Errors are one of the most fascinating areas of numismatic study. As a young numismatist I became enamored with errors and how they were produced. The original focus of my personal collection was errors, and I’ve always been partial to the most bizarre pieces to escape the mint. Today I’ve got two very interesting pieces on my desk. The first coin is an undated large cent (1808-1834) with a full brockage strike. For those of you not familiar with errors The Official Price Guide to Mint Errors (Herbert) describes it as such, “A coin which was stuck with all of a struck coin between it and one of the dies, showing on the struck object coin as a shallow irregularly rounded depression in the entire face…with a slightly enlarged and distorted incuse image of the intervening coin design.” On this particular coin the familiar obverse design is absent and we have a 85% incuse reverse in its place. The reverse of the coin features a prominent broken die inside the wreath and along part of the outer rim from about 12:00 to 7:00, obscuring some of the lettering. PCGS graded the coin VG-10, though the coin appears significantly nicer (and grading a brockage strike is always a challenge).
The second error is a 1943 Lincoln cent struck on a silver dime planchet. Of all years that a Lincoln could be struck on a silver planchet, 1943 is certainly unique. Because of the copper shortage needed for the war effort in the heat of WWII, Lincoln cents were struck in zinc coated steel. These coins were not popular with the public as they were similar to dimes in size and color. Because all of the cents from 1943 already were silvery in color, the odds were against any off-metal silver coins being detected. I don’t find it surprising that it would escape the mint, given its ability to blend in with normal steel cents. This example has been deemed genuine by PCGS, with a no-grade and a code 98 indicating damage, present in the form of moderately deep staple gouges on the obverse; the gouges appear to almost be metal tests, but are more likely just simple graffiti. Overall it’s a pleasing example of a very unique error that will surely find its home in a nice collection of error coins.