Article by:

Rich Schemmer

Are Error Coins Too Highly Priced?

These are statements that are frequently heard within the Error Coin hobby:
* Prices are just too high...
* I canít afford errors anymore...
* What ever happened to the good old days?

Well, Iím sure we can make these same comments on many things over the years. Letís see...

In 1969, I purchased my home for $35,000. Today itís worth $600,000. Taxes for my home were just $1,200 per year. Today taxes are nearly $9,000.

1972 I bought a new Toyota Corolla, fully equipped for $2,500. Today they cost over $20,000.

Iím sure your starting to get my point. In 1980 (27 years ago) mint errors like dated Nickel on Cent planchets in BU were approximately $15. Today the same error is worth over $250. Now, is that a bad thing? Some may think so if they just started collecting. But others that started back in the 1980ís are reaping large capitol gains (profits).

OK, here is another thought! What was my salary 30-40 years ago? $15,000 - $20,000 per year. 40 years ago it was under $10,000 and on that amount I was able to purchase a new home (In New York, Long Island), raise a family and still collect mint errors. What is your salary or salary potential today? $50,000 - $100,000 - $150,000 or more? Maybe you have a spouse that also works.

My point is that everything goes up in price eventually: Salaries, Homes, Taxes, College Educations, 401k, and popular collectables. So donít be taken back by the prices of todayís error coins. Yes, they have gone up considerably over the years, but in reality thatís a good thing. Would you want to collect something that has not risen in price over the last 30 years?

Error coins have made great strides over the years in popularity and price gains. We see the same continuing appreciation to continue for many, many years to come.

Whatís fueling these gains?

Popularity: Mint errors have become popular among many collectors. They can be found in most major auctions. Many of these auctions set new records for better high grade examples of rare mint errors.

Availability: With the introduction of new presses in all the U.S. Mint facilities, very few new mint errors are produced. Even the common off-center Cent has become a rarity. Those that are made are usually caused by an outside vendorís mistake and the only error by the U.S. Mint is that it escaped the Mintís screening process to weed these out. What errors are made by outside vendors?

Clips: Most of the planchets are made by outside companies and sold to the U.S. Mint.

Cladding Errors: Error such as missing clad layers, partial cladding or laminated cladding.

Improper Plated Cents: Either partially or totally; Cents that are missing the copper plating with the zinc core showing.

These errors are made by outside vendors (companies) and accidentally sold to the U.S. Mint.

Striking Errors: Errors such as Off Centers, Caps, Indents, Multiple Strikes, Off Metals, Double Denominations, etc. are seldom made by the newer presses installed recently at the U.S. Mint.

There are fewer mint errors entering the error coin market since the installation of the newer presses at the U.S. Mint. This has caused a real shortage of newer material, thereby fueling a Bull market with ever increasing prices.

Basically, what is out there is ALL that is available. As errors get placed into collections they have a tendency not to surface for several years or even decades. That also creates an even larger shortage of available errors.

I hope you get a clear picture of what has happened over the years. Increased popularity, inflation and limited availability of mint errors all contribute to increased error coin prices that weíve seen in the last decade.

So donít hesitate because of the current price level of errors, and look back at the so called ďgood old days.Ē Because a few years from now you will be saying the same thing about todayís current prices.

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