United States error coin collecting and United States error coins is an article that will highlight specifically the hobby of collecting US error coins, as well as some of the better known varieties. Over time the United States Mint has made quite a few small blunders that have resulted in some very high priced rarities. These coins are avidly sought out by the collector base that has assembled after these items.
Cents and Half Cents, are probably the widest collected items in the world today and there are many varieties that fall within the error realm. Starting out with the copper coins that have been produced we have errors know from the very beginning. 1793 large cents are known to exist with both full legends "America" as well as the abbreviated variety with only Ameri. Not as much an error as it is a variety, this difference does create a huge difference in price for a United States obsolete coin. Surprisingly enough the abbreviated variety demands a premium of about 30 percent over it's complete counterpart. It shows how a slight difference in striking or die combinations can make such a drastic difference in price as well as availability.
Other errors within the large cent series include over dates for quite a few years and these all carry the premium. The reason for this is because the error coins were produced only by a certain die combination and that's it. Very few are usually made before the error was discovered and the die replaced with a good one. Whatever number produced, minus whatever was lost over the years or melted, or worn beyond recognition, is what's left for the error collector. The numbers are all small and it makes some coins of this type unavailable.
Nickel errors are not quite as common. For some reason the quality control on this denomination seems to have been much stricter over the years. One Nickel that does stand out would be the small amount of 1913 United States Victory Nickels that were never supposed to be produced. Somehow escaping the mint by error or design, these rarities run into the millions of dollars whenever one appears on the market.
Another well know mint error was produced when a 1937 Buffalo Nickel die was over polished and eventually began striking three legged Buffalos. These now are so popular that they are counterfeited often. Unscrupulous parties have been known to remove the fourth leg and try to pass it of for an error example. Error coins are only true errors if the mistake happened in the mint prior to release.
Dimes are another coin that has very few errors and most are known to be striking errors such as clipped planchets or broad strikes where the collar that holds the coin during the striking process is broken. This type of error can happen to any denomination and isn't really just seen in dimes but it seems to happen more often maybe due to the small size of the coin.
Quarters are known for extensive over dates. There are many years throughout the US mint's long run that dies were used over for the following year by re cutting the dates. This happened for the first time in 1806 when a die was re cut with a 6 over a 5 from the previous year. Many others exist within the quarter series and a good place to read about them all would be R.S. Yeoman's Red Book of US coins.
Half Dollars are another series that for some reason received high scrutiny from quality control. Several double dies as well as a couple of re cut dies that created over dates exist but carry less of a premium then most other denominations.
Dollars are the kings of the United States coins they are all subject to stringent minting practices and there fore we see very few error coins in this denomination. If you do acquire a dollar coin from the US mint that has an error then you may have quite a valuable example. Verification and authentication is recommended especially if it's an early year.
There are so many error coins that fall into this category that it would be far to extensive to list them all here. I am instead going to point you to a complete listing reference that will help you to identify examples as well as set you out looking for treasures within the numismatic world. This is the Cherry Pickers Bible and most coin collectors who delve into this area are using this as a reference.
In closing, the best thing about collecting error coins from the United States is the variety of price and grades that are available. This helps to make it an available hobby to those with money as well as those who are using a modest means to collect. New Lincoln error coins can be cherry picked from pocket change and many collect just these. Copper large cents in turn can cost thousands for any example of certain coins.
There is a great deal of money that can be made in this area of numismatics. Many people deal in coins and have no idea of the rarities they have. Sometimes a little inside information can be worth thousands of dollars to the savvy collector who has the right insight. Taking the time to learn some of the higher priced mistakes can be very profitable from time to time.
As you know by now this article, United States error coin collecting and United States error coins, wasn't written to list out every error coin that exists. I'd run out of space and you would get bored. All I can do is recommend that a good cherry picking guide be obtained. It can help not only to identify coins you may already have but it can send you out on a quest once you know what's out there.
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(price as of Oct 1, 2015)