US Coins

Bicentennial quarter dollar on cent planchet in sale

The killer combination of a wrong planchet and a one-year design type make an error coin offered in Heritage’s auction at the Florida United Numismatists’ summer convention a visually striking piece.

The piece is a 1776–1976-D Washington, Bicentennial quarter dollar struck on a cent planchet. The coin retains some of its Mint red color, being graded Mint State 67 red and brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

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Errors involving the three Bicentennial coins are popular with error collectors because the coins were essentially a one-year type. The Bicentennial quarter dollars were released starting in September 1975 and were struck and issued throughout 1976.

Wrong planchet errors occur when a planchet intended for one coin is mixed in with planchets for another coin. The traditional explanation for such occurrences points to the bins or hoppers used for the transportation of planchets and coins on a Mint’s production floor from one station to another — used, for example, to move struck Lincoln cents from the press area to the equipment where the cents contained would be counted and bagged for shipment to the Federal Reserve. An individual hopper could be used for any number of different coins and planchets over a period of time, and left-behind coins or planchets were the source of many wrong planchet errors.

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Numismatists touring a Mint production facility when these hoppers were in use sometimes detected a stray planchet or coin caught in the bottom of the equipment. For example, a hopper that had transported cent planchets to the press area might contain a cent planchet or two caught within the hopper’s interior. If that same hopper was used next for quarter dollar planchets, the dumping of the new planchets into the hopper could dislodge the stuck cent planchet, which could then make its way to the presses striking quarter dollars. That is likely how the featured error occurred.

The Heritage lot description describes the coin: “A wrong planchet example of the popular Bicentennial quarter type. Struck aligned with the collar die at 11 o’clock, with all of LIBERTY and almost all of QUARTER DOLLAR off the flan. Lustrous and virtually pristine with peach-gold, cherry-red, and cobalt-blue colors.”

The coin is from the Michael C. Hollen Collection. 

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