World Coins

Design backwards on reverse of 2022 Niue coin

The error version of the 2022 Lady and the Tramp silver $2 coin from Niue shows the famous spaghetti scene and all text in reverse.

Image courtesy of Empire Precious Metals on YouTube.

After the release of a coin struck in error, New Zealand Mint and APMEX officials don’t just have egg on their faces, they have spaghetti.

A small number of 2022 Lady and the Tramp 1-ounce .999 fine silver $2 coins for Niue were struck with an improperly made die, so that the famous spaghetti dinner scene from the movie appears reversed, or “backwards,” though in normal relief.

Also included on the error side are the metal content and purity and the Disney copyright for further authentication, all appearing backward, as if seen in a mirror.

Discovering the error

The discovery was first publicized by a YouTube content creator known as “Stormy” (whose channel started out as Stacking Stormtrooper but is now Empire Precious Metals, where Empire refers to the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars universe, thus the Stormtrooper image in Stormy’s logo.)

Stormy reached out to Coin World after Aaron, a subscriber to his channel, showed him an example of the coin and mailed it to Stormy for in-hand inspection.

The New Zealand Mint confirmed to Coin World the existence of the error.

The New Zealand Mint is a private company that drives the production and release of numerous coins monthly, but it is not a mint in the sense of having presses to strike coins. It contracts with private manufacturers to mint its coins.

Making NZ Mint aware

Zoe Leech, a spokesperson for the New Zealand Mint, told Coin World that it was unaware of the problem coin until Stormy contacted them via social media.

“This bullion coin was produced and delivered directly to our distributor APMEX,” she wrote in an email to Coin World. “We saw production samples that were correct. ... we reached out to the manufacturer to understand how this error subsequently occurred. We have been informed that when the manufacturer replaced the old die, due to wear and tear, it was incorrect.”

Once the error was discovered, the die was destroyed, she said, but not before a small number of error coins were shipped to APMEX.

“All their inventory was immediately melted,” wrote Leach. “They confirmed that approx 200 coins were dispatched — although it is anticipated that only a small number will have been an errored coin.”

Explaining the process

How did the error occur?

William T. Gibbs, managing editor of Coin World, explains a possible way that the error was made.

“If a die or hub were engraved by computer with a programming error that resulted in the mirror image, that could explain the problem.”

He continued: “If a hub were used to strike the coins rather than a die, then the design would also be incused. The problem almost certainly occurred during the earliest stages of hub/die production.”

Many mints today employ digital sculpting and die production, but New Zealand Mint did not disclose which mint struck the coin and what happened.

Modern market illustration

The error market is one facet of the modern new issues market, where lines between issuers and physical mints are somewhat blurred.

The coin was sold by a private company (the New Zealand Mint) to another private company (APMEX), for exclusive sale through APMEX. It was struck by another, as yet unnamed, company.

The mintage limit of the coin is listed as 15,000 pieces at APMEX’s website, where examples of the coin (presumably all struck as intended) remain available for sale at press time Jan. 10.

According to Leech, APMEX is in the process of contacting customers who received these coins to provide a replacement if they have an error coin.

“The errored version will be returned and destroyed,” she said. “As far as we are aware, NZ Mint has never had an issue like this before.”

The regular coin is available singly or in plastic tubes of 20 coins, and “monster boxes” of 200 coins.

The obverse of each 2022 coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the country and face value.

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