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Article by:

Frank Vedel

85 Reasons to Collect Error Coins

The results of my ‘Why Do You Collect Error Coins?’ survey were published in the summer issue of Mint Error News 2003. The 41 reasons were background material for 2 different polls at Error World Club.

Many answers were left out, either because they were almost identical or because they arrived too late to be incorporated in the polls.

This is a list of the 85 additional reasons to collect error coins. All answers have been posted by fellow error coin collectors.

  1. They are fascinating.

  2. My father brought a quarter blank home for me when he had found it while at work. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen!

  3. I try to discover how each coin was made.

  4. My favorite error is the RPMs1.

  5. I learn something new every year, and I’ve been doing this for 30 years.

  6. The famous 1955/1955 one cent double die is by far my best error.

  7. I am always looking for cuds (major die breaks) and retained cuds on US coins. I prefer atheist cuds and one cents with base of bust cuds.

  8. Off center strikes, double strikes, and mushroom strikes collected by dates and clock positions. I arrange the completed sets in nice displays.

  9. Being a State Quarter error junkie I collect 35%+ off center struck State Quarters - one from each State.

  10. My main interest is Lincoln cent errors.

  11. Cherry picking. Buying a BU original roll and opening it up (after I get the heart to) and searching each coin with the loupe is a thrill! (however my wife doesn’t seem to agree) -finding or purchasing coins that are ‘errors’ becomes thrilling for me, because they are rare and fascinating - sometimes one of a kind.

  12. I am 15 years old, and have been collecting error coins for about 4 years. I collect Lincoln cent RPMs, a few types of Morgan dollar VAMs2, and I am trying to get a complete collection of all types of errors known.

  13. Always looking for 75% off center coins @ K-12!

  14. I enjoy collecting error coins from the year I was born.

  15. My main interest in error/mis-struck coins lies in the categories of center hole error coins. That would include coins where the center hole is punched off-center, or if the coin has several punched holes, etc.

  16. I got interested in numismatic errors back in 1972 when I found a Danish 2 øre 1942 struck from rotated dies.

  17. There are off center strikes, cuds, coins with die cracks, brockages, indent strikes, incomplete punches, doubled dies, wrong metals, and a host of other error coin types, each of which is available in each domination. Now some of the upper denominations will be harder to locate than others, but after all, that is what collecting is all about, isn’t it?

  18. Since the early ‘80s I have collected ancient Roman republic and imperial coins which have spelling errors or interesting striking errors. Imagine that a knowledgable error coindealer in April 2001 sold a beautiful full mirror brockage reverse antoninianus, Tetricus ll, (AD 270-73) to me for US $ 36. The same kind of error exists today - even though the minting process has been immensely improved.

  19. I collect error coins because they are so much more interesting than “normal” coins. Each one can be unique and trying to figure out step by step what happened to an error coin can be quite fun.

  20. Sacagawea errors are the best.

  21. There is room in minting variety and error collecting for everybody. All that is needed is an insatiable curiosity.

  22. In 1976 I became a collector of world mis-struck coins (brockages, double strikes, off- centers, and broadstrikes. I would buy any of these that came on the market (if they were affordable) and soon I was specializing in pre-1900 ones. I was hooked!

  23. The new bimetallic error coins and planchets are very interesting.

  24. I have had a mentor for many years with whom I can correspond and with whom I can share experiences. It is really important that a collector has someone with whom they can swap stories.

  25. My goal is to achieve an error coin from each country possible.

  26. My realization was of our imperfect world, the trail of evidence it leaves behind and the movement underway to perfect it. I’m now collecting that which is imperfect, a reflection of reality.

  27. I especially collect clipped coins with pronounced Blakesley’s effect.

  28. For me coin caps, rolling folds, chain strikes, and mated pairs are the best numismatic errors.

  29. I assemble sets of different types of coins on clipped planchets. The sets include such combinations as single curved clips, double curved clips, triple curved clips, straight edge clips, ragged edge clips, elliptical clips and blanks with clips. I try to get one in each domination.

  30. The discovery of the ‘ram strike’ last year got me into collecting them.

  31. I like to find a neat error, and I never let a coin go through my hands before checking it for any little thing.

  32. The main reason for my involvement in the hobby is the ability to turn a nice profit in the buying and reselling of error coins.

  33. Sometimes arguments about how an error coin came to be can be prolonged and heated.

  34. If the error coin can be held at arm’s length and be seen easily as a distorted or flawed coin, it is desirable.

  35. I am interested in collecting error coins of Asia.

  36. German error coins from the Third Reich with swastikas are very hard to come by.

  37. I’m still looking for my first error coin. A beginner!

  38. Help me understand the error world in which I live....

  39. I love the Jefferson 5 cent errors.

  40. In many cases the error collector will have displayed his or her collection to a friend or associate. If that person reacts with, “Wow! That’s a beauty!”, the reward cannot be measured in dollars and cents. It becomes part of the aura what error coin collecting is allabout.

  41. I collect them because it is profitable!

  42. Collecting mint errors is one of the most fascinating and potentially profitable areas of collecting.

  43. I research die varieties.

  44. Error coins with Bicentennial dates and ‘change of century dates’ are my choises.

  45. I am looking for one error coin from each of the 12 EURO countries.

  46. Saddle strikes which look like Mickey Mouse ears are always on my want list.

  47. Due to the nature of the errors, striking errors and planchet errors happen in a totally random manner. Since it isn’t a repetitive error (one which is repeated over and over again in the same way), no such errors are ever precisely the same. Even though some may look similar, there will always be enough difference to point out that no two are ever identical. I always look for errors which APPEAR to be identical twins or even identical triplets.

  48. I like the attention that I get when I share at coin clubs!

  49. Our error coin collecting hobby has become a mostly unofficial extension of the quality control process which is used at the mint. As we find the oddities, the mint people take notes and move to rectify the cause of such mistakes. That is why there are no doubled dies or RPMs made any longer. They heard of the problem and solved it.

  50. Error coin collecting is not a matter of grabbing up one or two of the new high priced errors and then sitting back, waiting for the market to go up so that a profit can be gleaned. It is a far more complicated matter. It requires the collector to study up and learn about how errors are made and what their significance is.

  51. I don’t know why I just prefer clad coinage errors right now.

  52. I like the thrill of the hunt...yes, I kiss a lot of frogs in order to find a prince...well worth the search, due to the fact that the item can be worth more than face value...An extra treat for carrying the change around..Just maybe I will make a new discovery.

  53. Being a seasoned error coin collector I still have an itching curiosity about the misstrikes and oddities that can come out of the Mint.

  54. Doubled Dies are classified as varieties. That’s one of the nice things with varieties. They are all catagorizable/catalogable by die number. Thus, making it easy to assemble a collection. However, there are thousands of dies just for the cent and assembling a collection to include all die numbers (say for example the doubled dies) would take lots of money and a long, long time. Errors on the other hand are just the opposite. They are a random matter and no two are ever the same. I had a type collection of errors at one time. I started with memorial cents. Finding all different “types” of errors I could locate on memorial cents, in BU, to assemble the collection. Then, I moved on to wheat cents, BU Red, (more money) and did the same thing. BU Jefferson nickels, etc, etc...

  55. I collect error/varieties because even after 30 years of doing so, the excitement of finding one (no matter how minor) makes all of it worth while. Your heart gets to pumping a little faster and you know that your efforts have paid off. Let’s face’s cool to collect!!

  56. I think the main reason I collect error coins is because of their uniqueness. I find regular date/mint collections boring - a lincoln cent is a lincoln cent is a lincoln cent, even if one is pocket change and the other has a microscopic “1909S-VBD” written on it somewhere. I also hate “condition rarity” - “hey, this coin in XF is worth melt value, but at MS-whatever it’s worth tens of thousands of dollars”. Error coins usually aren’t as affected by dates or condition, but more by the “big picture” of what the error is and what does it looks like. Each one looks different, each tells a story. They have so much more “personality” to them, I think.

  57. I have given this a lot of thought before posting, and here are my top answers as to why I am a variety hunter and researcher... 1. Cost per coin: It expands a single series into a highly challenging collection for which the single pieces can be had at not much more per coin than you would spend on the normal series. 2. Thrill of the hunt: It offers additional challenge in that some of them, even on very common date coins, are extremely rare and difficult to find. It can turn a 20 cent find into a $200 coin. 3. Focus on specialty: For people like me who do not like collecting nickels or silver and can’t afford gold, it allows a collection to constantly challenge me through a lifetime without having to expand beyond that which I love, copper. I guess since all of these reasons incorporate “challenge”, that would have to be my single overlying answer as to why I do this. I love the challenge of collecting a huge set (over 3,000 coins in my case - of which I have about 1,700).

  58. I collect error coins because they are THERE! I love the really tough ones, like the off-Center Buffalo Nickels, overdates, almost unique ones, etc. Oh, I am also fascinated by off-center IHCs3, various DDOs4 and DDRs5 , among others. Blank planchets get me going, too. I am getting all excited, just writing about all of this.

  59. Not really into errors, but having been a collector for 42 years and finally getting my first error coin makes me wonder what have I overlooked in the past. Maybe you folks can teach this old dog some new tricks.

  60. Varieties and errors are harder to find - there are a miniscule amount of them compared to regular mintages. They are more of a challenge and it’s very exciting to find one.

  61. One nice thing about error collecting is you can drill down after a level is completed. For instance, if you collect clips and get a curved, straight, incomplete, ragged etc, you can expand the collection to denominations and/or percentages. Most types lend themselves to a logical expansion.

  62. For me error collecting is all about the money. I collect errors for profit. Some I collect for the rareness, but mostly for profit.

  63. Error coin collecting is a very unpredictable hobby, because you never know what happens next.

  64. I started reading and learning about error coins and really got interested in them...They were not so easy to come by which made my wallet happier and each one was unique in itself...

  65. The reason I collect errors is the potential of finding an error at the grocery store,and it keeps me out of the coin shops...I still look but only to see if there are errors there...I went last week and got a V-nickel with a crack half way across the back, and I also found a Roosevelt dime with a huge lamination in their junk coins...Errors don’t interest them, so to them it’s junk...Haha on them...

  66. Mis-struck coins like off-centers, doublestrikes, brockages, and broadstrikes are avidly sought by collectors, particularly if the error is clearly obvious to the naked eye.

  67. The collecting of error coins is a wonderful diversion for those of us who like it.

  68. I collect errors because I like to cherry-pick. My first error coin was a rotated reverse nickel. Since then I have found several RR coins, including a 1971 Deep Cameo Proof Nickel with 20 degrees rotation. I would have never found my 1989 dime with a tiny die chip amongst the olive leaves on the reverse without cherry-picking. For me it is the hunt for the errors that I enjoy.

  69. At the time of this writing there is currently over 2000 error coin listings to view on eBay. Many of which are multiple coin lots. This pleasant ritual of searching through a few errors before I get my day started, is still pleasant yet just a whole lot more involved than I remember it to be. My want list is old and starting to show some wear. I must admit there are a few items that I have proudly scribbled off in the last few years. But one would think, with all of the recent bombardment of errors available, this list would be finished by now. But it is not, and I am sure if by the time it is, there will many more additions. I guess this is the definition of a hobby!

  70. I personally find it interesting since coin errors seem to appreciate in value, consider the 1955, 1969, and 1972 double die coins. From 1 cent face value to thousands of dollars. The stock market can’t beat that.

  71. I have had a strong interest in error coins for 25 years. I specialize in caps, bonded coins, mated pairs, fragments, and off-metals.

  72. Armed with the Internet, my coin books and catalogues, my modest knowledge of coin production and a 31-year background in numismatics I try to figure out exactly what the error coin is. Sometimes I figure it out and sometimes I don’t, but I always learn something. And I’m always better off for the effort.

  73. I’m just getting started in errors, after coming across a 1976 US clad quarter without the reverse nickle layer that I had taken from a mint bag, put in a cardboard flip, and then forgotten about for 26 years!

  74. I am trying, attempting, wishing, undertaking, striving, struggling, seeking to try to, sort of, in a way, maybe, possibly, to complete a date and mint mark set of off center Lincoln Cents. I have discovered that some of these dates are very very elusive. Of course the usual rare dates of any series are hard to find. But the old common date Off Center Lincolns are getting very hard to locate. Many of the modern issues are getting scarce it seems. Is there that many collectors for this set that very few of the dates ever show themselves? Or is it simply the fact that some of the dates just are not out there? I have been collecting errors since God created dirt. As a matter of fact I drove the bulldozer! I have passed up many many error coins because they wanted $2 instead of $1 for them. Then as time went on $5 was too much. All of a sudden I was paying $10 and was thinking how I “got over” on that dealer. I recently paid a “very nice sum” of money for another “slot” I needed to fill in this endeavor. I recently tried to purchase another that was sold for over five times my offer! At that point reality set in. Either I need to get a better job or terminate this endeavor! I have a reasonably achievable goal in mind at this time. I would like to at least complete the Copper Memorial Set of the dated off center Lincoln Cents (1959-1982) before I get hit by a bus!

  75. The reason I collect error coins is: My father collected error coins as well as dated coins of the time he was alive, in the early years of my life. My father would sit with me and explore his collection. The coins of his life were my legacy, and each time he would bring them out, he would explain to me where he was in his life and the circumstances in which he gained this coin or coins. My father passed away in 1982, leaving his collection to me and my siblings. I got the errors and my brothers and sister divided the rest. I collect error coins out of respect for my father and to remember him in a way no others can.

  76. I am new to collecting errors but it’s allure is strong. I think the main reason I look for errors is the fact that they have a life all their own. First of all, in a perfect sense they are not supposed to exist. The many safeguards in place at the mint plus all the watchful eyes give almost legendary status to anything that doesn’t fit the norm. Escaping the mint only to be placed in circulation with the countless millions and millions of coins that are exactly alike, it is a wonder any turn up. Secondly, I think it is the fact of owning something that few people will ever be able to. You are sort of excluding yourself from the millions of ordinary coin owners in a way by either finding or buying a coin that is in a class all by itself. Last but not least is the originality of errors. No two are alike. Even though several may fit into a general class, each one has a different story to tell about its origin and how it came to be from the mint to your collection. I think as a collector this aspect has the most appeal for me.

  77. Double denominations are interesting, and I have quite a few in my error collection.

  78. I like to collect Morgans by VAM2 and any other interesting errors I can find. My most recent acquisition, a 1983-D cent with the copper layer missing. My sister found it in change at the store where she works and gave it to me for my birthday.

  79. Being a coin collector since 1970 I sometimes buy bags of unsearched coins. Then I examine them with my 15x magnifying glass, and if I am lucky I find a few error coins or varieties at a low cost!

  80. I started collecting coins when I was a child. Then one day I found an error, I have to admit I’ve been hooked ever since.

  81. Because I can sell them for profit just by looking at my change.

  82. I’ve started to collect varieties as a means of still being able to collect nice high grade coins without having to pay the nice high grade prices of rarer coins.

  83. Defaced coin dies and T1 and T2 planchets with clips are among my favourites. When I get a planchet with a clip I try to get a struck error coin with an identical clip. A matching set is wonderful.

  84. I was born in 1953. I collect the best possible error coin from every year since I was born. This gives me an interesting and varied collection, which I update when possible.

  85. Off center Lincoln cent by date and mint are my choices. I have been trying to complete such a set as long as I have been collecting. I have many of the ones that are considered tough dates to obtain however I am still in search of a few others. I recently decided to just concentrate on the Copper memorials 1959-1982 with the approach that it “might” be possible to complete such a set. 1. RPM refers to Re-punched Mint Mark. A mint mark that has been repunched creating a doubled, tripled, or quadrupled appearance. P/P, D/D/D. etc. 2. VAM refers to Van Allan and Mallis catalog numbers for die varieties in the Morgan and Peace Dollars. 3. IHC refers to Indian Head Cents. 4. DDO - Doubled Die Obverse. A coin that exhibits doubling on the obverse lettering/design in one one or more places. 5. DDR - Doubled Die Reverse A coin that exhibits doubling on the reverse lettering/design in one or more places.

Once again I’d like to thank all our fellow error coin collectors who took time to support these surveys. Please e-mail me if you have comments about this article.

Copyright Ⓒ 2003 All rights reserved. Legal notice.