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All Posts Tagged With: "error coins"

Unique 1943 Bronze Cents Set To Be Displayed at the FUN Show

The first-ever public display of the one-of-a-kind set of 1943 bronze Lincoln cents from the Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints will be hosted by Professional Coin Grading Service and Legend Numismatics, Inc. during the first three days of the Florida United Numismatists convention in Tampa, Florida, January 6, 7 and 8, 2011.

The unprecedented exhibit marks the first time the complete set has been included in the PCGS Set RegistrySM. It also marks the fulfillment of a boyhood dream of the collector who owns the coins, Texas business executive Bob R. Simpson, Co-Chairman of the Texas Rangers baseball club.

“A total of nine off-metal World War II-era Lincoln cents from Mr. Simpson’s collection will be displayed at the PCGS booth (#102) at the FUN convention,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ:). “There’s the unique set of three 1943 bronze-planchet cents, a set of three 1944 cents on zinc-coated steel planchets, and three wartime Lincoln cents erroneously struck on silver planchets apparently intended for the production of dimes.”

Simpson wanted to own a 1943 bronze cent error since he was a teenager, and now owns the only-known 1943-D bronze cent as well as other wrong-planchet, wartime cents. All will be exhibited at FUN.

Zinc-coated steel was used for producing cents in 1943 to conserve copper for other uses during World War II, but a small number of coins were mistakenly struck on bronze planchets left over from 1942. In 1944 the Mint resumed use of copper for cent production using recycled ammunition shell cases; however, a small number were mistakenly struck on zinc-coated steel planchets intended for use only on 1943-dated cents.

“Mr. Simpson is the first collector to ever assemble a complete P-D-S set of bronze-planchet 1943 Lincoln cents,” said Laura Sperber, President of Legend Numismatics. “When he recently saw all three coins together for the first time, he said, ‘This is incredible!’ Now, he’s graciously agreed to publicly display them.”

Sperber said that when he was a youngster, Simpson thought he’d actually found a 1943 copper cent in circulation. “But it was not authentic. He still has that in his desk drawer.”

The unique 1943-D bronze cent was purchased by Simpson in September for a record $1.7 million through Legend Numismatics after four years of negotiations with the coin’s anonymous former owner who donated all the proceeds to charity. It is the highest price ever paid for a United States cent.

“It was always special to buy each coin for this set, and until I had all the coins together I just did not realize how important and unreal this project really was! I’m as excited as any collector can be to see this amazing display,” Sperber said.

“Not only is Mr. Simpson’s Set of Off-Metal Cents the All-Time-Finest, it’s the absolute finest possible given the scarcity of the coins,” said BJ Searls, PCGS Set Registry Manager. “Photos of Mr. Simpson’s 1943 bronze and 1944 steel cents can be viewed online in the PCGS Set Registry for ‘Lincoln Cents Off-Metal Strikes, Circulation Strikes (1943-1944)’. The one-of-a-kind complete set has a weighted grade point average of 62.89.” (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: 1943-D copper cent, 1795 Reeded Edge cent, 1811/0 cent, and half cent errors

News and Analysis on  coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community, #20

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I had originally intended to write this week about a variety of coins that were offered in the recently concluded Southern California auctions by the Goldbergs and Heritage. News regarding auction results, however, has been superseded by a 1943-D copper cent selling privately for a reported price of “$1.7 million.” So, I will discuss this piece, some of the early copper in the Goldbergs auction, and the 1811/0 overdate large cent that Heritage sold. This column is devoted to copper.

I. 1943-Denver Mint Copper Cent

In 1943 only, in order to allocate more copper for purposes relating to World War II, U.S. cents were made of zinc coated steel and have a whitish-steely appearance. Probably by accident, a few were struck in copper, almost certainly on planchets (prepared blanks) that were leftover from 1942. Perhaps a few copper planchets were temporarily stuck in the hoppers and became loose over time. Likewise, some 1944 cents were accidentally struck on steel planchets dating from 1943.

I am very skeptical of claims that any of these off-metal strikings were intentionally made. It is possible that U.S. Mint employees may have discovered one or more such errors and intentionally released them from the premises. These are, though, probably true errors. In the 1940s, it would have been extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, for U.S. Mint employees to strike their own fantasy pieces.

Ten or eleven 1943 Philadelphia Mint copper cents and five to seven San Francisco Mint 1943 coppers are known. Curiously, only one 1943-Denver Mint copper cent is believed to exist. It is PCGS graded MS-64 and Laura Sperber sold it to a collector for “$1.7 million.”

Stewart Blay feels “the price has been inflated because the buyer seeking the coin is a billionaire. He loves coins. He wanted to own it and eventually paid what the owner was willing to accept.” Blay is the leading collector of Lincoln Cents and is a long-time participant in coin markets. Stewart also collects silver coins.

A price of “$1.7 million” is, by far, a record price for a Lincoln Cent and for a Mint Error of any kind. For the same collector, Sperber was responsible for the previous record of $373,750 that a 1944-S steel cent realized in the Summer 2008 ANA Auction, which was conducted by Heritage in Baltimore. Furthermore, a 1943-S copper cent was sold privately, a day or so earlier, at the Summer 2008 ANA Convention. I focus on both coins in a two part series that I wrote shortly after this convention ended (Part 1).

Sperber reveals that this “deal really was four years in the making. We agreed to terms in late July. The deal closed Sept 16th.” A total of $2 million, she says, was paid for three items, this 1943-D, a 1944 Philadelphia Mint steel cent and a 1942 pattern cent in “white metal.” This collector is “not seeking” patterns, Sperber relates, “the white metal pattern was just part of the deal.”

Sperber used to collect these off-metal strikings herself. The building of this set “started when” Laura sold this collector her “personal 1943-S PCGS AU-58” copper cent, “which he still has.” She and this collector “have been working on [a set of 43-PDS coppers and 44-PDS steels] for about five years.” Sperber maintains that “completing the 1944 [three piece steel] set was a very underrated piece of work.” I (this writer) point out that there are only two or three known 1944-S steel cents and Sperber acquired the finest 1944-S steel in 2008, as I then reported (in part 2).

Much background information regarding the rarity and importance of 1943 coppers and 1944 steel cents may be found in my two part series in 2008: part 1, part 2.  I also discussed then the reasons why 1943 coppers and 1944 steel cents are extremely popular.

To save time and space, I usually refer to all coins, patterns, and errors that are at least 90% copper as being ‘copper.’ The distinction between copper and bronze, which is usually 95% copper, is beside all points put forth herein. (more…)

Legend Numismatics Pays $2 Million Dollars For 3 Lincoln Cents!

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatic Market Report

You may have noticed the past two weeks or so we have been saying and doing little with our web site. NEWPS have been minimal and Market Reports and Hot Topics have slowed. We can now tell you why. We have been super busy traveling completing deals-not just any deals, deals that are at world record prices and that include some of the rarest coins on earth! We are now finally back home and are pleased to make the following announcement:

LEGEND NUMISMATICS HAS BOUGHT AND SOLD THE UNIQUE 1C 1943D COPPER FOR $1,700,000.00!

We actually purchased a 3 coin coin deal for $2,000,000.00. We figured the 1943D at $1.7 million cost. The other two coins in the deal were the finest 1944 P Steel cent PCGS MS64, and a 1C 1942 PCGS 65 made out of white metal. Yes, you have read this right-3 pennys for $2 million dollars!

The 1943D and the 1944P are both now part of the ONLY COMPLETE PDS sets for their metals. The steel cent collection is by far the finest, as are the coppers. We are hoping to display both these sets at the PCGS table at FUN 2011.

Hard to believe, but Legend tried unsuccessfully for four years to buy the 1943D. The seller in the end was still reluctant. However, we can state ALL of the monies he received from the sale are going to a pet charity project of his. The seller (who wishes to remain anonymous) was represented by Lincoln Cent Specialist Andy Skrabalack of Angel Dee’s.

Our customer is thrilled to own the 1943D. Ever since he heard the coin existed, we had been sent on a mission to acquire it. His desire to own the complete and only PDS copper set came from his finding what he thought was a 1943 copper when he was young. Sadly, this piece was found to be a fake. Still he keeps this coin in his desk draw. He believes 43 Coppers are one of the ultimate classic rarities (and so do we). While the price we paid was stiff, the monies went to a good cause and the coins are now locked away in a great home.

Legend Numismatics has handled MANY million dollar plus classic rarities over the years. The 1943D really is one special highlight for us. We thank the seller and congratulate the new owner. For us, it really has been a career highlight.

WHAT ELSE DID WE TRAVEL FOR?

We have now flown several coast to coast trips over the past 2 weeks. There have also been stops in Dallas, NYC, and Denver in between.

One exciting collection we purchased was a spectacular Pattern Collection. When we got the call we were like, “oh great, more patterns”. This deal turned out to be an incredible “old time” collection with the majority of the coins being raw. Highlights included Earring Quarters, Amazionan Dollars, and several R-8 Seated patterns. These coins will be sent in for grading shortly. We did not grade anything less than PR65! ALL of the coins have been off the market for at least 20+ years. Guess we can never have enough great Patterns!

Besides patterns, we also bought and sold a 50C 1919D PCGS MS65. The price was in excess of $200,000.00. This sale now completes what maybe the second finest Walker set assembled (no, its NOT registered). (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Sept. Goldbergs Coin Auction in Southern California

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin community #18

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

For decades, the Long Beach (CA) Coin, Stamp and Collectible Expo has been a major event for coin collectors. The third Long Beach Expo of 2010 will start on Sept. 23 and end on Sep. 25. As usual, Heritage will conduct the official auction. Earlier, in Los Angles County, the firms of Bonhams and of the Goldbergs will also conduct auctions. The Goldbergs will offer a very wide variety of coins on Sept. 19th, 20th and 21st at the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza.

I. Eliasberg 1893-S $5 Gold Coin

At the ANA Convention in Boston, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to closely examine some of the coins in the upcoming Goldbergs auction. One of my favorites is an 1893-S Half Eagle ($5 gold coin) that was formerly in the Louis Eliasberg collection, which is the greatest collection of U.S. coins that was ever formed.

Many gold coins with an Eliasberg pedigree are of tremendous quality, and this 1893-S is one of them. It is PCGS graded MS-66, and was certified at some point in the mid 1990s. I grade it as 66+. Furthermore, it has a sticker of approval from the CAC, which indicates that experts at the CAC determined that its grade is at least in the middle of the 66 range.

This 1893-S Half Eagle has great luster and an excellent strike. It is wonderfully brilliant. This coin has almost no contact marks or hairlines. The inner fields exhibit some pleasant, natural light green toning.

The 1893-S Half Eagle is somewhat common in grades up to MS-62, in which range it is valued only slightly higher than the most common Liberty Head ‘With Motto’ Half Eagles. In MS-63 and MS-64 grades, an 1893-S Half Eagle commands a substantial premium. In MS-65 and higher grades, it is an extreme condition rarity. At most, one half dozen true gems exist, and probably not even that many. This Eliasberg 1893-S is the only 1893-S that is graded MS-66 by the PCGS or the NGC, and none have been certified as grading higher than MS-66. There is certainly a good chance that it is the finest known.

In MS-66 grade, the PCGS price guide values this 1893-S at $22,500 and very common dates at $7500. A rival price guide at Numismedia.com values a MS-66 grade 1893-S, which must be this one, at $20,150. An old green PCGS label, an Eliasberg pedigree, and a CAC sticker all have the potential to bring about a price that is higher than would otherwise be realized. This coin, though, speaks for itself. It is exceptionally attractive and a delight to view.

II. Carter 1797 ‘small eagle’ $10 Gold Coin

In the upcoming Goldbergs auction, the re-appearance of the NGC graded MS-63 1797 ‘Small Eagle’ Eagle is newsworthy. Gold coins were first struck at the U.S. Mint in 1795. The major varieties of the first type of Eagles that are collected as if they were distinct dates are: the 1795 with thirteen leaves on the branch, the 1795 with nine leaves on the branch, the 1796, and the 1797 ‘small eagle’. This first type has a bust of Miss Liberty on the obverse (front) and a relatively small eagle on the reverse (back). The second type of Eagles, which date from 1797 to 1804, have the same general obverse (front) design along with a much different reverse (back) design. The new reverse features a large or heraldic eagle. It is not just the size of the eagle that is different; the style of the eagle and other reverse design devices are also different. (more…)

1999-W 1/10th Eagle $5.00 Gold Matte Finish Error or Variety?

By Ken Potter – NLG – CoinLink Content Partner

Some time ago a fellow sent in an error-variety coin with some very interesting questions. He said: “I have a 1999-W $5.00 Gold 1/10th Eagle that was struck by the Mint with an Uncirculated Matte Finish instead of the intended Proof finish for the West Point issue. Is this an error or variety — the grading service states it’s an error? Also, why is it referred to by the grading service as struck with “Unfinished Proof Die” when the die has clearly been “finished” albeit the wrong finish?

Phot by Ken PotterHe made to very good points and I had to explain that it was both an error and a variety and that the grading service was technically wrong. My answer to him was as follows and aught to be of interest to others.

According to Alan Herbert in his book, The Official Price Guide To Mint Errors:
“Only a small fraction of the mint product is an “error.” The E word was born back in the dark ages when almost nobody knew anything about the minting process. Today we know enough about the complexities of minting coins to be able to pinpoint the exact cause, or causes, in 99 percent of the cases. We desperately need the proper language to fit with that increased knowledge. Teaching novice collectors nicknames and slang is akin to teaching a chimp how to use a baseball bat. It curls my hair to hear professional people, engineers, doctors, lawyers and other college graduates misusing the language like they do.

We know that many actions by mint personnel are expedients-things done to speed up production, salvage worn or damaged dies, use up substandard planchets, or just simply to save money. Obviously, an expedient is not an “error.” It was done deliberately. Other mint products are different because of wear and tear to the dies, coin press, or other equipment. Again this stretches the definition of “error” to have to include a normal result of heavy usage.

The more we know about the minting process, the harder it is to stretch the E word to fit the end result. The simple solution is to have a “real” term which will include any and all variations, and-just as important-will include “errors,” but in their proper perspective. That term is minting varieties.

A minting variety is, by definition, “A coin which is normal or which exhibits a variation of any kind from the normal, whether intentional, accidental, or due to wear and tear on the equipment, as a result of any portion of the minting process, whether at the blank or planchet stage, as a result of a change or modification of the die, or during the striking process.”
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Modern Coins – No-S Proof Coin Set to be offered by Heritage at CSNS


The period 1965 to 1967 was an interesting time in US numismatic history. The price of silver had risen to the point where it made no sense to make higher denomination coins out of silver. In addition, there was a widely reported coin shortage, despite record production levels.

As the mint scrambled to adjust, a number of emergency measures were taken. Production of 1964-dated coinage continued well into 1965 until the new clad planchets were ready. Then, to make sure that there was enough of the new coinage to go around, the mint decided both to cease production of proof coinage and to do away with mintmarks. The only concession of any kind made to coin collectors were the Special Mint Sets of 1965-67, not true proof coins, but high quality circulation strike coins similar in some ways to the satin finish coins in mint sets today.

In 1968, the mint resumed the use of mintmarks and the production of proof coinage, but with a new twist. Proof coins, like the prior Special Mint Set coins, were now made in San Francisco, and the S mintmark reappeared after a 12 year hiatus. Initially, the San Francisco Mint also manufactured some circulation strike cents and nickels, but their dimes, quarters, and halves were strictly proofs. The mint would eventually also make Susan B. Anthony dollars for circulation, as well as silver-clad Ike dollars and bicentennial coinage for collectors.

During the first year of S-mint proof set production, an unexpected hitch occurred. In a few sets full of S-mint coins, the dimes had no trace of a mintmark! This came about because at that time all coinage dies were prepared with no mintmark, which would be added only upon arrival at the branch mint. On one die, that didn’t happen, and an instant rarity was made.

Walter Breen opined that about six examples of the 1968 no S dime were known. If that is true, then Heritage has sold each of these coins an average of at least three times apiece. Nevertheless, the 1968 no S dime is clearly an extremely rare coin, likely R.6 or low R.7, surpassed in rarity among 20th century dimes by only one coin.

Heritage’s upcoming 2010 April-May Milwaukee, WI CSNS US Coin Auction includes a rather unique proof set: one each of the five collectible missing mintmark proof coins. Along with the 1968 no S dime, the set includes the 1970 no S dime, the 1971 no S nickel, the 1983 no S dime, and the 1990 no S cent. While none of these coins is as rare as the 1968 S-less dime, each is highly desirable, and a key to its respective proof series. All of the coins in the set grade Proof-68 or 69, and show the eye appeal expected of latter-day US Mint products.

Incidentally, the sole 20th century dime that is rarer than the 1968 no S proof dime is also an S-less proof. A mere two examples are known of the 1975 no S dime, and neither Heritage nor the major grading services has ever handled one!

Misdated Presidential Dollar Excites Error Collectors

NGC recently authenticated a 2009 D Zachary Taylor Presidential $1 coin bearing the date 2010 D on its lettered edge.

NGC has certified a Zachary Taylor Presidential $1 coin that bears the date 2010 D. The Zachary Taylor coin was the fourth Presidential dollar released in 2009 and should correctly bear the date 2009, not 2010. This is the first time that the wrong date has been reported on an edge-lettered US dollar.

The date on each Presidential $1 coin appears on its edge and is applied by an edge lettering die after the obverse and reverse are struck with a blank collar. Because edge lettering is an additional and subsequent step, it has been the source of several types of novel mint error coins. Most common among these errors is partial edge lettering, which occurs when a coin gets hung up in the edge lettering machine and part of the edge lettering is not impressed. Another error is missing edge lettering; that error occurs when a coin misses the edge lettering step entirely. A third error type that has been encountered is doubled edge lettering, which is created when a coin passes through the edge lettering machine twice.

While there are many possible explanations for how this incorrect date error may have occurred, its story is seemingly revealed by the coins that accompanied it. This error coin was included in a roll of 2010 D Native American $1 Coins that were purchased using the US Mint’s Direct Ship Program. Since only this lone Zachary Taylor $1 was found in the roll, one can speculate that the same machinery was used to strike 2010 D Native American dollars after completing a run of 2009 D Zachary Taylor dollars. A coin was left behind somewhere between striking and edge lettering became mixed with Native American dollars headed for the edge lettering process, and was thus inscribed with the wrong date.

Because of where this coin was found, it does not suggest that a large run of error coins were made and, therefore, this type of error coin may remain a significant rarity. (more…)

Is it an Error Coin or a Variety?

By Ken Potter

By way of introduction, I am an error and variety coin specialist from Michigan. As a charter life member of the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA) and a founding member of the National Collector’s Association of Die Doubling (NCADD), I serve both groups independently as their official attributor of world (non-U.S.) hub doubled dies and I privately list all types of die varieties on both U.S. and other world coins in the Variety Coin Register(r). I am also a columnist for Coin World, World Coin News, Canadian Coin News, Cherrypickers’ News and several club publications.

While I plan to examine issues other than errors and varieties, most of what I plan for this column will relate to my area of expertise. Before getting started I should mention that varieties listed within the Variety Coin Register(r) (VCR) are assigned a primary VCR number and a secondary number that defines the variety type or class. This reference number will accompany the description for most varieties shown in this column. I believe the system is rather self- explanatory but if anybody desires a detailed explanation they may contact me via e-mail and request “Form#VCR”.

Another item in need of explanation is how I differentiate between errors and varieties. The lines of demarcation are not always clear and tend to vary between specialists. One area of agreement is that any mechanically misstruck coin or a coin struck on an improperly prepared planchet is an error coin. It is also a consensus that any coin displaying a deliberate change in design is considered a “die variety”. Thus a coin struck “off-center” or “struck on a damaged planchet” is considered and “error” while a coin exhibiting a change in the style of lettering, etc., is considered a deliberate “variety”.

Some specialists argue that certain “varieties” such as repunched Mint marks (RPMs) and hub doubled dies are actually “errors” because there is no intent by the Mint to prepare a “flawed” die. Others argue many RPMs and doubled dies are more appropriately defined as a “variety”; they believe they’re deliberately released and contend that many issuing authorities consider such flaws trivial and an expected byproduct of tolerances and processes in place (a stance with which I pretty much agree).

It is also known that some “overdates” were deliberately created by the Mint to extend the life of an otherwise obsolete die, while it is presumed that others were created in error. While most specialists agree, determining which dies were deliberately overdated and which were not is often an exercise in futility. Thus we cannot know for certain if we can accurately apply the term “error” to many “overdates”. (more…)

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

Bowers and Merena 2010 Orlando Rarities Coin Auction Includes Humbert $50 Error

Important U.S. Coins to Cross Auction Block in January

humbert_error_bm_121109Bowers and Merena Auctions, America’s leading rare coin and currency auction house, will commence its 2010 auction schedule with the Orlando Rarities Sale. The auction will be conducted on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, beginning at 6 p.m. ET at the Doubletree Resort-Orlando International Drive. Pre-sale lot viewing will take place in the same location January 3 to 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

“2010 promises to be another exciting year for Bowers and Merena,” remarked Steve Deeds, president of the firm. “The year will certainly begin on a high note with our eagerly anticipated Orlando Rarities Sale. Many important coins are included among the highlights of this sale, and bidding promises to be spirited for all U.S. coin series and types.”

Continued Deeds: “Among the leading rarities set to cross the auction block in our Orlando Rarities Sale is an 1851 Augustus Humbert Fifty-Dollar gold piece with an extremely important, previously unknown engraving error.

humbert_error_details_121109Nominally an example of the Kagin-2 Lettered Edge variety—itself a scarce variety with a Rarity-5 rating—this particular piece is missing the digits 88 in the inscription 880 THOUS, resulting in a partially blank scroll on the obverse above the eagle.

A discovery piece that has been certified AU-55 by PCGS, this coin is sure to warrant the undivided attention of Territorial gold specialists.”

Deeds also called attention to highlights in the regular issue United States silver- and gold-coin series. “We will also be presenting a low-mintage 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter graded MS-65 Full Head by NGC, an elusive 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dollar of the 16 Stars variety in PCGS/CAC VG-10 and an exquisite 1879 Flowing Hair Stella rarity that NGC has certified as Proof-66 Cameo.” (more…)

New Gold Indian Cent Error Coin to be Sold By Heritage at FUN

Exactly five Indian cents are known on gold planchets, according to information available. Among them are three dated 1900, this piece dated 1905, and an example dated 1906.

ha_1905_indian_cent_gold_error_120509The Judd pattern reference lists 1900 and 1907 gold cents in the section on mint errors. However, Andrew W. Pollock, III listed the 1900 gold Indian cents as P-1990 in the regular pattern section of his reference.

Pollock writes: “Listed in Judd as a mint error, but it is difficult to imagine that a Mint employee would be so careless as to feed gold planchets into a coinage press fitted with one-cent piece dies.” Pollock suggests that these pieces may have been deliberately struck for one or more collectors.

One example dated 1900 is also known in silver, from the identical dies as the 1900 gold Indian cents, suggesting they were all made at or near the same time. Rick Snow writes in A Guide Book of Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents that “both the silver and gold examples are struck from the same dies, with light roughness on the reverse die, probably from die rust.” That all three 1900 pieces have higher weights suggests that they were specially made, perhaps without the knowledge of Mint officials.

Fred Weinberg explains that “the weights vary because in all probability, they were on planchets that might not have been filed down to the proper weight spread.” Hand adjusting of individual gold planchets continued in the Mint until circa 1910. Those three pieces are almost certainly fancy pieces made for collectors, while the 1905 and 1906 examples, on correct weight planchets, are more likely pieces truly made in error, and substantially more important as such. (more…)

PNG Members Recover Coins from 2001 Theft

The only known Walking Liberty half dollar mistakenly struck on a five-cent denomination planchet was among the 12 stolen error coins recovered by PNG member-dealers. (Photos courtesy of Fred Weinberg, Inc.)

off_metal_walker_recoveredA dozen of the 44 U.S. error coins stolen from an Indiana motel room in 2001 have been recovered and returned to their delighted owner through the joint efforts of three Professional Numismatists Guild members. At the time of the theft eight years ago these coins were to be the foundation of a planned book about off-metal errors.

The recovered coins belong to collector and researcher Mark Lighterman of Sanford, Florida. They include what is believed to be the only known Walking Liberty half dollar struck on a planchet intended for five-cent pieces; one of three known Standing Liberty quarter dollars struck on a one-cent planchet; a unique 1858 Flying Eagle cent on a silver half-dime planchet; and a double denomination Indian cent on a previously-struck Barber dime. There is also a transitional error 1944-dated Washington quarter on a zinc planchet intended for 1943 cents.

The coins were stolen along with a camera, laptop computer and a collection of over 1,000 casino gaming chips from Lighterman’s motel room in Southport, Indiana when he was traveling to the Central States Numismatic Society convention in Indianapolis in April 2001.

The recovery was made by PNG member Paul Nugget of Spectrum East in East Meadow, New York; PNG associate member Andrew Glassman, President of Spectrum Numismatics International in Irvine, California; and PNG Board Member and former PNG President Fred Weinberg of Fred Weinberg, Inc. in Encino, California.
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Unusual Items: 1906 Indian Cent. Struck in Gold

One of the more unusual and rare items in US numismatics will be auctioned by Stack’s in their Philadelphia Americana Sale September 23-26 in Philadelphia,  is Lot 4299, an Indian Head Cent struck in gold.  From the Stacks Catalog description ……..

stacks_gold_indian_cent_092309“This off-metal error is 18.3 mm (horizontal) X 18.1 mm (vertical). 1.1 mm to 1.2 mm thick. Plain Edge. with Lovely olive gold fields join yellow gold lustre and coppery highlights in the protected areas. This specimen weighs 64.4 grains and was probably struck on a quarter eagle planchet, which should weigh 64.5 grains. The physical size of the planchet is also very similar to that of a quarter eagle (17.78 mm), the slightly larger diameter of this specimen accounted for by the spread during striking of the soft gold to fill the larger diameter collar (19.05 mm) of an Indian cent.

Only a handful of Indian Head cents in gold of various dates are known. The most frequently encountered Indian cent in gold is the 1900, which is estimated at two to four specimens, according to various sources. We have traced two specimens:

1) John A. Beck (A. Kreisberg, January 1975, Lot 609), later sold as Auction ’89:856, again as part of the 1991 ANA Sale (B&M, August 1991, Lot 4103) and now owned by error collector Mike Byers;

2) 1993 ANA Sale (Heritage, July 1993, Lot 8000). Although the uspatterns.com web site reports that “With regard to the 1900, 3 or 4 are believed to exist including the circulated 1993 ANA example and the PCGS65 Col Green, Beck, Byers coin,” this estimate might be on the high side. A 1900 in gold is pictured as coin 6 in figure 131 of Don Taxay’s Counterfeit, Mis-Struck and Unofficial U.S. Coins, but it is hard to determine whether or not this is one of the above two listed specimens.

The 1900 is listed as Pollock 1990, referencing the 1991 ANA Sale specimen, and it is also listed in Judd’s Appendix B. A 1900 specimen in the Dewitt Smith collection was purchased by Virgil Brand in 1908 and is listed in his ledgers as #46973, but it is not clear whether this is one of the pieces cited above. Also known is a silver 1900 specimen struck from the same, rusted dies used to produce the gold specimens. The 1907 is referenced in several places, including Judd’s Appendix B, but has not been seen at auction recently. It is not inconceivable that other dates exist, as well as additional specimens of known dates.
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