Friday, March 4, 2016

The coin collector's treasure hunt - roll searching

I have previously brought up buying rolls of coins from the bank and going through them as a way to fill holes in your modern collection or find a few older coins, like these.

Seven older silver dimes (6 Roosevelt and 1 Canadian), two Mercury dimes, and two Roosevelt proof dimes; all found in a roll hunt.


However, there is another reason to search through rolls and, for some, it is more interesting than completing a collection; Oddities.
 Usually these strange coins are called "errors", but that's a misnomer. An Error coin is one that does not meet Mint standards and should never have entered circulation. Oddities (that's my word for them) display strange features, such as die cracks or evidence of heavy die wear among a hundred other strange Mint happenings.


When a coin is made, two metal stamps (called dies) come together to sandwich a little circular piece of metal (called a planchet) between them. They come together with a lot of force, enough to press the image engraved in each die into the blank planchet, forming a coin. Making coins in this manner is called minting.



The minting process of dies clamping down on planchets happens at a rapid pace. While the dies are made of metal, they can not stand up under this amount of wear and tear forever. What results are things like this:

Die Cracks

Four die cracks on the reverse of a Lincoln Cent.

See those little lines the yellow arrows point to? Notice how they appear to rise out of the surface of the coin? That is what happens when a die cracks. When the dies come together in the minting process, a tiny bit of metal fills the crack in the die and these lines are the result.



Blank Planchet



Sometimes a blank planchet escapes the mint. Quite often, actually. These aren't rare to find, but they sure are cool, and a good way to learn about the steps of the minting process.

Worn Die

Check out sloppy appearance look of the Motto on this coin. The W in "WE" and the S in "TRUST" are especially mangled. This is what happens when dies are nearing the end of their useful life.

And this is what happens when a die needs to be replaced:

Cud

The die broke under Lincoln's portrait leaving a large glob of metal attached to the rim of the coin. Also, if you look closely, there is a little line extending from the top of the 6; that's a die crack.

These oddities are in our everyday pocket change just waiting to be discovered. All it takes to find these little gems is magnification and a little knowledge. And I mean a little knowledge, you do not need to know the proper name for every error or oddity, or how they occur. You simply need to know what a coin is supposed to look like and then find ones that do not conform.

A special thanks to the kind souls who allowed me to use their found in rolls photos. I really appreciate it!

3 comments:

Gaia Genesis said...

But who wants these oddities? Judging from the lack of interest, is it worth taking up valuable time to even look for them?

dustin said...

The die cracks and worn die or fatigued dies doesn't add any premium to the coin. These two errors I've mentioned are very common....very common. The blanks and cud errors on the other hand do hold value cent blank plachets fetch between $3-$8 and the cud errors...depending on how dramatic they are tend to range between $10-$40.

dustin said...

The die cracks and worn die or fatigued dies doesn't add any premium to the coin. These two errors I've mentioned are very common....very common. The blanks and cud errors on the other hand do hold value cent blank plachets fetch between $3-$8 and the cud errors...depending on how dramatic they are tend to range between $10-$40.