series of coins where it is extremely rare to find major errors is the
American Eagle silver bullion coin series.
2013, a unique wrong planchet error 1998 silver American
Eagle, struck on a commemorative silver dollar blank, was
discovered and sold to a collector on the West Coast. Since I had a
customer who was interested in the coin, I did some research and was
able to track it down, purchase it, and subsequently sell it to him
for $50,000. While this is a high price for any error, the coin is the
only known wrong planchet error for the entire silver American Eagle
series, making it a highly desirable coin and something that any
serious collector would love to own.
previous owner of the coin loved it but was liquidating some coins, so
this coin became available for purchase by the current happy owner.
Although I do not know how the coin was originally found, it was
doubtless found mixed in with other 1998 silver American Eagles, by
some lucky collector or dealer who noticed the coin’s not having a
reeded edge, and also its slightly smaller diameter. It would have
really stood out among other silver American Eagles.
found the coin originally made an incredible cherrypick, and certainly
a large profit! At a glance, the coin appears to be the same as a
normal silver American Eagle, since it is silver and nearly the same
diameter as a normal coin, but it is in fact very different. A normal
silver American Eagle weighs 31.1 grams, which is a troy ounce of
silver, and has a diameter of 40.6 millimeters. The planchet this 1998
silver American Eagle was struck on weighs 26.73 grams and measures
38.1 millimeters, which are the specifications for a commemorative
silver dollar planchet.
big difference is that there is no reeding on the coin’s edge, which
is because the collar die could not make contact with the planchet’s
edge due to the commemorative planchet being a smaller diameter than a
silver American Eagle planchet. Also, the coin is triple-struck,
although it is not noted on the Professional Coin Grading Service holder’s
insert. There are strong traces of tripled design elements, and there
are “rings” around the rim on the obverse and reverse, which indicate
multiple strikes in accordance with how many rings there are. This
makes the coin that much more special.
was a silver commemorative planchet able to make its way into a press
striking silver American Eagles and get struck? In 1998, the West
Point Mint and the San Francisco Mint were both striking American
Eagles. The West Point Mint was at the same time striking
commemorative silver dollars — the Black Revolutionary War Patriots silver dollar
and the Robert F. Kennedy silver dollar. One of the
silver dollar planchets for these coins must have accidentally become
mixed in with a group of American Eagle silver planchets. It then was
fed into the press striking the silver bullion coins and was struck
into this coin.
it is similar to a normal silver American Eagle and weighs very nearly
the same weight, it managed to pass the inspections and weighing
processes, and was shipped out with the other silver American Eagles.
there more of these out there? Possibly.
the weight, metal, and diameter are very nearly the size of a normal
silver American Eagle, it is entirely possible another of these is out
there, possibly in some investor’s “monster box” of silver American Eagles. Because
most investors aren’t going to get out and individually count their
coins, probably millions and millions of coins in these boxes have not
been searched yet, creating an opportunity for the cherrypicker.
Hopefully some collector out there will find another!
Jon Sullivan is a member of the Combined Organizations of Error
Collectors of America, Florida United Numismatists, American
Numismatic Association, and other clubs. His firm, Sullivan
Numismatics, focuses on error coins.