Types of Coin Damage

Collecting coins is a rewarding and educational hobby millions worldwide enjoy. However, one aspect of coin collecting that is particularly fascinating is the identification of coins with errors or damage. In this article, we will explore different types of coin damage, how to identify if a coin is an error, which coin defects can be worth money, the various types of mint errors, and a list of notable error coins. As a collector or an investor, understanding these aspects of coin damage can be crucial to making informed decisions about your collection.

How Do I Know if My Coin is an Error? 

Determining if a coin is an error involves examining it closely for any signs of irregularities. Errors are usually a result of mistakes during the minting process, and they can add significant value to a coin. Here are some key indicators that your coin may be an error:

Misaligned or double die: 

If the coin’s design appears to be doubled or misaligned, it could result from a double die or misaligned die errorThis occurs when the die used to strike the coin is either misaligned or imprinted with the design more than once.

Off-center strike:

An off-center strike occurs when the coin blank, or planchet, is not centered correctly on the die during minting. This results in an uneven distribution of the design, with parts of the image missing or extending beyond the coin’s edge.

Clipped planchet: 

A clipped planchet error occurs when a blank portion is missing before the coin is struck. This can result in a coin with an irregular shape, as the missing portion will not have any design elements.

Wrong planchet: 

Sometimes, coins are accidentally struck on a planchet intended for a different denomination or composition. For example, a dime struck on a penny planchet will be smaller and thinner than a standard dime.


Overmintmarks occur when a coin is struck with a mintmark from one mint and then re-struck with another. This can result in two mint marks appearing on the coin.

To determine if your coin is an error, scrutinize it under a magnifying glass or microscope. Pay close attention to the design elements, edges, and any signs of irregularities. Consulting a reputable coin guide or dealer can also help identify potential errors.

What Coin Defects are Worth Money? 

Some coin defects can significantly increase a coin’s value, while others have little to no impact on its worth. Here are a few notable coin defects that can be worth money:

Rare mint errors: 

Coins with rare and significant mint errors, such as double or off-metal strikes, can be highly sought by collectors and investors. The rarity and severity of the error can significantly impact the coin’s value.

Die varieties: 

Coins with unique or rare die varieties, such as doubled dies or repunched mintmarks, can also be worth more than their face value. These errors can be difficult to spot without a trained eye, so consulting a coin expert can be invaluable in determining the value of a die variety error.

Error coins with historical significance: 

Some error coins have gained notoriety or historical importance due to the circumstances surrounding their production or discovery. These coins can be precious, especially rare or unique.

High-grade error coins: 

The condition of a coin plays a significant role in determining its value. Error coins in exceptional condition, with minimal wear or damage, can be worth more than those in lesser need.

Popular error coins: 

Certain error coins have gained popularity among collectors and are highly sought after due to their distinctive appearance or unique features. As a result, these popular error coins can command higher prices in the market.

Types of Mint Errors  

Mint errors can occur at various stages of the coin production process, resulting in a wide range of error types. Here are some common types of mint errors:

Planchet errors: 

It occurs when there is an issue with the coin blank or planchet before it is struck. This can include clipped planchets, blank planchets, or lamination errors where the metal layers separate.

Die errors: 

Die errors result from issues with the dies used to strike the coins. This can include doubled dies, repunched mintmarks, or die cracks that create raised lines or breaks in the design.

Strike errors: 

Strike errors happen during the actual striking of the coin. Examples include off-center, double, and broad strikes, where the coin is struck without a collar, resulting in a more comprehensive, distorted shape.

Mintmark errors: 

It occurs when the mintmark is added to the coin incorrectly or unusually. This can include over-mintmarks, misplaced mintmarks, or inverted mintmarks.

Edge errors:

Edge errors involve issues with the coin’s edge, such as missing or double edge lettering or reading errors where the grooved lines on the edge of the coin are missing or irregular.

List of Error Coins  

Here is a list of some notable error coins that have captured the interest of collectors and investors:

1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent: 

One of the most famous error coins, the 1955 doubled die cent features a dramatic doubling of the date, letters, and image of Lincoln.

2000 Sacagawea/Quarter Mule: 

This rare error coin features the obverse of a Washington quarter and the reverse of a Sacagawea dollar, struck on a golden dollar planchet.

1972 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent: 

This error coin exhibits strong doubling on the coin’s obverse, particularly in the date and the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

1969-S Doubled Die Lincoln Cent: 

This rare and valuable error coin strongly doubles the date, letters, and Lincoln’s image on the obverse.

1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime: 

Missing the “P” mintmark for the Philadelphia Mint, this error dime is highly sought after by collectors.

1943 Copper Penny: 

Due to a few leftover copper planchets from 1942, a small number of 1943 pennies were accidentally struck in copper instead of the intended steel composition, making them extremely rare and valuable.

1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel: 

This overdate error coin features the last digit of the date struck over a previously struck 7, creating the appearance of “1918” over “1917.”


Understanding the types of coin damage and mint errors can add an exciting dimension to your coin-collecting hobby or investment strategy. By learning how to identify error coins and understanding which defects can increase a coin’s value, you can uncover hidden treasures within your collection or make more informed decisions when purchasing coins. Always consult reputable coin guides or experts when in doubt, and happily hunt for those elusive error coins!

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