Certain domestic error types are so popular that they’re priced out
of reach for most collectors. One of these is the super-multistrike
(henceforth abbreviated “super-multi”).
While there is no official Rubicon that separates ordinary
multi-struck coins from super-multis, I think any coin struck six or
more times should qualify for the latter category. Naturally, as the
number of strikes rises, so does a coin’s desirability and value. For
domestic issues struck 10 times or more, prices seem to vary between
$500 and $1,500.
But cheaper alternatives are available if you’re willing to set
aside parochial considerations of nationality. Super-multis produced
by other countries can often be acquired for $150 or less.
A large number of super-multis (as well as other error types)
emerged from Malaysia in 2005 and 2006. A representative example is a
20-sen coin that was struck 20 times. The first strike was normal
while the next 17 strikes were off-center and closely spaced. A final
or perhaps penultimate off-center strike was delivered opposite the
congested grouping. This uncertainty in strike sequence exists due to
the presence of a tiny off-center uniface strike at 11:00 (obverse
The appearance created by the first 18 strikes is very similar to
that seen in the majority of recent domestic super-multis, which date
from approximately 1997 and are dominated by quarter dollars. Nearly
all of them seem to have been struck by inverted dies (obverse die as
anvil die). Inverted dies are associated with high-speed Schuler
presses, so I suspect that a similar or identical press design is
responsible for the Malaysian errors.
The close, extremely regular spacing of off-center strikes two to 18
suggests that the coin’s movement across the striking chamber may have
been propelled only by a bounce the coin took after each impact.
Another possibility is that the feeder was exerting a feeble push at
5:00 (obverse clock position) that only managed to nudge the coin a
fraction of a millimeter northward after each strike.
Malaysian super-multis bring prices of only around $60 on eBay.
Our next super-multi — a 2003 India 1-rupee coin — shows two tight
groupings of off-center strikes. Group 1 consists of at least 12
identifiable strikes, with the first of those about 10 percent
off-center. All are very closely spaced. The actual number of strikes
may be far greater than my estimate because a staggeringly high
density of strike lines appear in the field.
At any rate, after the first grouping was struck, the coin jumped
several millimeters to the left and rotated or pivoted
counterclockwise about 45 degrees before another series of off-center
strikes was delivered. Group 2 consists of at least four identifiable
strikes, with the spacing between the strikes considerably greater
than in the first grouping. The Group 2 strike count is rendered more
uncertain because both faces feature relatively large “struck-through”
errors, one in the southeast quadrant of the reverse face and one in
the corresponding southwest quadrant of the obverse.
This coin sat for quite some time on eBay before I purchased it for about $60.
Our final example — a 1985 Argentina 10-peso piece — was struck at
least 20 times. The strikes are more generously spaced than in the
previous two examples and show a greater range of orientations.
Evidently the coin rotated and shifted around quite a bit during the
succession of strikes. Well-spaced strikes always carry a greater
premium than closely spaced strikes, which may explain why I had to
pay $120 for it.
While the obverse face is die-struck throughout, most of the reverse
face was struck against what appears to be a multi-struck coin or
pile-up that left behind several brockaged elements. This obstruction
left far fewer detectable strikes on the reverse face. Had both faces
been die-struck, I expect the coin would have been more expensive.
Read more on errors and die varieties in Coin World:
1919 Winged Liberty Head dime has doubled die obverse
Monday Morning Brief: How does a new die variety go mainstream?
Varieties Notebook: Coin World readers find doubled die Lincoln cents
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