Fascinating Die Cap Error Stars in Simpson Collection
Most of the Bob Simpson Collection of US Coins is made up of the very best of American numismatics--the way coins look when things go right and a coin has been saved in amazing condition. However, one piece in the Simpson single-owner collection (Sale 1310) is special because of what went WRONG.
A die cap is an error that can occur when a coin remains stuck on a day after it is struck instead of being released right away. While stuck to the die, this coin will create a fading impression on any other coin blanks (planchets) that continue to feed through below it. Over time, this coin will change shape and expand or flatten out if this process continues for long enough. It may also crack and fan out as seen in the example above.
Sometimes, die caps can be extremely dramatic. One of the best-looking ones I can recall seeing is the Simpson piece, an 1862 Copper Nickel Indian Cent. Our catalogers agree, saying "This is one of the most stunning and spectacular errors that we have seen or handled, a remarkable illustration of what can go wrong during coining operations."
This coin is amazing because of its huge starburst appearance (more the size of a half dollar than a penny!) as well as its fabulous condition--the coin is graded 67 out of 70 by PCGS despite its less-than-successful start at the US Mint. This coin would appeal to both error collectors and Indian Cent enthusiasts.