Mot mint error coins for sell online are not mint errors at all. Search ebay for mint error coins and you will find thousands of auctions listed, but not all of these auctions are mint errors, and many are just common and minor errors not worth the price that collectors are paying for them. The 1893 Barber Dime, pictured left, is a prime example that’s not a mint error but is damaged, referred to as PMD (Post Mint Damage)

It’s also apparent that many of these auctions are listed by individuals who don’t know much about errors, the coin minting process, or just desire to make a fast buck from the collectors who don’t know the facts about mint errors.

Certain people see something different about a coin and instead of seeking help from an expert they list the coin for potential profit at ebay, even if the coin is not a mint error or is of such a minor error type that they’re too numerous to be worth more than face value.

Consider the 1893 Barber Dime, pictured left, a lot of people would think this was a mint error or wouldn’t be certain either way.

You shouldn’t fall into this category, seek the facts or buy a book on the subject before you buy or try to sell a possible mint error. One book I recommend, and this will save you money and a future bad sell, is the Official Price Guide To Mint Errors by Alan Herbert. Mr. Herbert is at the forefront of mint error knowledge and if you buy his book, read it from cover to cover, then I promise you it will save you money!

You can find The Official Price Guide To Mint Errors at ebay or at Amazon, and often buy it in used condition. It’s worth buying even if the cover is missing. I just can’t stress enough how important and helpful this book will be in your collecting and selling of mint errors.

Now since I got that rant out of the way I think it important to cover a few misconceptions about mint errors that are most often found when looking through ebay auctions.


The term “mis-struck” is a generalized word used to describe something different about a coin, but there’s no such thing as a mis-struck coin mint error. Furthermore I have seen mis-stamped when referring to a possible mint error, but there’s no such words in variety or mint error terminology. It’s much more complex to identify a mint error than just using a handy and generalized term.

Just to gain an idea of the different terms used to describe and catalogue each mint error, visit our Mint Error and Variety page If it’s a mint error then there’s a proper name and classification for it.

You should know these classifications for mint errors. Not only will it save you money, but it can also make you money. Here’s our guide to the US Minting process and it shows you where and when each mint error and variety occurs during the minting process.

Just think, the more you learn about mint errors, plus varieties, the more your eyes are opened and you start to see and realize true mint errors and varieties.  You will see things other people don’t and be able to buy errors and varieties at garage sales, flea markets and coin shows that for a decent deal because you knew more than the seller.

Errors And Varieties:

A variety is most often something different, either purposeful or accidental, to the coin die. It can be a doubled die, or the polishing off of a Buffalo Leg or a myriad of other things the mint employee or Chief Engraver has decided to change on a die, or something that accidentally happened and got past there’s quality control.

A mint error is a little more broad since it something that happens either during the planchet making process or during the striking of the planchet, or planchets. It’s become common to see pieces of metal being struck with a coin’s design being called mint errors. When something goes wrong during the striking of planchets or the creation of a planchet then it’s a mint error.

The high rate of speed the planchet fed into the coin chamber has created a huge amount of different errors to collect. Planchets can get jammed up and struck more than once, or they can be struck together, or something can get in the way and strike through the coins surface, a coin can get stuck on the die and and form a bottle cap shape and continue striking other planchets. The possibilities are near endless, but there’s a limit, and this is where most people get hung up, since they think every oddity is a mint error and has potential value.

Furthermore, there’s missing cladding issues and wrong planchet metal strikes and denominations struck on the wrong planchet and so forth. So you need the book I mentioned above and visit the pages I have linked to so far so you can identify mint errors. However don’t despair, it might be a bit overwhelming at first, but over-time it gets easier and easier to know what you’re looking at and how “that” happened to a coin.

Not All Varieties Are the Same:

Here’s another glaring problem I see at ebay. If you look in a price guide you will see a 1972 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln (DDO) Cent Memorial listed for several hundred dollars, but what most sellers don’t, or think you don’t, realize is that there’s several listed Doubled Die Obverse’s for the 1972 Lincoln Cent. It’s a fact that not all 1972 DDO Cents are worth several hundred dollars, and some are only worth a few dollars.

One look at coppercoins.com and you will see that within the variety classifications there’s actually attribution labels for each variety type.

We won’t get into this since it can cover volumes when considering the many different varieties among all coin types and denominations. I do encourage you to look over coppercoins.com listings just to get an idea of how many different varieties for each date and mint.

This brings us to another indispensable recommendation, buy both volumes of the Cherry Pickers Guide, the money you spend on the books I recommended will more than pay for themselves, and often with your first passed-on purchase since with this knowledge you knew better than to buy the coin.

Value Problems:

This is a hot topic if there ever was one, some people who are fortunate to own a valuable mint error, but don’t know much if anything about the mint error market, and hope you don’t either, list the mint error with an over-the-top price then make all types of claims to defend how much they want for their coin.

I see this a lot with a denomination struck on the wrong planchet like a dime on a cent planchet or visa versa. It’s true that these errors sell for a lot of cash, but more in the range of a couple grand and not the five digit or more figures I have seen them listed for. The wrong planchet error is rare but the market doesn’t sustain an equal value for their rarity, let alone what some think they’re worth.

So if in doubt about a mint errors value then check out Heritage Coin Auctions Archived, Heritage provides ended auction archives for near every coin they’ve sold, mint errors included. It’s free to join and browse.

I know I didn’t cover everything, but there’s so much to consider when buying, collecting or selling mint errors and varieties that all can’t be covered in a single article. So if you have more questions then feel free to ask in a comment, or join our free forum and post your coin images and questions as much as you like, we never get tired of helping fellow collectors. CoinHELP! Coin Forum