New Mexico collector Tommy Bolack spent $42,300 Jan. 6 to add a “10 penny” nail to his collection of major U.S. coin errors. He bid $36,000 for the coin, with the total price including the 17.5 percent buyer's fee.
Noted for owning 10 of the 14 publicly known (2000-P) State quarter dollar obverse/Sacagawea dollar reverse mule error coins, Bolack became locked in a bidding contest with another collector in Heritage Auctions’ FUN Sale in Tampa to acquire the Roosevelt dime error struck on a 6-penny common zinc nail.
Numismatic research indicates that Mint press operators may have used nails to dislodge misstruck coins jammed in the presses, which if accurate, would suggest that it might be possible that such pieces could have been struck in error. However, some numismatists have also asked whether some similar pieces might have been struck deliberately.
‘10 penny' error
Although struck on a 6-penny gauge nail, Bolack’s “10 penny” error alludes to the 10-cent denomination.
Bolack says he considers the dime struck on a nail one of the more spectacular errors he has added to his collection. He said he heard about the existence of such an error several years ago and wasn’t going to be denied if one came to auction. Bolack said he was prepared to bid higher to acquire the error.
The coin’s appearance in the sale was somewhat a piece of luck.
David McCarthy, senior numismatist at Kagin’s in Tiburon, Calif., held the coin in his personal collection.
McCarthy said he acquired the piece for $5,000 approximately eight to 10 years ago at an East Coast coin show. He said he placed the error into a coin flip and stored it for safekeeping,
However, the storage location was so safe that for the past three years, McCarthy had been unable to locate the piece.