US Coins

Inside Coin World: Is it an error or damage?

This 1970s-era Jefferson 5-cent coin depicts damage probably inflicted by an auto-mated coin wrapping machinery. The owner wondered whether it might be an error coin.

Original image provided by reader.

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Readers Ask: Damage or an error?

A reader who discovered a 1970s-era Jefferson 5-cent coin from the Denver Mint with misshapen lettering in LIBERTY and numerals in the date wanted to know whether he had discovered an error coin. As explained in the “Readers Ask” column for the Oct. 29 issue of Coin World, the coin shows post-minting damage that probably occurred in automated coin-wrapping machinery.

As explained in the column, the damage is semi-circular and follows the curve of the rim. This type of damage is typical to coins that were one of the end pieces in a paper-wrapped roll of coins. A piece of the wrapping machinery can scrape along the coin, leaving damage that traces a curved line.

The damage to the reader’s coin is so severe that the last digit in the date could be a 0 (probably) or a 6 (possibly). The word LIBERTY is also damaged badly, and the D Mint mark is somewhat flattened. To read more, read the “Readers Ask” column, found exclusively in the print and digital issues of Coin World.

Coin Values Spotlight: A dime called an orphan

The 1844 Seated Liberty dime has long been recognized as scarce, and it has sported a nickname dating to the mid-20th century: the “Little Orphan Annie” dime. As Paul Gilkes writes in the “Coin Values Spotlight” column, many rumors surround the coin, including whether its chief promoter actually hoarded that coin or another dime.

Frank C. Ross, a Missouri collector and newspaper columnist, famously promoted the 1844 Seated Liberty dime as rare and gave the coin its nickname. He also wrote that he was hoarding the coin, but was he?

There is some evidence that Ross was actually hoarding the 1846 Seated Liberty dime and may have been promoting the 1844 coin to throw other collectors off the scent of his real goal — to cash in on the market for 1846 dimes. To learn more about the 1844 Seated Liberty dime, read the “Coin Values Spotlight” column, exclusive to the print and digital issues of Coin World.

Fasces on U.S. coins

In a feature appearing in the Oct. 29 issue, associate editor Chris Bulfinch explores several U.S. coins that depict a fasces, a symbol of unity and strength dating to ancient Rome, which used the bundle of rods with an axe head on its coinage.

As Chris explains, the fasces was a prominent design feature on coins before the symbol became linked to the fascist movement in 1930s Italy. In the United States, such coins as the Winged Liberty Head dime, a pair of commemorative coins from the 20th century, and several pattern half dollars and double eagles from the 1850s all featured a fasces as part of their designs.

To learn more about the symbolism of fasces on U.S. coinage, read the feature in the Oct. 29 issue of Coin World.

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