the story is cute, run away
Posted by Dave Harper
Coin errors are both the easiest thing for
collectors to understand and the hardest.
Everybody understands the concept of something
going wrong. However, from there many tend to
slide off into silliness.
You see cutesy stories or descriptions over time
that are written to hype the current value of
something online. These stories for the most
part donít stand up for long and buyers end up
with a lot of virtually worthless cutesy coins.
The errors that stand the test of time tend to
be immediately identifiable by all, have an
essentially defined number that exist, an
explanation as to how they were produced in a
manner that is replicated over and over again in
the same way and they can be seen with the naked
Whatís identifiable by all? Well, classic errors
are 1943 cents that were struck on the
copper-based planchet rather than a steel
planchet. Catalogers maintain a census of them
and when they come up for sale, as a 1943-S
copper did at the Heritage Long Beach sale,
bidding goes to the moon, in this case $207,000.
Another easily identifiable error is basically
what introduced the mass of collectors to the
error concept as an acceptable collectible. That
is the 1955 doubled-die cent. There are a few
thousand of these and they are listed in the
popular price guides.
Again, collectors can easily distinguish the
doubling in the date. The error experts know how
they were produced so all of them are virtually
identical because they were made from the same
obverse die, which had the doubling on it. The
doubled-dies are not struck twice.
If you need enormous magnification to see
something, it drastically erodes value.
Another thing to keep in mind is that any errors
on proof coins tend to be more valuable than the
same error on a circulation strike because
quality control is much higher for proof coins.
Now donít get me wrong, there are many
collectible errors that donít necessarily fit
all of these criteria, however, their existence
tends to be explained in very dry and technical
language rather than cutesy stories. Prices for
the most part are reasonable. In other words, if
you find one, they wonít make you rich.