US Coins

Strong prices for dies and planchet scraps from Weinberg collection

Dealer and error specialist Fred Weinberg is selling parts of his collection, and on May 2 Heritage offered an intriguing online Showcase Auction featuring coin dies from his collection, along with some other oddities.

The 261-lot sale brought $146,727, with most of the value coming from a single lot: an undated Continental dollar restrike reverse die that realized $102,000.

Research continues on the original “Continental dollars,” dated 1776 but possibly struck later than that, perhaps as a form of currency but also possibly as commemorative medals. The obverse took its design from paper Continental currency, while the reverse — seen in the offered die — shows 13 interlocked rings forming a chain on which each of the 13 original colonies is named, with AMERICAN CONGRESS in a central ring surrounding WE ARE ONE.

The runner-up in the auction was a relic of the minting process housed in an oversized Professional Coin Grading Service holder, described as an unpunched planchet strip for an Eisenhower copper-nickel clad dollar. Measuring 1 inch by 2 inches and graded PCGS Genuine, it realized $2,880.

It is especially interesting for the beveled edge and the visibility of both the copper and nickel elements of the planchet, giving it the look of a 1970s minimalist sculpture by Carl Andre more than anything numismatic.

Another unpunched planchet strip, for a copper-nickel clad Kennedy half dollar and measuring 2¼ by 2 inches, sold for $1,680.

Among other aesthetically pleasing remnants of the minting process was a manganese punched planchet strip intended for small-sized dollars, which formed a six-point star with a large round void in the center and was certified PCGS Genuine, that sold for $552.

The dies that made coins

While there are the hammer and anvil dies that impress the designs of the obverse and reverse, the collar die imparts the third side — the edge — and keeps a contained planchet from spreading during the striking process. A collar die with a reeded edge that was used to strike 1968-S Roosevelt dimes, certified by Numismatic Guaranty Co. who noted “Cancelled-Torched” on the slab with identifying labels on it, sold for $1,020. More typical NGC-certified dies that were canceled and defaced sold for around $100 each, such as a group of undated dies used at the Denver Mint to strike coins in 1994.

NGC explained, “After their useful life is over, dies are usually destroyed by a mint, but some are sold as a numismatic product or scrap. These cancelled dies are defaced to prevent them from being used to illegitimately strike more coins.”

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