Error US Coins
Error Coins from the United States
Error coins! These coins prove that not all mistakes are â€śbad.â€ť Error coins range from mistrikes and offstrikes to broadstrikes and double dies. This is a very broad topic, but I will focus on double die coins. Double strikes occur when a planchet is struck twice, instead of once, and the two strikes donâ€™t align with each other.
One of the most famous US error coins is the 1955 double die penny, minted at the Philadelphia mint. Strong examples of this coin contain evidence of doubling in multiple points across the obverse, including the date and the motto, where the copper planchet was accidentally struck twice. Poor examples might have minor doubling, at a single point. My 1955 penny has doubling on the curve of the second 5 in the date, but doesnâ€™t have any noteworthy doubling otherwise. It obviously took a while to be recognized as a double die coin, because it is well worn and in average (or below) circulation.
Although not all error coins are high grades or obvious errors, those are the ones that command the high prices. Strong double die 1955s are valued at $2000+ in uncirculated grades, and still $1000+ in lower circulated grades. On the other hand, minor error examples, such as mine, are valued at about the value of normal 1955P pennies. This allows collectors to buy interesting and unusual errors, without paying high prices.
Error coins from the medieval period are far more common than those from the higher- tech modern times. Without the use of machines, they were struck with hammers, and multiple strikes might be used to get a good design imprint. Many medieval coins have doubling if you look closely, and arenâ€™t worth any extra. Those from the modern time period, where technology limits the number of errors, are much more valuable and rare.
Even with modern technology, double die wheat penny types are known from 1909, 1917, 1936, 1941, 1955 and 1958. This is in addition to other errors, such as broadstruck or mistriked coins, and errors in other denominations. Likely, it is as a consequence of producing billions of coins that some mint errors are able to slip past inspection.
When I got into error coins a few years ago, I acquired a broadstruck dime. It has a much more noticeable error than my penny, because it is much larger than normal. Because it was significantly more noticable, it was quickly removed from circulation and is a much higher grade (Unc) than my penny. Broadstrikes often occur because the collar, which limits how far the coin can spread, doesnâ€™t do its job.
The Error Collector
There are just so many varieties of error coins even the authors seem to be confused sometimes. It takes a real experienced numismatist, grader, expert or whatever to really evaluate error coins.
Hi user_1727. First of all, thank you for your post! We E/V (error and die variety) collectors like to know that people are looking closely at their coins. Second, please know there is a distinct difference between "error" coins and "die varieties" and Mokester is correct. The doubling on a 1955 doubled die obverse (DDO) cent happened at some point in the die-making process; it is on the obverse die itself, which is why it was repeated several thousand times, and doubling is only seen on this side. A double-struck coin would have twice-struck features on both sides of the coin, and is considered 'unique' or a one-off; an unintended consequence (or error) of the striking process. The 1955 DDO Lincoln cent is one of the most popularly collected die varieties in US coinage. (Also, the generally accepted term when talking die varieties is "DOUBLED die; be sure to include a "d" at the end of "double".) Thanks again! -Sam Gelberd, ANA Numismatic Educator.
Nice blog. Mokie set you straight on how the doubling happens. Always good to learn. You should look into machine doubling, in my opinion. Most people make this mistake when searching coins. It's a cool field to get into, errors. can be pricey though what isn't in our hobby? Thank you.
Thanks 1727 and Mokestar. Thats how it works. Im mailing two very rare DDR to Heratage Hiuse. Less thn 20 lefr in the world. They have done great there. I always xhexh raw xoins. Git one from ebay. Some sellers have no idea what they have.i had planed to mail them early but the virus hit. Thanks
Love error coins, but not a collector. I did find many years ago a quarter struck on a nickel blank. Nice post.
The planchet is not struck twice, the hub that struck the die rotated slightly between hubbings and caused the die to reflect the doubling which was transferred to each planchet. Coins can be struck more than once by a die but that is not what causes "double dies".