Article by:

Mike Byers

A Report on the ANA and Mint Errors

The coin market continues its momentum and has been in a bull market for several years. Mint errors continue to be one of the strongest segments of numismatics today. In the good old days, I could walk the rows of a coin show, finding many mint errors to purchase among the other dealers. Those days are gone forever.

Today, there are only a few major mint errors displayed at coin shows in the showcases of regular dealers of U.S. and World coins. And if they happen to have an exciting piece, they want all of the money or would be just as happy holding on to it.

With the explosion of the internet, information passes with the blink of an eye. Everyone now knows the true value of major error coins, and how truely rare and desireable they are. The ANA was no exception. This is the 6th major show in the last year where the bourse room has literally been absent of major mint errors.

This is both a blessing and a curse. When the supply dries up due to an extreme demand, the prices increase. But it becomes harder to purchase new mint errors for customers and to supply my inventory. The other error dealers feel exactly the same since we are all in the same boat.

I have even approached several well known mint error collectors and have offered to purchase their ENTIRE collection on the spot. Not only do they NOT want to sell, they are themselves searching for additional mint errors to add to their collections. I even asked Fred Weinberg to sell me his personal mint error collection. He refused, but I was fortunate enough last year to purchase a couple of mint errors from his collection including the 1874 Gold $1 Type 3 Full Brockage MS 62 PCGS.

The Heritage Signature Auction at the ANA was the only bright moment for mint error collectors and dealers. There was a very exciting collection that was auctioned off including several unique and dramatic major mint errors. This was an oppurtunity that I could not pass up, so I tried to purchase the best mint errors in the sale.

I spent over $100,000 and bought 21 different major errors in the Heritage sale, including several that are absolutely incredible:

Indian Cent struck on a Half Dime planchet with a uniface obverse

1920 Buffalo Nickel struck 40% Off-Center on a cent planchet

1876 Indian Cent struck on a 3 Cent plamchet

1904 $20 Lib Double Struck

On the bourse floor, and through contacts that I have set up prior to the show, I was fortunate enought to spend an additional $75,000 and purchased a Drape Bust Dollar struck 15% Off-Center, an 1855 Charlotte $5 with a huge Cud on the reverse MS 61 NGC and several rare Transitionals.

For the size and importance that the several auctions, pre-ANA, and the ANA represented in terms of the ability to purchase mint errors, this year was marginal. I was hoping that the higher prices that mint errors have been selling for would drive fresh new material and collections into the marketplace.

This has not been the case. In fact, just the opposite has occured. More collectors are collecting mint errors. Even dealers are trying to purchase errors for their inventory and personal collections. Very few are willing to sell. Another interesting fact is that I have several collectors and investors who have the same philsophy that I do. They have specifically told me that they are willing to purchase entire collections to obtain the pieces that they want.

These are fascinating times in the mint error segment of numismatics. Virtually nothing new is being discovered. The U.S. Mint has implemented new security procedures and also is using Schuller Presses which are producing few mint errors.

Most expensive major mint errors are in very strong hands. These are off the market and are not for sale or are priced at retail levels. There are many want lists that go unfilled and many collectors are waiting to jump at new collections and exciting pieces.

The error coin market has changed drastically. It is now divided into 2 very distinct categories. The first category are the collectors and dealers who look for die varieties and inexpensive errors. They buy and sell like they always have. The market hasn’t really moved at all for these types of mint errors. They collect for the fun of it, are very serious at what they do, and consider what they do their “hobby”. The two publications that support this segment are Errorscope, and Error Coin Trends Magazine. These two magazines are popular and are fun to read.

The other category is the major striking errors including off-centers, die caps, double strikes, brockages and off-metals. These five error types have exploded in price and are driving the market. This is well supported by dealers and collectors with virtually unlimited funds. They have the ability to purchase WHATEVER comes along on the spot. This includes regular dealers who dabble in mint errors, major error dealers like myself and several others, a handful of serious collectors and several coin investors who will snap up a six figure mint error deal without even blinking an eye. To this group, mint errors is not their “hobby.” They are serious investors and collectors and major money is involved. The publication that supports this segment is Mint Error News Magazine.

The future is very exciting for mint errors. It is now a fully recognized and respected area of numismatics. This is both good for the collectors who consider it their “hobby” and for the dealers, serious collectors and investors who are spending considerable money.

Copyright Ⓒ 2003 All rights reserved. Legal notice.