US Coins

PCGS certifies two-tailed Washington quarter dollar

The Washington quarter dollar struck with two reverse dies reported by an error coin dealer has been authenticated and graded by Professional Coin Grading Service. The grading service has also certified a Proof 1968-S Washington quarter struck in 90 percent silver instead of the intended copper-nickel clad composition.

Both U.S. coin errors struck at the San Francisco Mint in the 1960s were submitted to the grading service by error coin dealer Fred Weinberg of Fred Weinberg & Co. in Encino, Calif. The coins came from different sources.

Palladium joins American Eagle bullion family”U.S. Mint welcomes a fourth metal to the American Eagle bullion program. Also in this week’s print issue of Coin World, we teach our readers about what a “weak-fatty” gold coin is and why you don’t want one in your collection.

PCGS graded the two-tailed quarter dollar mule Mint State 62, while the 1968-S coin is graded and encapsulated Proof 64.

The two-tailed Washington quarter dollar is only the third known such error struck with two Eagle reverse dies. Weinberg purchased the coin from a collector during the Sept. 7 to 9 Long Beach Expo in Long Beach, California.

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The coin is struck with normal die alignment on the intended copper-nickel clad planchet composed of outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel bonded to a core of pure copper.

The coin’s weight is 5.6 grams, slightly lighter than the 5.67-gram standard.

Production of the two-tailed Washington quarter dollar is believed to have been executed at the San Francisco Mint between 1965 and 1967.

Wrong composition error

The Proof 1968-S Washington quarter dollar is struck on a silver planchet composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper used from 1932 through 1964 for the Washington quarter dollar. A date freeze in place, intended to help the Mint overcome a national coinage shortage, permitted production of 1964 Washington quarter dollars into 1965.

Concurrent with the date freeze was a switch to a new composition for the coin. The copper-nickel clad composition was introduced in 1965 on the Roosevelt dime and Washington quarter dollar pursuant to provisions of the Coinage Act of 1965.

The copper-nickel clad composition wasn’t introduced on the Kennedy half dollar until 1971.

The wrong planchet error weighs 6.3 grams, slightly heavier than the 6.25-gram standard.

Similar errors

It was not until relatively recently that genuine errors bearing two reverse designs were authenticated.

Discovery of the first two-tailed quarter dollar was reported by Coin World on the cover of the July 3, 2001, issue. Bob Wiborg from Gold’n Coins Jewelry in La Habra, California, purchased the mule along with several hundred other error coins in a May 2001 sale by the California State controller’s office featuring unclaimed property from bank safe-deposit boxes. The error coins Wiborg purchased had been seized by the Secret Service, then returned to the state of California to be sold as unclaimed property.

Weinberg, on Wiborg’s behalf, brokered the two-tailed coin’s $80,000 sale to New Mexico collector Tommy Bolack, who owns 12 of the 16 publicly known Washington quarter dollar/Sacagawea dollar double-denomination mules.

Bolack’s two-tailed quarter dollar exhibits perfect coin turn alignment.

The second two-tailed quarter dollar, also pedigreed to the California unclaimed property sale, was submitted to NGC late in 2001 by Abbot’s Coinex Corp. of Birmingham, Michigan, on behalf of an unnamed client. The coin is reported to have come from another safe-deposit box whose contents were unclaimed by the same individual whose safe-deposit box yielded the first two-tailed quarter dollar.

The second two-tailed quarter dollar exhibits medal turn die alignment, meaning the tops of both sides back each other, which is 180 degrees out of rotation from normal coin die alignment.

Weinberg said he bought the two-tailed Roosevelt dime from error specialist “Lonesome” John Devine on Nov. 1, 2001. Devine had owned the coin since 1973 after purchasing it from a collector along with other major San Francisco Mint errors.

Weinberg submitted the dime to PCGS, which graded the coin MS-64. Weinberg said he sold the coin in 2002, bought it back from the same party six months ago, and sold it to another party who placed the unique piece with a serious collector of error coins. 

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