What are the odds of a gold American Eagle being struck on the wrong planchet?

PCGS certifies American Eagle bullion coin struck on American Buffalo blank
By , Coin World
Published : 09/21/16
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Start checking those 2014 American Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion coins. You might be lucky enough to come across an example that was struck on an American Buffalo .9999 fine gold $50 planchet instead of the intended American Eagle .9167 fine gold $50 planchet. The folks at APMEX did.

Professional Coin Grading Service graded and encapsulated an example of the wrong planchet error that APMEX submitted to the grading service after identifying the coin’s gold fineness as suspect. APMEX is an online seller of precious metals coins and one of the U.S. Mint’s authorized purchasers for American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins.

PCGS graded the error Mint State 69 and identified on the grading label the determination that the American Eagle coin was struck on a .9999 fine gold planchet. Planchets intended for American Eagle 1-ounce gold coins are 91.67 percent gold, 5.33 percent copper and 3 percent silver. 

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The coin certified by PCGS is one of two 2014 American Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion coins that APMEX purchased in a secondary market transaction and that were determined by two different nondestructive in-house electronic testing processes at APMEX to have the .9999 fine gold composition.

Mike Garofalo, director of numismatics at APMEX, said two 2014 American Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion coins were questioned by an APMEX employee checking in bullion coins from a secondary market purchase.

Garofalo said it is standard procedure to conduct in-house testing on secondary market purchases to assure the coins are the correct weight and fineness and are not counterfeits. (Garofalo said the testing is not conducted on sealed coin shipments of bullion coins received directly from the U.S. Mint or other government mints offering bullion coins.)

We just published a three-part Market Analysis on planchet errors:

What a 1942 Walking Liberty half dollar struck on a quarter planchet sells for
1989-D cent struck on copper planchet from before 1982 composition change sells at ANA
When a first-year Sacagawea dollar was struck on an Anthony dollar planchet

After in-house testing determined the fineness of the two 2014 American Eagles matched that for the American Buffalo coins, Garofalo said, the coins were submitted to Numismatic Guaranty Corp. for authentication and grading, with a request to test for fineness to support APMEX’s suspicions that the coins were struck on the wrong planchets. Garofalo said NGC returned both coins graded and encapsulated as MS-69, but designated only as regular strike American Eagle gold bullion coins.

The two NGC-graded coins were subsequently broken out of their NGC holders, and one of the coins was submitted to PCGS, where it was certified as a wrong planchet error. Garofalo said APMEX officials plan to submit the second example to PCGS as well.

The error was produced at the West Point Mint, where all gold bullion coins are struck. U.S. Mint officials were queried as to how the wrong planchet was used, but as of Sept. 20, no explanation was provided.

What the error is worth will be determined, according to some error coin experts, by what someone is willing to pay for it, either privately or at auction.

A 1998 American Eagle silver dollar graded and encapsulated PCGS MS-68 in 2013, struck at the San Francisco Mint on a 38.1-millimeter .900 fine silver dollar commemorative coin planchet instead of the intended American Eagle 40.6-millimeter .999 fine silver planchet, subsequently traded hands privately for in excess of $50,000, according to error coin dealer Fred Weinberg.

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