Collecting Error And Die Variety Coins

Virtually every series of coins that have ever been minted have had their flaws that have made some of them highly collectable. The latest series of coins to become popular for their errors have been the Presidential dollar coins, or what everyone has came to call the Godless coins. These coins left the U.S. mint without the lettering along the edge.
The state quarters series have also been in the news a lot lately for their many mistakes and flaws. From what appears to be an extra leaf on the Wisconsin coins, an extra tree on the Minnesota quarters, to the “T” in trust missing from some of the Kansas state quarters. With millions of coins being minted in each series there’s bound to be some errors.
Some coin collectors create their entire collections based on error and die coins. But, the definitions of what makes and error and die coin are so similar that even some seasoned collectors are often confused by the difference in the two types of coins.

Double Strike Mint Error
Double Strike Mint Error

Both error and die coins are the result of some kind of flaw or abnormality that occurs during the minting of the coin. There are three phases of the minting process, the planchets are made first, then the dies are created and lastly the coins are struck. And, these errors can occur during any one of these phases.
Error coins are created during the striking process. And, while many of the errors appear to be identical, each one is unique to each coin. There are no guarantees of how many error coins will appear in each series. Although, there have been literally thousands of state quarters found without the “T”.
A die coin on the other hand, refers to any variation that occurs in the normal design. These generally occurs from a alteration or problem in the design, creation or maintenance of the die. Die coins will of course,  be more common since every coin struck with the flawed die will exhibit the exact same flaw.
Typical varieties of die coins will display different alignments of the mint mark, date, letters or numbers. Some will have repunched marks and even the doubled die marks are included in this category, although a double die might seem to be an error.
Error coins or mis-struck coins can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most dramatic types of errors is off center striking. This occurs when The blank coins aren’t fed through the coin press properly and only a section of the coin is struck.
Coins that have multiple or double striking are some of the most popular error coins among collectors. A broadstrike coin is created when debris, dust or dirt gets lodged between the collar of the plate and the die causing the movement of the coin to be inhibited. Some broadstrike coins will have a bowl like shape, but the entire design will be visible.
Like any other collectable, the value of error and die coins depends upon several factors. The scarcity of the error can make the coin very valuable, but it also depends on the date, denomination, the type of error that occurred and how significant it is. While some error coins are almost worthless, others can be worth thousands of dollars.
Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2008

17 thoughts on “Collecting Error And Die Variety Coins”

  1. Found New York state quarter with silver on one side only. Copper on the other. The design is clear on the copper.

  2. found a SILVER penny, not worn at all, dated 1943, back says ONE CENT, and has wheat stalks around edges

  3. found a 1989 pennie lookes like its half nickle and halk copper on the front side and the back is mainly nickle with hints of copper. any idea what this is is it die variety? or a miss stamp? anyone know what its worth? the top of the front side the IN GOD WE in coverd in the nickle an ony the TRUST is Vissable in copper. the rim on the front is off center and fades to nothing on one side.

    • Derek
      Are you sure it is nickel? Since 1982 US pennies have been made from mostly zinc (white shiny metal) with just a hint of copper. Take a newer penny and scratch it and you will see the zinc below the thin copper coating.

  4. what does anyone know about an 1867 Shield Nickel with the letter “s” completely missing from the motto?

  5. I have a quarter that is made of silver, but I can not tell the year, because it has an eagle on both sides of the coin. Any ideas?

  6. Have in my posession a 2007 Idaho State Quarter with extra metal dome on the face and it was struck this way. The image is visibly stamped over the dome of extra metal. Curious if anyone else knows of this type of flaw.

  7. I have a 1986 penny that looks like when it was made that there was silver left on the cast that made it .The silver is all around the edge of the penny and the face of Abraham Lincoln is silver his beard and all is silver and on the opposite side the Lincoln Memorial is silver you can tell its all the way through you can even see Abraham Lincoln sitting on his tall chair clear as day and you can see a tiny statue in front of the memorial clear as day because of the silver .Like I said, you can tell its solid all the way through .It is in excellant shape. I want to know how much its worth ,and Im Interested in selling it to the highest bidder. I took it to a pawn shop and he agreed about the silver going all the way through and he was sure it was silver and not nickle. I live in Atlanta ,Georgia is there anyone I could Go to about this penny and My very large coin collection dated back to the 1800. Thank you, DeBra
    Im sorry I used my old email when I wrote you this early this afternoon this is the email I now got!!!!!!!!!!!! please give me a answer on what I wrote

    • The ‘silver’ color you are seeing is zinc. Since 1982 US cents have been made almost entirely of zinc with a very thin coating of copper. Sometimes the copper is too thin or even nonexistent and that is what happened with yours.

  8. i have a 1963 half dallor, it has a big flaw on the head where kennedy was shot, a big bubby of silver with an ear on the out side of the big bubble on the back of his head, what is that worth

  9. Hi there ! Last night I found in my possession a 1986 no mint penny. The interesting thing about it is that the Trust word on the face is very thin lettering the on the obverse the ONE CENT words are also very thin, and it does not have the designers FG initials. In the Memorial Lincoln can be barely if hardly made out and the Memorial itself seems thinner smaller that the noal penny. What do you make of this? I am a new collector and so enjoy what I’m doing so am eager to learn from others. I’m running to the book store for coin collectors book. Any suggestions on that too? Thank u!!!

  10. My wife was working and a gentleman came in the store with 3 2002 Louisiana triple stamped coins. On one side is smashed in, and the other naturally out, but George’s head is on both sides, and 3 different rings for the edge. Was only able to obtain one, but was wondering if any one else has had any errors besides the die strike?

  11. i have a 1989 penny with globs of extra metal on the bottom under lincoln around the rim. on the reverse it seems to be doubled in the “united states of america ” and e. pluribus unum. what is this worth and is it rare or common? I can not find anything on this type of error…. thank you!

  12. I have a 1893 British one penny coin with Queen Elizabeth bun head that is fairly worn. On the side with Queen Elizabeth there are die stamped letters curving from around her ear down the neck to the shoulder with the letters Huxley. Unless the stamp makes it rare I think it’s not worth much at all. Any comment on the die stamped letters?

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