Error-Variety Newsletter

Aug 6th, 2000
Entire contents Copyrighted by Ken Potter 2000

Hello All,

    For those of you who have been asking, I do not yet know if I will be able to make it to the ANA.  If I do it will probably be on Fri & Sat.  I hope I can make it and meet with all.  As with the last newsletter, I'm pressed for time so most of this newsletter will reprint questions and answers from and to readers.

Visit my updated list by clicking here:
Aug 6, 2000 Updated ErrorVarietyList

1) Error-Variety News Classics Book-2 is finally in from the printer and will begin shipping right after ANA.  For those of you who have not ordered yet, I've extended my pre-publication offer of a free copy of Lonesome John's, Detecting Counterfeit Gold Coins, to the end of October 2000.  This was done to facilitate the later issue dates of some of the club magazines (which are published bimonthly) where the pre-pub offer was to appear, and because of  the uncertain date of publication (of this book) due to complications at the printer who recently moved into a new location.   Even though the book is now published, I will continue to honor the pre-publication offer until the end of September.

Here is the offer:

Wexler/Wilharm: "Error-Variety News Classics" Book-2 Goes To Press!

Book-2 of the "Error-Variety News Classics," reprint project is now going to press! Ken Potter of Lathrup Village, Michigan, obtained rights to the reprint project from the current copyright holder, Lonesome John Devine, and plans to first reprint all issues published by John Wexler and Robert Wilharm - the original owners of the magazine. There were 39 of 8-1/2 x 11 size format issues and 17 of the 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 format issues for a total of 56 issues published from May of 1978 through August of 1981. Book-2 represents the completion of the large-size format phase of the project.

The reprint series will give hobbyists who weren't around in the early days of the variety hobby an opportunity to include Error-Variety News into their library and a chance to look back at the state of the hobby during what many feel was the "golden era" of variety collecting. EVN is a frequently sited cross-reference found in the CONECA U.S. Doubled Die Master Listing and in Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins.

In Book-2 and future books in the series, collector’s will find feature articles and regular columns by some of the hobby's best error-variety coin authors. As Potter put it: "You’ll. meet many of the people who helped build this hobby to where it is today and you’ll. read all about hundreds of new discoveries as they were originally reported upon. You’ll. tour the world’s Mints in Alan Herbert’s, Mints and Minting column and get a chuckle out of Sam P. Roden’s monthly cartoon! The Wexler/Wilharm issues feature a stable of outstanding authors like, Alan Herbert, Delma K. Romines, Robert Larkin, Bill Fivaz, Steven Gray, Robert Wilharm, Margaret Wilharm, David Camire, Ricky Morse, David E. Van Gelder, Herbert Hicks, Tom Miller, Ken Potter, Jeffrey Daniher, David Crenshaw, Steven Ritter, Harrington E. Manville and, of course, John Wexler (who - believe it or not - also wrote about planchet and striking errors back in those days)!"

Book-2 represents the balance of all 19 issues of EVN from Volume 3 through Volume 4 #4 that were published in the large size format. Every article and every front cover has been published as originally presented. All dealer or club ads that appear in multiple issues without changes are included on their first-time-of-appearance. This allows new collectors in the field an opportunity to learn about the evolution of the hobby and who’s who.

The reprint compilations were produced with the newest state-of-the-art copy technology that results in extremely high quality imagery, virtually equal to or better than the originals. The second volume is over 200 pages in the 8-1/2 x 11" format and spiral bound.

Book-2 is now available on a pre-publication basis and is priced at $24.95 plus $3.20 postage on all orders. Delivery is expected by late May to early June. All orders received prior to October 31, 2000 will receive a complimentary copy of Lonesome John’s, latest 1994 printing of Detecting Counterfeit Gold Coins, a groundbreaking publication that normally retails at $14.95. Send all orders to: Ken Potter, P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076. Dealer inquiries are welcome.

2) Are you interested in reading more about errors and varieties?. Check out my entire Collectors Universe Author's Index here: Ken Potter's CU Articles. 

3) I've got a new batch of items for sale on eBay including some errors and varieties.  Check out all my listings by clicking here: Ken Potter's eBay Auctions.  I want to point out that the items in my auctions are constantly changing and it would be a good idea to bookmark my "About Me" eBay Webpage and check it often to see what is new.  Just to show you what you may have missed - here is a look at a super double struck Jeff that just closed today:

4) As usual, I've been getting in a lot of questions from readers of my columns dedicated to errors and varieties.  A few of the questions and answers are copied below:

Hi Ken,

I want to report what I think is an error coin. I remembered

what you said in the last e-mail that die breaks in coins were common.

But what I have here is a picture of two coins found in circulation with

the die break in identical places. That's not half as unusual as finding

three rolls I brought from the bank (who in turn gets their coinage

directly from the Mint) with the same die break pattern. The

significance of this die break is that it obliterates the two sets of

initials on the bottom of the Washington bust. Not only do these coins

have this error, just look at the weak 'E' in IN GOD WE TRUST and all the

letters in QUARTER DOLLAR are thicker than the normal AU Maryland

Quarter. Wear couldn't be an issue of a mint tightly rolled set of

quarters. Sorry if I used up some of your valuable time; I'm just a coin collector

trying tap into the field of error coins. Your feedback would be much

appreciated. Thanks, Terry >>

Hi Terry,

What you have are die cracks at the base of the bust as you correctly identified them. The reason that they are re-occurring in this area is because this is one of the two areas of greatest stress on the obverse die. In general, it can be expected that a very high percentage of all cracks that develop on the obverse will occur here or at the top of the head or both. Cracks in either of these two areas on both the States and non-States quarters are considered extremely common -- so common that they can not even be used as reliable "markers" to help identify other more collectable variety types such as doubled dies since there are just too many of them on all dates to help differentiate one die from the next. Another factor is that the Mint is extending the use of the dies well beyond normal in an attempt to get as many coins per set of dies as possible, which is necessary if they are to meet the extremely high productions quotas mandated for these issues. This saves a bit on die costs but more importantly cuts down on "down time," allowing the presses to run more hours per day than usual. Increased production via this route comes at a cost and is evidenced by more "strike-thru" errors (since they are obviously wiping the dies clean less frequently), a multitude of die cracks, weak designs (as a result of the use of many heavily worn and abraded dies) and last but not least; die deterioration in the form of heavy flow-lines, ("orange peel" surfaces), doubling, thickening and twisting of designs and characters most evident in the later stages of the dies life. As the States quarters program progresses we will see different patterns emerge for each die paring as the stresses change a bit due to the new designs creating different patterns of stress but in general, I'm guessing that the base of bust pattern on the obverse will stay with us for as long as the series is produced.

For more information on these variations see my Collectors Universe articles on the States Quarters here:

and here:

I hope I helped!


<< Hi ken,read your last posts "busy" you need help;-) When you find time answer this for me.I opened an original roll of 43 D Jeff Nick's ..One is missing the steps no silver flow present I can see the copper core NS? one has lamination defect or error silver is folded back like on a corner of a page exposing the copper. Also a few are missing silver on the rim"incomplete rim" all coins gradeMs 67 to 69.What is the correct terminology? and does this decrease the value?Thanks Al Ana190199 >>

Answer:  Actually there should be no copper under the silver alloy. However, there is probably discoloration due to improper alloy mix that would be dark and/or streaky. The problems you describe are typical of "war nicks" and the alloy used.

Figure it to me normal and in no way detracting or adding value to an average MS65 coin but probably keeping them out of the upper grades.

Hope I helped.



I visited your koinpro site and found it interesting. I especially liked the Georgia OC.

My Massachusetts State Quarter is from the Philadelphia mint.

It was struck clearly off-center, but the collar is not broken (like the

OC Georgia). I guess it is 1-2mm off center. For the front, the thick

part is at the top and thin part is at the bottom. The back is, of

course, the opposite, thinnest at top. The front / back strikings

themselves are perfect, just off center. No mushrooming or other

distortions apparent.


The reeding on the edge of the coin is missing completely for about 90

degrees measured around the face of the coin. It is present less than

1/4 across the edge for 45 degrees, more than half for about another 45

degrees. The other 180 degrees has roughly 1/4 to 1/2 of the edge with

ridges. Is this reeding failure a normal characteristic of OC coins?

Is the Georgia OC reeded?


Since the collar is not broken, does this qualify as an OC coin? Is $55

retail about right for this Mass coin?


Any comments on this coin?


I have heard of the broken die Maryland, the upside down reverse

Georgia, and now these Mass & GA OCs. Are there other varieties of the

state quarters so far?


Where am I most likely to be able to contact State Quarter collectors

with a variety interest?


Thanks ever so much for your time and attention,



Hi Hip,

I guess I'd need to see your coin to comment much as the description is not anything I can quickly identify as a typical error. Off Centers have no reeding at all (and will be missing a portion of design from the area that was not struck due to being off center or outside the dies). They cannot have reeding because they are struck outside of the collar off center (the collar forms the reeding). You may have an uncentered broadstrike with forced in partial collar. It's hard for me to say w/o seeing the coin. I'm not aware of the "broken collar" that you allude to on my GA quarters. I'm not sure where you got that idea. Of course it "could" be broken -- but, since they are struck off center, outside of the collar -- how would I know if the collar is broken? I would have had to have been right there at the Mint and seen them struck off center due to a broken collar to know that.

All the hundreds of error types known to coinage are being found on the States quarters -- everything from A through Z.

The value of your coin can only be determined once it is attributed as to the error type. Then each coin is worth what you can get for it. Dealers will normally pay about 60% to 75% of retail for most errors.

There are no error groups that just focus on the States errors but CONECA is a national group on all errors.

Please read my articles on errors on Collectors Universe and check out CONECA (and NCADD too) from the links on my eBay "About Me" site.

I hope I was of help.

Sincerely yours,




I have a quarter of 1994, with two faces, or like you name, shelf-like or doubling ejection.

I want to know how often this coin is requested by collectors and the price in the market. thanks in advance. mape. >>

Answer:  There is no market value for machine doubling as it is considered damage to the coin.

Hope this helped.


I have a question, and unfortunately for you, your name tops the "Ask the Numismatist: Error Coinage" list at Coin Masters...


What is "a Sintered Coating"?


I have a lightly circulated New Jersey quarter that has a crescent

shaped dark stain across one side of the obverse. The stain appears "in"

the metal, rather than oil or grime on the surface, and is more like a

shadow than a stain. It could be simply an area that wasn't properly

polished, but the only image I've located that <might> be related was

labeled "Sintered Coating". Unfortunately, there was no supporting

explanation with the image. If you know what the term means I would

appreciate a brief explanation. If you don't know, perhaps you can

direct me to someone who might...


Thanks for your time.



Answer:  Over the years there has been some controversy as to what a "sintered planchet" error is. In brief, it is supposed to be a planchet (silver colored) that has been coated with copper-dust from particles that collect in the rotating annealing drums, bonded to the planchet through the heat of annealing. Many years ago, Lonesome John Devine, a well know expert in the field, confided to me privately that the error truly did not exist; that when he tried to explain it to some of the experts of the time, his opinion fell on depth ears and that the fallacy has been promulgated ever since. He stated that the copper coloration on the so-called sintered planchet error was actually just a heavy "copper wash" resulting from the planchets being washed with solvents heavily contaminated with copper. This created areas (or entire coins) stained or plated with copper. I'm not sure if either explanation is correct as I've paid very little attention to the error type. It is a very difficult error type to attribute as genuine since identical (or virtually identical) effects can be created outside of the Mint on struck coins. As such the error type generally commands a very small premium. There was an article on the sintered planchet error some time ago; maybe two or three years ago, in the CONECA Errorscope but I no longer remember what it said.

I hope I helped.


 Mr. Potter,

I have come across a blank quarter planchet and was wondering if you may have any interest or know if there is a market for such a thing. I have seen a blank planchet that was going for $250 on another website. I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the subject. Thank you.


Dear PS: I sell the clad 25c planchets for $4 each. That is all they are worth. Several uneducated dealers have been attempting to associate certain blanks with specific States quarter themes and saying they are worth more -- much more because of the State quarter they were intended to be struck as. The sad fact is that folks that are falling for that line and spending big bucks are getting ripped off. A clad quarter blank is a clad quarter blank -- nothing more or less.

I hope this answers your question as to what is occurring out there with the prices of a few dealers.


 Ken, I hope you can help me to determine if a coin I have is worth anything or not. Or point me in the right direction. I have a 1989 P Roosevelt dime that is copper on both sides. The reason I'm inquiring is because I saw a resent local news show telling that one sold on eBay for quite a bit of money. I also have a 1972 JS dime that is copper on front and silver on back.Any info would help. Thank you in advance, Tom F. >>

The 1989-P is probably what we call "copper wash" -- a coin who's blank got washed in a solvent that was originally used to wash cent blanks or it could simply have been plated with copper after it was struck. This is easily done by chemical processes that are available to almost anybody. "Copper Wash" is very difficult to authenticate and normally only sells for a few dollars. A plated coin carries no extra value.

The 1972 dime could be a "Split Off Clad Layer" strike. You did not indicate how much it weighed. It should appear thin and be underweight if it is a "Split Off." I sell these at about $25 to $35 depending on how nice they are.

The JS that you mentioned is on all dimes and represents the designer, John R. Sinnock's, initials.

I hope that I was of some help.

Sincerely yours,



<< Ken, I talked with one of your friends last week - the man at Royal Oak Mint

and ordered those Lincoln reproductions. That 55 doubled die looks good.

The lettering is very good.

What I wanted to ask you is concerning the 1936 DDO #1. My friend in

Wisconsin is trying to buy one and he has one offered to him that is PCGS

die # 2 MS-65 Red. I told him about the ones you have for sale and wanted

him to be sure it was die #1 because that is the big one, I thought. He

said the one he is being offered is die #2 and it's supposed to be even

rarer. I just don't know. He will not buy anything that's not PCGS. Let

me know what you think about these two varieties in regard to value /




Hi Ben,

Both the 1936 DDO#1 and DDO#2 are rare in Mint State. Cherrypickers' Guide rates the Die#1 as a URS-8 and the Die#2 as URS-7 or simply put -- Die#2 as being approximately twice as rare as the Die#1. On the other hand, I have handled more of the Die#2 than Die#1 indicating to me that Die#2 may actually be more common than CPG indicates. No matter which assessment is correct -- Die#1 is clearly more desirable since the doubling is just as strong on the date as Die#2 and is significantly more prominent in the width of spread and area affected on LIBERTY & IN GOD WE TRUST. Rarity should (in my opinion) be considered a secondary consideration since demand and prominence is far more important. In this case however, both varieties are of near equal significance and either would be a great addition to a collection. Finding a Die#1 or Die#2 is MS65 Red is very difficult so if the intention is to eventually own both, then I'd grab the PCGS coin while it's available. Die#1 is, however, considered the best and is the "Red Book" variety. If having the "best" most desirable variety is the goal then I'd pass on the Die#2 no matter what the grade -- as it will always be "second best."

I hope that answers your question.


5) I'm sorry this newsletter is so short -- it was the best I could do under my current time restraints.

Sincerely yours,
Ken Potter

To view lists of Bars-Medal-Rounds, etc., Rare-Coin-Reproductions, an Educational Image Gallery (and other features), visit my main site here:

Ken Potter

P.O. Box 760232

Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232

(313)255-8907 FAX (313)255-0144 E-mail:

Numismatist Since 1959 Serving the Collector Since 1973


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