Planchet flaw creates ‘holed’ 1917-S Standing Liberty quarter dollar

Guest Commentary from Dec. 15, 2014, issue of Coin World
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Published : 11/25/14
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You would think that after specializing in any given series of U.S. coins for 40-some years, a person would have seen or heard just about everything! 

I have specialized in Standing Liberty quarters since my first book came out in 1976, and I have updated and revised that book three times, with the Standing Liberty Quarters fourth edition (the current edition) published and copyrighted in 2007.

But, at the Whitman Baltimore Expo this past spring, a man brought a Standing Liberty quarter dollar to my table — a 1917-S Type 1, with a hole in it. 

No, not a drilled or punched hole, but a missing metal hole. The hole is from a flaw in the blank strip used to make the planchets. Holes like this are usually the result of metal flakes in the casting of the silver, since the coin’s composition is only .900 fine silver.

Possibly slag or sand or some other debris could have been present, and the pressure from striking the planchet into a coin shattered the impurity, resulting in the hole. 

Since this hole is small and irregular, a gap must have occurred in the bar stock where the foreign slag or sand was located when the bar of silver was cast.

The hole is at Miss Liberty’s left foot, viewed from the obverse, or above the C in AMERICA viewed from the reverse. A person can see light through it when it’s illuminated from behind. 

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has certified and encapsulated it as Mint State 63, Full Head, Defective Planchet. 

This is surely a dramatic error and seldom seen in modern-day minting of silver coins. There must be other holed coins out there, but none that I am aware of in the Standing Liberty quarter dollar series.

A few broken planchets exist that occurred during striking, and I own one of the only four Standing Liberty quarter broken planchets known. It is a 1919 coin, graded About Uncirculated 58 by Professional Coin Grading Service, and encapsulated in two separate PCGS holders. 

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