Overdates Found Off the Beaten Path
By Ginger Rapsus
you’re tired of the same old collecting by date
and mintmark. You need something new, a
challenge. You are looking for a new coin series
to collect that offers more variety than the
usual, and you want a collection that’s a little
Collect overdates. A set of United States
overdate coins can include silver, copper and
gold coins of nearly every type and
denomination. The coins are scarce. You can
never know the exact mintage figure. And you
know that your set may never really be complete.
There may be undiscovered overdates, and you,
the devoted collector, may discover the next
Overdates are made when a numeral of a coin’s
date is punched over an existing number. In the
early days of the Mint, money was scarce, and if
a die from the previous year was left over, a
new date was just punched over the old. These
interesting coins are, strictly speaking, not
Some of the more famous overdates occurred in
the 20th century in popular series. The 1942/1
Mercury dime is a major example. This coin is in
demand from Mercury dime fans, those who
appreciate rarities, and overdate collectors.
This overdate was made at Philadelphia and
Denver, but none has been found with a San
Francisco mintmark ... yet.
The 1918-D, “8 over 7” Buffalo nickel is another
popular overdate in a popular series. How many
of these coins had the date worn off? Buffalo
nickels often were found with dates completely
worn off, and who knows how many overdates were
lost this way? I once saw a 1918/7-D Buffalo
nickel offered for sale with an acid-restored
date. The specialist in overdate coins may not
want such a piece, but then again, an acid dated
coin can be a space filler, until a better coin
can be found.
Another coin often found with worn-off dates is
the Standing Liberty quarter. If you have any of
these quarters with the date worn off, but the
“S” mintmark plainly visible, you could have a
1918-S, “8 over 7” overdate. The exact mintage
of overdates is unknown, and probably only a few
survived with full dates.
One of the more obvious overdates occurred on a
Bust dollar of 1802. The 1802/1 variety is
plainly visible on this large silver coin. This
particular overdate comes in two distinct
varieties, with narrow and wide dates, referring
to the spacing of the numerals. The wide date is
a bit scarcer, but both 1802/1 overdates are not
priced that much above the price for a normally
Devotees of the Capped Bust half dollar series
are familiar with the 1820/19 coin. This
overdate, too, is plainly visible. The Capped
Bust half dollar is famous for its many
varieties, and the overdate, too, comes in two
distinct varieties: with a curl base 2 and a
square 2. Both coins are priced only a little
above the prices for normally dated coins.
Many other overdates arE known in the Capped
Bust half dollar series, nearly one overdate in
each year. Beginning with the 1808/7 and through
the 1829/7, Bust half collectors know all about
these remarkable coins that are not priced too
high, except for the 1812/1 overdate with small
and large “8;” the large “8” is much scarcer,
and priced accordingly.
Overdates are known for the Shield, Buffalo and
Jefferson nickels, a virtual type set. The
1943-P with “3 over 2” may even be found in
pocket change. Check every war nickel carefully.
Check your Liberty nickels too. No overdates are
known for this series, yet, but there may be one
just waiting to be discovered.
The tiny silver three-cent piece minted from
1851-1873 is known to have a few overdates in
the set. The 1862/1 is not that hard to find and
the price isn’t too painful.
Even some gold coins have overdates. The half
eagle of 1796, with the “6 over 5;” the 1802/1
quarter eagle; and a number of overdate Capped
Bust half eagles are known. The latter series is
scarce in its own right, as so many of these
coins were melted for the bullion value. Gold
overdates can be considered big-league
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle has an overdate,
the 1909/8, priced only a little higher than the
normal date in Mint State.
Overdates can be collected as a type set; many
different types would be included, and this
would be a unique way of building a United
States type set. Perhaps the Bust Half nut, as
these collectors are often called because of
their club name, could find the overdates in his
favorite series. Maybe another collector would
want only the more modern overdates. The
completist, with a good budget, would want to
find as many overdates, in all denominations and
metals, as he could. Even this kind of
collection may never be finished.
The specialist in overdates can build a
different and scarce collection. No one really
know how scarce any of these coins really is.
And who knows, maybe the next rare overdate will
be discovered by someone who loves overdate
coins and studies every piece with a magnifier.