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Error Coins
 
 
Each year, the U.S. Mint produces billions of coins.  The vast majority are struck
correctly and enter circulation or end up in collectors’ hands.  In order to leave
the U.S. Mint facilities, the coins must pass through a series of quality control checkpoints.  If a coin is found to be struck with an error in the design, or if the
coining machinery malfunctions and produces misshapen or partially-struck
coins, all of the coins in question are destroyed. 
 
 
However, each year a very few rogue coins manage to escape the eyes of
inspectors and are accidentally released into circulation.  These error coins are
highly sought after for their rarity as well as their unusual nature.  Due to their
rarity, error coins can be expensive. 
 
 
One major type of error coin is an error in the design.  The coin will look normal,
but a small flaw or unintentional element on a single coin die creates a coin that is different from all others.  During a mint run for a coin, hundreds or even
thousands of different coin dies may be used, but the error will appear on
only one die.  As a result, this type of error will appear on only a few thousand
coins (at most) struck with the same coin die.  Famous examples include
the three-legged buffalo on the 1937-D Buffalo Nickel, which was the result of
an overzealous Mint employee polishing one coin die so much that he rubbed the buffalo’s leg away;  the 1955 Lincoln Penny with the doubled-die obverse, the
result of the lettering and date being accidentally imprinted twice;  and the
2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter with an extra leaf in the design.
 
 
Another type of error coin can be produced during the minting process on
otherwise normal coin blanks and with normal coin dies;  these errors are
usually unique, meaning that only one coin at a time will be affected by a
flaw in the minting process.  For example, a coin can sometimes be struck
multiple times and will therefore show parts of two or more images;  a coin
can be struck off-center;  a coin can be struck on the wrong type of coin clank; 
and a coin can miss the coining machinery and be completely blank.  In addition,
some 2007 and later Presidential Dollars were released with missing
 inscriptions on the edge.