For collectors, the news that the U.S. Mint has tested new minting
procedures intended to eliminate potential errors, including “mules”
(a wrong pairing of dies in a coinage press) and edge lettering
errors, is both welcome and disheartening.
It is welcome, as it shows the Mint is taking tangible steps to
improve its product.
It is disheartening because, if successful, likely fewer error
dollars will enter the marketplace.
While many hobbyists will continue to collect the dollars as they
have done since 2007, some may lose interest. After all, one of the
thrills of collecting these dollars has been the hunt for pieces
missing their edge lettering, or with other errors, when searching
through coin rolls or bags.
Soon after the official release of the 2007 George Washington
Presidential dollars Feb. 12, 2007, collectors began finding dollars
missing their edge inscriptions, as well as coins with doubled edge
inscriptions, weak edge inscriptions and edges bearing “mystery” marks
As happens whenever a new series is released, hobbyists and dealers
tend to pay large amounts of money for the first error pieces. Prices
approaching $1,000 were paid for some high grade examples. However,
values slid downward as more and more identical errors were found. For
Washington, Plain Edge pieces, prices went from many hundreds of
dollars each to the point where a collector can now easily purchase a
certified Mint State example for $100 or less. A lot are on the
market, with 20,000 plain edge examples graded by Professional Coin
Grading Service and more than 42,000 graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
If the Mint’s future Presidential dollar strikes are untroubled by
errors, will hobbyists see a “bump” in the value of existing error pieces?
For the “common” error dollars, such as the Washington Plain Edge,
it is not likely. The market is well supplied and other enticing
errors are competing for collector attention.
Even scarcer errors, like a Satin Finish 2008 James Monroe, Plain
Edge dollar, are selling for reasonable prices. Heritage Auction
Galleries sold a PCGS-graded MS-68 example for $431.25 June 1 — not an
especially high price for an error with a total PCGS population of 63
pieces across all grades. Is now a good time for enthusiasts to buy an