The Lighter Side of Coins and Currency

Errors, Varieties, Found in Rolls, Unique and Interesting Coins and Currency

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Error Hall of Fame

Double Denomination

1999 1C Lincoln Cent Obverse Die Muled With a Roosevelt Dime Reverse on a Lincoln Cent Planchet MS66 Red PCGS

This incredible error somehow escaped the scrutiny of Mint employees. We are uncertain how a Lincoln cent obverse die was paired with a Roosevelt dime reverse, but this coin proves that it happened. Only seven double-denomination mules had been certified by November 2003. This type of error occurred only recently, during the entire history of U.S. coinage that spans more than 200 years.

The obverse is sharply struck on the figure of Lincoln and the date, although the opposing dime die, being slightly smaller than the cent planchet, caused minor peripheral weakness on the obverse. In other words, nothing was behind the periphery of the cent die to force the expanding metal into the recesses. Naturally, the slightly smaller reverse dime die caused that side to be boldly struck.

Shortly after this phenomenon dropped from the (mismatched) dies, it was discovered in Erie, Pennsylvania by someone who found the coin in a roll of 1999 cents obtained from a local bank. The discoverer then sold the piece to Dempsey & Baxter, a local jewelry store. Dempsey & Baxter held onto the piece until the present consignor "made them an offer they couldn't refuse" in 2003. The consignor had hoped to surprise his father with the coin as a Christmas gift; however, his father unexpectedly died on October 2 of that year, several days before the coin was actually to be purchased. The consignor went ahead and bought the coin after his father's death and kept it alongside his other double-denomination errors.

It has since been carefully handled, and has developed no spots or other distractions. The coin remains a solid Premium Gem MS66, with full mint Red. For the error specialist, this would be the centerpiece of an advanced collection. Error collectors will long remember the present coin and hope that someday it will again be publicly offered. This piece was widely publicized in Coin World and Numismatic News soon after its discovery. This prize represents a unique opportunity. It is undoubtedly one of the most important highlights of this or any numismatic auction.


1995 10C Roosevelt Dime--Struck With Cent Obverse Die--MS64 NGC. An astounding mint error that prior to the 1990s was believed impossible to occur. Only the narrow difference in die diameter between the cent and dime makes it plausible that a busy mint worker could erroneously pair dies of different denominations. Most likely, a press run was made from this die pairing and detected by an inspector, possibly the operator of the mint press. Perhaps the entire batch was melted, aside from the present coin.
This satiny near-Gem displays the characteristics expected of a dime struck with a cent obverse die. The obverse has only a partial rim. IN GOD WE TRUST and the L in LIBERTY are tight against the border. This is because the dime planchet was less in diameter than the cent die. On the dime side, the border displays minor softness of strike, principally on ES OF AM. This was partly due to the die alignment, but also because of metal flow of the planchet toward the collar to fill the unexpectedly wide cent obverse die. The strike on the cent is sharp except for minor incompleteness on the truncation of Lincoln's bust near the VDB initials.



Double Denomination Cent and Dime Mule Roosevelt Dime with 1995 Cent Obverse


1859 1C Indian Cent Obverse Struck on 1857 Half Dime - MS63 PCGS

Apparently unique with no rumor of any other similar examples, although this piece was actually given two different numbers in the Adams-Woodin pattern reference early in the 20th century. It has a pedigree dating back nearly to the time of issue and has only been offered for sale at auction on three previous occasions.

Two years after it was minted, an 1857 half dime became mixed with blank planchets ready for production of 1859 Indian cents. During the coinage process, this half dime was fed into the press on top of a blank cent planchet, and the two pieces were struck together. The result was the obverse overstrike with the Indian cent impression over the half dime obverse, and the wavy and somewhat flattened half dime reverse. It is also fascinating to ponder the other coin that was produced in this same operation, essentially an Indian cent with a half dime size indent, consisting specifically of the 1859 Indian cent reverse with nothing but the border dentils and tops of a few letters visible on the obverse.

This unique error is listed in a few different references including Appendix B of the Judd pattern book (seventh edition edited by Abe Kosoff) where it was described as "1859--CENT. Weakly struck over a half dime, date not showing. Reverse slightly blurred by the overstriking." It is also recorded in the ninth edition of the same reference (edited by Q. David Bowers) where it is included as one of just 14 "Classic Mint Error Specimens." The two numbers given to this piece by Edgar H. Adams and William H. Woodin in United States Pattern, Trial, and Experimental Pieces carry slightly different descriptions, although there is little doubt that they refer to the same coin. AW-310: "Mule of the obverse of the cent of the year, without date, with the reverse of the half dime of the year." AW-319: "The adopted obverse. Rev. the reverse of the half dime of the year." Don Taxay recorded this overstrike on page 392 of the 1971 edition of Scott's Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins. More recently, Andrew Pollock listed this coin as P-3188, where he misdescribed it as an obverse die trial: "Struck on the obverse side of a regular-issue 1857 half dime."

It has only appeared for auction on three different occasions. In the June 1890 sale of the Lorin G. Parmelee Collection by New York Coin & Stamp Co., David Proskey and Harlan P. Smith offered this overstrike in the section of "Patterns Issued by U.S. Mint." Their description was concise: "1859 Half Dime : same obv. as regular issue Cent. Rev. HALF DIME, etc., same as regular issue for 1857 : struck over 1857 Half Dime : uncirc.; very rare." The next auction appearance was 84 years later in the February 1974 sale of the Dr. Charles Ruby Collection by Superior Stamp and Coin Co., where it was offered as: "One of the most extraordinary mint errors ever offered." It is assumed that this was part of the Ruby Collection. Two decades later, Bowers and Merena offered The Collection of Stuart C. Levine, M.D. at auction in April 1986. In that offering, this overstrike was offered as part of the Levine collection of half dimes: "With this most illustrious pedigree, this outstanding and unique silver mint error should see spirited bidding. One of the most interesting 'half dimes' in the present collection."

The importance of this coin cannot be overstated. It is an amazing dual-denomination error, considered a "six-cent piece" by some, combining two different denominations struck in two entirely different years. It is also an error that represents a first-year of issue design and a single-year type coin.

This coin sold at auction for $71,875


1943 Lincoln Cent  Struck on Cuban 1 Centavo MS62 PCGS

1943 cent struck over a Cuban 1 centavo coin. The United States mint has produced coins for foreign governments at various times during its history, so the production of 1 centavo coins for Cuba in 1943 is certainly not a unique or noteworthy event in and of itself. The hectic wartime production schedule of the Philadelphia mint, and the corresponding erosion of its quality control, however, resulted in planchets being fed into the wrong coinage press.  

The introduction of copper planchets from the 1942 production run created the ever-popular 1943 copper cents. In the case of the present coin, it was an already struck Cuban 1 Centavo coin that somehow found its way into a Lincoln cent press.

This piece is quite dramatic in appearance with the Cuban star centered under the effigy of Lincoln on the obverse. The peripheral lettering and (1943) date are all prominently visible. The real mystery continues on the reverse. The cent was struck with a "medallic turn" of the dies -- 180 degrees from the standard "coin turn" as is used on all American coins. Few (if any) 1943 cents are known with "medallic" die alignment, and what are the odds of this occurring when the coin was being struck over a previously struck coin from another country?

The 1 Centavo coin is struck on a brass planchet and the color has muted somewhat over the years. 

This peice sold for $38,187.50 in Nov 2013.