Article by:

Mike Byers
mikebyers.com
News

The Real Story Behind The Feeder Finger Find

After a recent tour of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, it was discovered that the minting process had changed to some degree. One of the changes was that aluminum "feeder fingers" were used during the striking of all denominations of U.S. coins.

This is not a new discovery. Let me back up five years, and explain the sequence of events. In 1998 I was the first major mint error dealer to discover, purchase and sell a new type of striking error.

First, I discovered a few 1998 Quarters that were struck on aluminum scrap. Then in 1999, I purchased a few State Quarters struck on aluminum scrap. This was a "new metal" that U.S. coins were being struck on. This aluminum scrap was obviously produced as a by-product of the minting process. But no one, including myself, could put a "finger" on exactly where in the minting process this was occuring.

There are a few U.S. coins struck on aluminum scrap prior to 1998, one that is dated as early as 1970. It is a Dime on a partial aluminum scrap planchet. I've only handled five or six pre-1998 "on aluminum scrap" mint errors. These are not to be confused with this new striking error, which occurs because the Schuler Presses have aluminum "feeder fingers."

The only "new discovery" is the proper designation that is now going to be placed on the insert tag of the slab. Originally, two of the three major grading services (ANACS and PCGS), decided to designate this type of striking error as being struck on aluminum scrap.

Since then, all U.S. denominations were appearing that were struck on this new aluminum scrap. I have handled these on Cents, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters, State Quarters, SBA's and Sac's.

Now, after a recent tour of the Mint by a few dealers, the grading services are deciding on the designation and description for these coins struck on feeder finger tips.

I sold some of these aluminum coins that were struck on feeder finger tips to mint error collectors and to other error dealers. You will find a few of these in their inventory. I kept some of the largest and most dramatic pieces for myself and they are not for sale. I will have a few of these displayed in my showcases at future coin shows.

The following photos courtesy of Mike Byers.
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