George writes: I recently aquired a set of Rhode Island ‘errors’. They were cheap and easy to obtain but came with this explanation of their errors. What does all of this mean?:
B.U. Rhode Island 2001 p/d error/variety coins
1) 2001-p,iii-c-5, dropped filling, ocean =st= ate
2) 2001-p, ii-e-2, small die break, obverse initials;
3) 2001-p, iii-g-6, outside polisheddiedoubling,ing=od= =we= t=rust=
4) 2001-p, iii-c-5, struck through a dropped filling, east side of the topsail/mainsail
5) 2001-p, ii-g-3, die scratch, aft sail;
6) 2001-d, iii-c-5, struck through a dropped filling, west of =in god we trust=
7) 2001-d, iii-g-6, outside polisheddiedoubling,oceans=ta=te;
8)2001-d, ii-g-3, die scratch, boat foresail;
9) 2001-d, ii-a-14,repunched,ordoubled,li=ber= ty,tr=ust=
10) 2001-d, iii-c-5, struck through a dropped filling, west side of the ship’s foresail.
Some of your description has to do with die varieties or minor “struck thrus”. A fairly good number of working dies are necessary to produce the half billion or so examples of each State Quarter design. I’m sure someone has cataloged observed varieties (these are the i.e “iii-g-6” designations). Minor varieties are not necessarily valuable but are of interest to those that collect coins by die varieties.
There are often foreign bits of metal or cloth that can fall onto the surface of a blank before it is struck. The area of the blank that is covered either doesn’t receive a complete impression or the foreign material is imbedded into the finished coin (for example,embedded staples are often seen in this type of error). Market demand rises with the most interesting or spectacular “struck through”.
Other minor varieties in your list have to do with die scratches, which can be an from an actual gouge in the surface of the die which creates a raised line on the coin or from light die scratches caused by deep polishing a die in its middle to late life. Late die state coins are not esthetically attractive to collectors unless something spectacular happens to the die. The 1922 plain cent and the 1937-D 3 legged Buffalo are examples of victims of severe die polishing that have captured the collector’s imagination.
Die Breaks are the result of actual cracks in the die. The die can crack from age or excessive striking pressure. Cracks appear as a jagged raised “blobby” line on a finished coin. If a broken piece falls out the die, resulting coins will have a raised mound of metal where the broken die is missing. This is known as a “Cud”.
Doubling is only of interest if it is the result of a improperly made die. Doubled dies are less likely with the Mint’s new technology. Most coins that show evidence of doubling are not from a doubled die but from the result of the coin moving when it is struck. This is the fault of a loose collar that holds the coin in place. This kind of doubling creates a shelf like effect on the doubled letters or devices not the distinct separated doubling that you would see from a doubled die. “Shelf doubled” coins are essentially unique in that no two coins “chatter” the same. When a loose collar is discovered by a Mint employee, a screwdriver repairs the problem.
You can get more basic information about errors and approximate market prices from the CoinSite “What’s It Worth?” feature.