World Coins

When a mint uses the wrong blank

This 1992 gold $15 coin from Canada is an off-metal striking, created when dies intended for a silver coin were used with a 1-ounce gold planchet intended for a Maple Leaf coin.

Coin images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

When the Royal Canadian Mint issued a broad range of silver $15 coins for the 1996 Olympics, the RCM mistakenly went for gold with one of the issues. 

One of just two known off-metal strikes of the Spirit of Generations design, issued in 1992, is coming to auction.

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The coin, graded Proof 68 Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., is part of Heritage Auctions’ April 20 and 21 sale held in conjunction with the Chicago Coin Expo.

The “interesting and highly unusual off-metal striking” was created when dies intended for the silver coin were paired with a 1-ounce gold planchet intended for a Maple Leaf coin, the auction house said.  

Because the gold planchet was only 30 millimeters wide, it expanded when struck by the commemorative dies, which measured 40 millimeters in diameter, thus accounting for the slightly odd nature of the rims of this piece, as there was not quite enough metal to fill the entire area demanded by the dies. 

Just two examples of this rarity are known, according to Heritage. 

The silver design is cataloged as Krause-Mishler 215 in the Standard Catalog of World Coins by Chester Krause and Clifford Mishler. 

“Given the extremely atypical and intriguing nature of its striking process, this important example, just one of two known, would serve as a cornerstone in any Canadian or mint error collection,” the auction house said.

The coin has an estimate of $10,000.

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