Mint Errors and Die Trials Bring Record Prices in 2006 FUN Heritage Auction

Editor’s Note: All descriptions are from the Heritage Galleries 2006 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Auction listings.

1800 $1--Double Struck, Second Strike 15% Off Center--XF45 PCGS. B-15, BB-195, R.4. A moderately scarce variety among 1800 dollars, there are several diagnostics that identify this variant. There is a prominent die crack through the top of the O in OF, a die dot between the R and T of LIBERTY, and several die flaws around TES. However, of much greater importance is the double striking on this coin. This is a true rarity among early dollars and the few pieces that are known are quickly absorbed by collectors when they become available. On this coin a wide arc of doubling is seen from 11 to 7 o’clock on the obverse and from 10 to 6 o’clock on the reverse. There is nothing subtle about the doubling on this coin. The stars on the right side of the obverse are all present to a greater or lesser degree on the first strike, and even the tops of TY are evident. On the reverse, OF AMERIC is almost completely visible with the tops of ES and the final A in AMERICA faintly visible. Closer examination shows that all the devices are doubled--of special note is the first date below the prominent date, the eagle’s tailfeathers, and UNITED in the left reverse field. The surfaces are brilliant and the coin is generally well struck, except for the highpoint of Liberty’s hair on the obverse. Lightly abraded with no individually distracting or significant marks on either side. A very rare and important double struck Bust dollar and of great importance to the collector of early dollars as well as error collectors.


1999-P SBA$ SBA Dollar--Struck on a Sacagawea Planchet--MS64 PCGS. This is only the third example of this error we have handled, the last being four years ago in our 2002 FUN Sale. This rarity was apparently produced when a Sacagawea dollar planchet was fed into a press that was striking 1999-P Susan B. Anthony dollars. Other than being struck on the wrong planchet, this coin was properly produced, and both sides display well centered, well defined features. The surfaces are lustrous and softly frosted with none of the carbon spots that often plague Sacagawea dollars. There are, however, scattered abrasions on both sides. The surfaces display only slight blue speckling of color. This is a distinctly different coin from the other two pieces we have handled of this rare off-metal striking.


1965 1C Lincoln Cent--Struck on a Silver Dime Planchet--MS64 PCGS.


1910 5C Liberty Nickel--Struck on a Cent Planchet--AU58 PCGS.


1929-? 5C Buffalo Nickel--Struck on a Cent Planchet--MS64 Brown PCGS. Deep plum and olive colors dominate the obverse, while the reverse displays rich brown toning with glimpses of original red color. Lustrous and nicely struck for this rare error combination. The mintmark, if any, is off the flan, but the centering is otherwise good. About half of LIBERTY is off the planchet, and that legend exhibits the expected spreading toward the rim. A tiny spot is on the reverse rim at 7:30.


1968-S 5C Jefferson Nickel--Double Denomination on a Struck Cent--MS64 PCGS. PCGS does not venture a color designation, but orange-gold color dominates despite a few tiny aqua spots. The Lincoln Memorial is aligned with Jefferson’s portrait, Lincoln’s chin and profile emerge near the top of Monticello’s dome. The 1968-S date and mintmark from the initial Cent striking are visible near the first U in UNUM.


1965 10C Roosevelt Dime--Struck on a Silver Planchet--AU55 ANACS. The clad 1965 Dime was struck at the same time as the silver 1964-dated Dimes, partly to use up remaining silver planchets, and partly to discourage contemporary hoarding of silver coinage. We don’t know which facility this piece was struck at, since mintmarks were not placed on the 1965 dies, but the silver composition can be verified by the edge, obscured in this case by the ANACS holder. This mostly lustrous example has hints of gold and lilac toning.


1946-D 25C Washington Quarter--Struck on a Silver Dime Planchet--MS61 ANACS. Wrong planchet or wrong metal errors can take on a variety of forms. This example witnessed a dime planchet that was accidentally fed into the press striking Washington Quarters. Fully lustrous with medium to dark gold toning. There are many different ways to collect error coins, perhaps limited only by the number of different errors, or only by the collector’s imagination. One idea would be to form a type set of coins struck on wrong planchets. A Lincoln Cent on a silver dime planchet in this sale would make a nice companion piece for this example.


1959-D 50C Franklin Half Dollar--Struck on a Cent Planchet--AU58 ANACS. Toned deep chocolate-brown, this partly lustrous example displays a full date and mintmark. LIBERTY and the denomination are off the flan. Franklin Half Dollars struck on wrong planchets are rarely seen and are highly desirable.


Undated 1C 1858-1 One Cent Splasher, Judd Appendix A, Pollock-3161, Unique, MS64 PCGS. A complete reverse die trial with a laurel wreath, arranged with the leaves in groups of five. This same design was also used on Judd-191, Judd-202, and Judd-208, according to Struck in white metal with paper backing. The surfaces are only slightly muted from their original brilliance, and the paper backing is almost complete. A piece of the rim is broken off from 2 to 3 o’clock. This is the only piece believed known of this die trial.


(Undated) 3CN 1857-3 Quarter Eagle Splasher, Judd Appendix A, Pollock-3140, High R.7, MS65 PCGS. An obverse die trial of Judd-189, with the design similar to the three cent nickel that was adopted eight years later. The design is complete except for the date. Struck in white metal with a paper back. Part of the paper backing can still be seen. The surfaces show only the slightest subduing of the original brightness. An identifying scratch is seen below the chin of Liberty. One of only four pieces known.


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