled denomination error is only possible when the denominations involved are similar in diameter. A cent is 19 mm, and a dime is 17.9 mm, a difference of 1.1 mm or approximately 5%.

Given the billions of cents struck annually at the Federal mints, it was inevitable that an absent-minded worker would pair cent and dime dies.

Presumably, the mistake was discovered and the struck pieces were destroyed before dispersal, with the single exception of the present survivor.

This lustrous Gem shows the characteristics expected of a cent and dime mule. The dime side has a broad, tall rim, since metal was forced into the collar of the dime die by the wider diameter cent die opposite. As a result, the cent side has a soft strike near the rim, since metal in the vicinity flowed into the dime collar.

This coin is being offered for sale at Heritage’s 2010 FUN Auction as Lot 2383

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