Enhanced errors are genuine error coins that have been modified
outside the Mint to resemble more exotic and valuable errors.
Broadstrikes (oversized coins that have been struck out-of-collar)
are very common and inexpensive. “Squeeze jobs” — coins pressed
against one coin or between two coins — are crude alterations that are
But combine the two and you can occasionally escape the scrutiny
of the pros. A few years back I saw a broadstruck 2000-D Lincoln cent
that had been squeezed between two other cents. A top-tier grading
service had encapsulated it as “brockaged, then broadstruck.”
An error coin that presents a featureless surface on one or both
faces invites attempts to decorate the blank surface. Shown here is a
1966 Lincoln cent with an in-collar uniface strike. The reverse face
is featureless from having been struck against an underlying planchet.
An enterprising criminal could simply squeeze the obverse face of
another cent into the reverse face while the obverse face of the 1966
cent rests against a supporting surface composed of hard wax or
leather. The resulting false brockage would convert a $75 error into
one that resembles a $1,000 error. The normal weight and finned
obverse rim (an indicator of increased striking pressure) would
complete a convincing picture. I have personally examined one fake
brockage of this type.
In the case of an off-center uniface strike, the featureless side
of the struck tongue can be pressed into another coin or a fake die.
You can, for example, create a false dual-denomination brockage by
pressing a dime into the featureless surface.
The unstruck portion of an off-center coin is also an obvious
target for modification. Shown here is an off-center 1994 Lincoln cent
encapsulated by a major grading service as “struck off-center on a
planchet brockaged by 25c.”
The unstruck portion of the cent’s reverse face carries an incuse
mirror-image version of the quarter dollar obverse design. The obverse
face carries an incuse, mirror-image version of the quarter dollar
reverse design. All of the quarter dollar elements were clearly
impressed into the coin outside the Mint. It is, in other words, a
Any protruding portion of an error coin can be broken off and
peddled as a struck fragment. These include the protruding tongue of
coin struck way off center and the “stem” of “mushroom strike.” Struck
out of collar, a mushroom strike is a coin that has split on either
side of an indent or partial brockage.
Coins struck on planchets that are cracked or split can also be
enhanced by breaking off pieces. In the case of a clad coin with a
clamshell separation of one clad layer, that clad layer can be bent
back and forth until it breaks off. The separated partial clad layer
can then be marketed in any number of ways. It could, for example, be
described as a uniface strike on a clad layer with a straight clip.
Clamshell splits on solid-alloy coins can be modified in a similar way.
A wedge can be forced into a coin struck on a cracked planchet so
that the crack widens and lengthens enough to break the coin in two.
The two halves can then be sold together or separately under a wide
range of descriptions. Each half could be labeled as a “struck
fragment,” for example.
An underweight coin is also an easy target for manipulation. Shown
here is a 1964-D Jefferson 5-cent piece struck on an underweight (3.88
grams) planchet (normal weight is 5 grams). The planchet is composed
of copper-plated copper-nickel, a strange composition that isn’t used
by any country. It could be genuine (I certainly hope it is). The year
1964 produced a plethora of weird off-metal errors. However, I cannot
rule out the possibility that the copper plating was applied outside
the Mint to an ordinary “rolled-thin” error. These are coins struck on
planchets that are punched out of strip that is rolled too thin.
You can also add weight to enhance the value of an error. I have
in my collection a bonded pair consisting of a tall obverse die cap
bonded to a cent struck in-collar. Originally, a third cent had been
glued to the underside of the bottom cent in order to make it resemble
a bonded trio.
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