Like the leaning tower of Pisa, error coins demonstrate the alluring appeal of human error. Error coins account for some of the most rare and valuable collectable coins in existence. Since the rise of modern minting technology, coin collectors have treasured error coins. Errors happen for lots of different reasons, from complex production issues to simple human error. But one thing’s for sure: sometimes it pays to make mistakes. The three coins listed below represent a classic error coin in the 1969 Lincoln cent, a more recent example with the 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter, and the future of error coins in the 2014 Britannia mule coins.
1969-S Lincoln Cent With a Doubled-Die Obverse
This incredibly rare and sought-after penny is worth a heck of a lot more than one cent. The error on this coin is what’s known as a “doubled die” found on the coin’s obverse side. Simply put, a doubled-die error is when a coin’s design is bordered by a crooked copy of the original design. Interestingly, in a true doubled-die coin, the mint mark will not be doubled. If the mint mark is doubled, the coin is considered a striking double, which is far less rare.
This particular doubled-die coin is one of the rarest coins around. When these doubled-die error coins were first discovered, the Secret Service confiscated them. After the coins were confiscated, the U.S. mint admitted the error. Ever since, these coins have been legendary. As a result, you can expect to pay at least $30,000 for an authentic 1969-S Lincoln Cent with a Doubled-Die Obverse.
2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter with an Extra Leaf
There is no consensus as to why there is an extra leaf on the 2004 Wisconsin state quarter. However, the alleged “extra leaf” makes it one of the more recent error coins. The debate surrounding the error stems from whether it was a different design, featuring extra leaves, or a die gouge. The former would be caused by human error, and would make the coins immensely valuable, while the latter would be a fairly common error and not worth much more than an additional $10 to $20.
The most common theory for the mistake is that it’s a die gouge. Even so, the debate over what caused this error makes it one of the more famous and sought-after error coins. Depending on the condition, and of course the seller, you can find these error coins at a huge range of prices. Some sell for as little as $20, while others fetch up to $1,200.
2014 Britannia 1-Ounce Silver £2 “Mule” Coins
In the coin world, a mule is a coin whose obverse and reverse, or heads and tails, are mismatched. Appropriately enough, this particular mule coin, accidentally commemorated 2014 being the year of the horse. The error in these Britannia silver bullion coins is that they were struck with the obverse side displaying the horse design, which was intended for the Royal Mint’s inaugural Lunar bullion issue. The Royal Mint’s inaugural Lunar bullion issues, is a completely separate coin series. The Britannia silver bullion coins were never supposed to feature a horse design at all, but a woman wearing a gown and a soldiers helmet, shield, and rod, on the obverse side.
None of the collectors who bought these coins at face value have sold them as error coins yet. It’s safe to assume they will be expensive when they do. The fact that they’re error coins, silver bullion coins, and come with a funny story, will all make the coins incredibly valuable. The lucky bullion collectors who received them will undoubtedly get a great return on their investment.
So next time you empty your pockets, take a closer look at all that loose change. That minor irregularity that would be so easy to overlook might just pay for your next home remodel. Think you might have
an error coin? Come into Bellevue Rare Coins and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions.
Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business located in Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us first for a free evaluation.
Bellevue Rare Coins
Located at 10541 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA.