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Beginner’s Corner: The Differences Between Errors and Varieties

Beginner’s Corner: The Differences Between Errors and Varieties
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Posted: 03-25-2015 10:00:00 AM

Exploring the differences between "error," "variety," and "die variety" coins. 

Many people use the terms “error” and “variety” interchangeably with each other, but this is incorrect. The two are very different terms, and are joined by the term “die variety.” Knowing the differences between these three terms is extremely important when it comes to collecting as there are many people who will collect one, but not all of the aforementioned coins.


An error is a coin that makes it through the minting process that shouldn't have. During the striking phase of the minting process, the die or planchet was somehow impacted in a way that it should not have been. Any Mint can make errors when minting coins. Some types of errors include: wrong metal coins, brockages, broadstruck coins, clipped planchets, split planchets and broken dies. 


A coin that was struck with a die that was manufactured with something different is referred to as a variety. Usualy the something different is something very small and insignificant to the average person. Sometimes the difference is intentional and not meant to be noticed and sometimes it is by mistake. Some examples of varieties are differing mint mark styles and large date and small date coins. 

Die Varieties

A die variety is a coin that was struck with a die that had a flaw in its design. This flaw should have been noticed before being used to mint coins, but for whatever reason it wasn't. Die varieties include double dies, re-punched mint marks, over mint marks, re-punched dates and over-dates. 

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About The Author

Kelsey Kay Howard Kelsey graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a B.A. in mass communications. She is new to the world of numismatics, but as the Marketing Specialist for MCM is dedicated to learning all there is to know.

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