God We Rust Quarter
State Quarter Error Caused by a
By Susan Headley
How this State Quarter
Filled Die Error Occurred
This Kansas State Quarter was struck through
grease, creating a filled die error where the
first T in TRUST is very weakly struck.
Photo by Susan Headley
The State Quarters program is noteworthy for
many reasons, but perhaps the most interesting
to U.S. coin collectors is the profusion of
error coins that have appeared in the State
Quarter series. The coin featured here is an
example of the struck through grease filled die
Looking at the image, you can see that the first
T in TRUST seems to be missing, rendering a
legend that says, "In God We Rust." If you look
real closely, though, you can see a faint
outline of the T. In the second image, I have
tilted the coin a little differently to the
light so you can see the T better. The third
image is of the reverse side, showing that this
error occurs on the 2005-P Kansas state quarter.
Here is a larger image of this coin1 so that you
can see the detail more easily.
Why is the "T" Missing? Like all mechanical
machines, a lubricant is needed in the coin
press to prevent the metal parts from causing
friction to each other. In this case, some
lubricating grease escaped from the machinery
onto the surface of the coin die, eventually
plugging up the letter T in TRUST. With the T
being plugged, when the coin dies struck the
planchet, the T wasn't fully transferred to the
surface of the coin. This type of error is
called a struck through grease filled die (or
just "filled die") error.
Is the Struck Through Grease Filled Die Error
Common? Actually, yes, this kind of thing
happens fairly often. What isn't so common is
the fact that it happened in such an interesting
place, actually changing the meaning of an
important motto on the coin. Sometimes, whole
words get obliterated because of a filled die!
In fact, there are cases of the entire surface
of the coin coming out all mushy-looking, or
very lightly struck, because of excessive
grease. The most frequent occurrence, however,
is that the grease doesn't get anywhere
interesting on the coin, and simply obscures or
weakens a minor area of the surface, and nobody
ever notices it.
How Much is the Struck Through Grease Filled Die
Error Worth? As a general rule, they are not
worth very much unless they are especially
spectacular in some way. Then they might be
valued at $2 to $5, perhaps, depending on
condition. Filled die errors that occur in
currently circulating coinage are not usually
worth anything at all unless the coin is in an
extremely high grade, generally MS-60 or better.
Filled die errors on Proof coins, however, can
bring a nice premium, since it is very rare that
defective coins make it through the careful
Proof quality-control process.