At first glance this Lincoln cent appears to be a brockage (struck by capped die) error but the physical evidence points to a condition known as planchet split after strike. The reverse "tails" side of the coin has a normal memorial design. The obverse "heads" side has a blurred mirror image of the reverse design instead of the proper obverse design. The primary evidence of planchet split after strike is thickness and weight. This coin is approximately one-half the thickness of a normal cent. Photo #3 shows this coin on the left and a normal cent on the right. This coin weighs approximately 1.5 grams vs. the standard of 2.5 grams for copper plated zinc cents and 3.1 grams for pre-1982 95% copper cents. In summary, this coin originated as an internally flawed 95% copper planchet that was struck normally by both dies. The striking force fractured the coin which then split in half upon ejection from the press or at a subsequent process step. The exposed split surface shows no evidence of zinc material, so we may conclude that the original planchet was pre-1982 95% copper. The mating half of this coin is unaccounted for and we are left with a modern half-cent!
Dec 13, 2016
Oct 16, 2016
The United States Mint output of error coins shrunk dramatically after the year 2001. How and why they tightened quality control is not the subject of this post. Instead, sit back and admire a rare piece that slipped through a crack in the Mint system five years after the improvements were established. By 2007, Lincoln cent error collectors were ready to admit that the days of new major strike errors were gone. The best they could hope for were slight out of collar strikes, maybe 3% off center on a good day. Imagine the smiles upon hearing rumors that the Denver Mint was up to their old tricks again. Word had it that some off center strikes exceeding 10% were in the wild. Sure enough it was true and the PCGS certified MS63RD example shown below is evidence. Read more at: eBay item 332002188667
photo credit: eBay numisgieta
Feb 15, 2016
The Jefferson Nickel shown below survived multiple manufacturing errors and lived to tell about it. A planchet immediately ahead of this one adhered to the reverse die stationary anvil after striking. Oops! Now the reverse die was capped with a struck coin and the freshly struck obverse of that coin was about to become a short life tool surface that would strike the reverse side of incoming planchets. The coin pictured below was probably the next planchet in line. To make matters worse for the producer and better for collectors, that planchet wasn't retained by its collar in alignment with die centerlines. Mix these ingredients with one 50-ton strike and you get the coin pictured below. Read more about this special piece at: eBay item 311547447897
photo credit: eBay ctf_error_coins
Jan 30, 2016
If this coin doesn't grab your attention it may be time for an eye exam. This is an 1884-O Morgan Dollar struck 20% off center. Twenty percent is an unusually large offset magnitude for Morgan Dollars. Obverse and reverse were both die struck and the offset direction fortunately results in a visible date and mint mark. It has been certified and encapsulated by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), graded MINT ERROR MS 61, NGC Certification Number 3462379-003. See more photos and a detailed description at: eBay item 291673606077
photo credit: eBay sullivannumismatics
Jan 25, 2016
Consider the metal composition of United States cents. Non-collectors may assume that all cents are 100% copper but that was only true from 1793-1837. Since then the United States Mint modified the recipe several times. The official Mint website gives a brief chronology of metal composition changes. One change occurred in 1962 when a bit of tin was eliminated, resulting in a 95% copper / 5% zinc alloy. Which brings us to the coin pictured below. It is dated 1962-D so presumably it was minted in 1962 at the Denver Mint. The twist is that instead of striking a 95% copper / 5% zinc one cent planchet, they struck a 90% silver / 10% copper ten cent planchet. This produced a wonderful precious metal error commonly described as 'wrong planchet' and/or 'off metal'. The dime planchet has a smaller diameter and thickness than the one cent planchet, so the die strike was unlikely to transfer 100% of the design to the planchet. Indeed we can see the incomplete peripheral design elements such as the obverse IN GOD WE TRUST motto. The raised design elements on both sides are remarkably complete despite the thin planchet. Read more about this rare piece at: eBay item 201089202000.
photo credit: ebay ccrc2010