US Coins

Pink-and-blue Proof Washington quarter error a beauty

Looking at the high points of a major, multi-consignor auction often reveals many of the same types of rare and expensive coins: 1879 and 1880 Stella gold $4 patterns, rare Carson City and New Orleans Mint Coronet $20 double eagles, flashy $50 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition commemorative coins. But looking within the sale often reveals more about the market, and its depth.

Here is one of my favorite coins that was offered at Heritage’s U.S. coin auctions held Jan. 3 to 8 at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Tampa:

The Lot:

1973-S Washington quarter dollar, struck twice on cent planchet, Proof 68 red and brown

The Price:


The Story:

Because they are intended for collectors and placed in special packaging, errors on Proof coins are rarely encountered. Heritage offered a 1973-S Washington quarter dollar that was double struck on a cent planchet, graded Proof 68 red and brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

Ever heard of ‘skidding error’?”Collectors’ Clearinghouse author Mike Diamond identifies a new kind of error. Also inside this issue, protecting your paper money collection from mold and advice for participating in online auctions.

Heritage writes, “The high pressure used on proof coinage has caused this beautifully preserved planchet to spread to cover nearly the entire quarter-sized surfaces, though a small void remains at the lower right obverse and corresponding area of the reverse.”

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Some Proof errors made their ways into Proof sets, while others were clandestinely removed from the Mint. It is curious to think if this particular error coin was ever once in a six-coin 1973 Proof set since it is larger than a cent but smaller than a quarter dollar. Its weight of 3.13 grams is well within the tolerance for a 3.11-gram copper alloy Lincoln cent planchet of the era.

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