The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve
Roach’s Market Analysis column in the July 21 issue.
Many collectors love striking and planchet error coins
because each one is unique and they are dramatic examples of what
happens when things go wrong in coin production. These are pieces
whose errors are the result of problems occurring during the striking
Error coins are graded on the same scale as
“normal” U.S. coins, and their pricing structure is based on quality,
rarity, and demand, as is the case with all collectibles.
Bowers Galleries’ auctions associated with the Baltimore Expo,
held at the Baltimore Convention Center June 26 to 29, carried many of
the rarities normally associated with a major auction. It also had a
few spectacular error coins.
Here is one of three that caught my eye:
coin: 1999 Lincoln cents, bonded cluster, MS-64 red
The price: $2,702.50
The story: Among
errors, few are more dramatic than multicoin bonded clusters where
multiple strikings fuse planchets together resulting in a massive
In this spectacular error, more silver-colored zinc is visible than
rich copper, and the center strike is boldly impressed on the obverse.
The different colors are the result of a switch in 1982 for Lincoln
cents, from a copper-based composition to a composition having a core
of 99.2 percent zinc, 0.8 percent copper and a plating of pure
The reverse design is only lightly impressed,
with lettering seen on the peripheries, as the central part of the
piece was flattened due to the multiple strikings and the flow of the
Most bonded planchet errors are
generally caught by the Mint and destroyed, so one that is this
substantial is unusual in the marketplace. As Stack’s Bowers notes,
examples like this one “capture the force of the strike and coining
process when things go slightly wrong.”
In terms of
valuation, errors of this type that can fit into standard sized slabs
are often easier for dealers to market than pieces that won’t fit into
slab. PCGS has graded this one MS-64 red, and the weight of 156 grains
noted on the slab converts to 10.11 grams. Since a normal 1999
copper-plated zinc cent weighs 2.5 grams, one can deduce that the
cluster has four or five coins. It sold for $2,702.50.
Read the rest of Steve Roach's Market Analysis:
Keep up to date on Coin World news and features: