Have you ever wondered how our ancestors felt when they heard gold was discovered? Or what it was like searching or digging for that “Mother Load”? I believe the people of Florida experienced this on Feb. 15th when the United States Mint released the first of the new Presidential dollar series. These Washington dollar coins were immediately scrutinized by the error/variety collectors who search for the slightest die variance.
The no edged lettered dollar was immediately discovered by a lucky collector in Florida. He brought this to the attention of the local media creating a mini “Gold Rush”. An article went on to explain that these $1,000 boxes contained new error coins. They even noted that CWI #103 INSPECTED BY number with “not to be released” until Feb 15, 2007 held the new varieties. Bank tellers in Florida started searching through rolls and found thousands of these errors.
One of the first “smooth edge” dollars found its way on eBay and immediately sold for $612.00. The 2nd one closed for a mere $369.00. As more of these errors were listed the prices dropped. Individual coins were averaging $75. Groups of 10 or more were going for approximately $600. Then, the story broke across the nation on 03/07, enhancing the “Gold Fever”. These errors were now being auctioned on the internet averaging $850 each.
The Mint’s news release stated that the coins edge lettering was being added after the coins were initially struck. The article stated how the edge lettering was added regardless of the position of the President’s bust. Collectors ignored this and created a new selling frenzy referred to as the “upside down lettered edge.” This new variety was listed on the Internet commanding record prices of $75 plus for each coin. Insanity prevailed as sellers gained a small fortune while buyers failed to read the full story to get the facts.
Speculation ran rampant in the Internet chat rooms. Claims were being made that someone in the Mint (who was an atheist) created these new “godless” dollars intentionally. Others said our founding fathers were spinning in their graves for taking the words “In God We Trust” off government issued coins. The fact is, the first coin the have “In God We Trust” was the 1864 Two Cent piece.
The error section of eBay normally lists twelve pages of new items on the weekends and five pages during the week. Suddenly, forty five pages were being added daily. Most of which were listing the new dollars. Ebay even added a new section under dollars: “Presidential (2007-Now),” and record prices were being generated.
An amazing money grabbing venture was the listings for Presidential blank planchets. These are the same blanks used for the Sacagawea dollars. The first blank listed on eBay as a Washington Dollar error closed for $1,000. These type II blanks have been retailing since the Sacagawea dollar was first released in 2000 and are currently retailing between $75 to $100. At this time, there is no way to tell the difference between the Sacagawea or Presidential dollar blank. The grading services are expected to list these as simply Maganese blank planchet dollars. Both blanks weigh in at 8.1 grams (+ or - a tolerance factor) and are made of the same material and size. No mention of which dollar type can be identified correctly on the slab, so these coins are being over sold.
I believe for sometime eBay sellers are using a Klopp crimper (shotgun shell paper coin roller machine) which re-rolls previously opened rolls. Blank planchets will be inserted into the end of a roll and are professionally re-crimped. These will be sold to the unsuspecting buyer for large amounts of money on internet auctions as original Mint wrapped rolls. Since vast amounts of these blanks are available on the market, don’t be surprised to learn most error dealers are out of stock. Because the lettered edge blank has been discovered and written about, people will believe that this is what they may find in an unopened roll where the blank is showing.
It is not unusual for a new coin issue to mandate a new process and use additional equipment that creates errors for the public to find, and a headache for the Mint. The Mint considers this to be an embarassment. They do not intentionally create error coins for the collector. Normal procedures at the Mint capture the majority of all spoilage. The lack of training of new personnel, the failure to pass procedure changes onto the next shift, equipment failure, etc., help to create a new error/variety for collectors and dealers which allows new collectors to enter the market.
New errors/future errors to look for in reference to the new Presidential dollars:
1. Smooth edge - being reported from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. (As of this date, there is no difinitive way to tell the difference as to which branch mint created these.)
2. Starburst smooth edge - between the “$1” on the reverse is Washington’s eye due to die clashing. Additionally, the obverse and reverse were struck through thin layers of oil/grease creating a starburst appearance. Individuals reported finding every tenth smooth edge dollar to be this variety.
3. Upside down lettered edge - common as 50% of all coins will show this.
A. Philadelphia Mint
B. Denver Mint
4. Misplaced lettered edge:
A. Slippage of the lettering. E Pluibus Unum almost on top of the mintmark.
B. Dropped letters or doubled letters.
C. Double lettered edge (Something to look for as this will be highly desirable)
D. Dual date lettered edge (Future possibility: 2007 over 2008) or Wrong president on wrong dated lettered edge!!! Or, “P” over “D” mintmarks.
E. Washington dollar struck over a struck Madison dollar. (I would love to see this one!) Or, Sacagawea dollar struck over a Presidential dollar)
F. Off metals/double denominations - Washington dollar struck on a dime planchet. (OR, a struck dime planchet.)
G. Very faint edge lettering (known)
5. Rotated reverses - already known: 40% to 90% clockwise rotation
6. Split off clad layers