US Coins

19th known double denomination mule error coin coming to auction

 When what is believed to be the 19th known example of the (2000)-P State quarter dollar-Sacagawea dollar mule error coin is offered for public sale during Heritage Auctions’ Sept. 5 to 8 Long Beach Expo auction in California, New Mexico collector Tommy Bolack will be in the heat of the bidding.

Bolack already owns 15 of the previously known 18 examples, having acquired them either at auction or through private transaction. Bolack told Coin World he is hoping to bring the number of mules in his coin stable to 16.

A mule error is a coin struck from dies not intended to be paired together. In the instance of this error, a George Washington obverse dies for a State quarter dollar were paired with reverse dies for a Sacagawea dollar and struck on manganese-brass clad dollar planchets, on a coin press dedicated to dollar coin production.

Heritage’s auction lot description states the coin being offered is from The Poulos Family Collection, Part II, and is the 18th known example. However, before the coin was consigned, error coin specialist Fred Weinberg had already identified 18 coins in a census posted on his website.

The coin in the auction is graded and encapsulated Mint State 67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. NGC officials indicate they have no additional information as to how the submitter of the coin for grading and encapsulation obtained the coin. Max Spiegel, senior vice president of sales and marketing for NGC’s parent company Certified Collectibles Group, said the coin Heritage is offering was graded by NGC in March 2017.

Heritage’s auction catalogers also do not know the lineage of the piece to be offered in September. Catalogers, did, however, find the mule to be a completely new piece and not one of the previously known examples.

Bolack last added one of the mules to his collection on March 22, 2018, when he paid a record $192,000 for an NGC Die Pair I mule offered at auction by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The known examples Bolack does not own are a PCGS MS-65, Die Pair 1 coin that error coin dealer Arnold Margolis sold to a private collector in September 2000 for $47,500; the Greg Senske specimen, NGC MS-67, Die Pair 3, discovered in September 2000 in change from a cashier at a Cape Girardeau, Missouri, cafeteria; an NGC MS-67, Die Pair 1 coin that the late error coin dealer Nicholas Brown had purchased privately for an undisclosed sum in July 2011; and the piece coming up for auction.

The first example of the mule surfaced in late May 2000 when Frank Wallis found one of the errors in a roll of circulation-quality Sacagawea dollars in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The U.S. Mint confirmed the existence of the mules on June 19, 2000.

U.S. Mint officials were able to determine that possibly several hundred thousand of the mule errors were struck.

Most of the suspect production was recovered from a Philadelphia-area armored carrier contracted by the Federal Reserve for circulating coin distribution.

Three die pairs are known. The coin being offered in the Sept. 5 to 8 sale is from Die Pair 1, and is one of now 13 examples known from that die pairing.

The characteristics of the three die pairs are:

➤ Die Pair 1: A die crack on the reverse, in the F in OF in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, is unique to this pairing. The obverse die shows the radial stress striations typically found when dies from two different sizes are used together. This is the most frequently seen of the three die pairs.

➤ Die Pair 2: The obverse die is perfect with no distinguishing marks, but the reverse bears three die cracks: one projecting from the star above the E of ONE, a second by the star above the D in DOLLAR, and a third crack running by the wing above the same two letters.

➤ Die Pair 3: The obverse die was mostly fresh with the exception of a tiny gouge in front of Washington’s lips. The reverse die was pristine with no distinguishing marks of note.

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