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I’m super excited to kick off our new series
about Presidential $1 Error Coins certified by NGC! Most of us coin
collectors have seen the Presidential $1 Coin Program before – four
U.S. Presidents are featured on the obverse of the circulating
dollar coins, with a new one released approximately every three
months in the order of their time in office. This series is
supposed to carry on until 2016.
I’m so excited about these new dollar coins!
They look and feel just like the Sacagawea dollars, but they have
something extra special. The edge of the coin is inscribed with
some of the standard U.S. coinage words, the date, and the
mintmark. This is a first for a U.S. coin! It’s a nice touch that
makes these coins stand out from the crowd.
This novel edge lettering is the source of many
of the error coins which have surfaced. The edge lettering is not
placed on the coins as they are struck, but in a separate
post-striking process. Struck coins are moved in large tote bins
from coin presses to edge lettering machines. Once moved, the coins
are run through an edge lettering machine. By design, the coins
enter the machine randomly so the placement of the lettering on the
edge as well as the orientation to the obverse and reverse is
entirely random. These variations therefore are not errorsI’m forced to go through the edge
die process, so there’s a chance that the inscriptions on my coins
could include improperly spaced edge lettering, partial or missing
edge lettering, or even doubled edge lettering if I’m unlucky
enough to run through twice. With such a huge amount of coins being
produced by this new minting process, it’s almost guaranteed that
all of these variations are out there.
I’ve noticed that there are many different
engravings on the edges of coins. It’s important to know that the
edge of a coin should have a certain look. I’ve counted up to a
dozen variations in the spacing and number of inscriptions. It’s
important to be aware of these differences when it comes to coin
E PLURIBUS UNUM • IN GOD WE TRUST
|Right: George Washington $1 Coin,
obverse with exploded view of edge lettering.Left:George Washington
$1 Coin, reverse with exploded view of edge lettering. Click
images to enlarge.
Two George Washington dollar coins, edge view,
showing opposite orientations of edge lettering.At left the edge is
read with obverse up, at right the edge lettering is properly
oriented with reverse facing up. Click to enlarge
A closed up view of date and mint mark on the
edge of the George Washington $1 Coin.Click to enlarge
Now here is a sampling of the George Washington
Dollar error coins that we have seen to date. The first group of
errors show improperly spaced edge letters and partial edge
letters. This occurs when the coins “slip” as they are run through
the edge lettering machine. In some cases these errors are
accompanied by Mint caused damage as the coins “slip” in the edge
die. Note that to be recognized by NGC
as Mint Error, the improper spacing must be significant and
Improperly spaced edge lettering. Note the wide
gap between TRUST and the date preceding the date.The mint mark
overlaps the start of E PLURIBUS UNUM. Click to
Improperly spaced edge lettering. Note the
irregular gaps between legends.Click to enlarge
Partial edge lettering. The motto IN GOD WE
TRUST is missing.Click to enlarge
Partial edge lettering. E PLURIBUS UNUM is
missing.Click to enlarge
Partial edge lettering. IN GOD WE TRUST and UNUM
missing.Click to enlarge
Partial Edge lettering. Several portions of the
edge legends are missing, and mint caused damage is
evident.Click to enlarge
I recently came across a batch of coins that had
skipped the edge lettering step. It was only after inspecting the
coins that I noticed the blank edge, which NGC refers to as MISSING
EDGE LETTERING. It turns out that many thousands of George
Washington gold coins were released without the edge lettering. So,
if you ever come across coins without the lettering around the
edge, you’ll know that it was most likely due to this misstep in
the production process.
|Left: Missing Edge Lettering, obverse
with exploded edge view.Right:Missing Edge Lettering, reverse with
exploded edge view. Click images to enlarge.
Please be aware that since all of these error
coins currently have a numismatic value greater than the face
amount on the coins, “alterations” made to deceive collectors are
being made. For more information about edge alterations please
refer to the article Altered Washington Dollars Surface posted on
the NGC website.
I’ve noticed some errors on the Washington
dollars that are similar to the Sacagawea errors. Planchets with
missing clad layers are thinner than normal coins and the design
appears to be weak along the edge. These errors make a huge
contrast between the copper centre that’s exposed and the ‘golden’
side of the coin. Here’re some photos of missing clad layer
Obverse missing clad layer. Click to
Reverse missing clad layer. Click to
I can alter a Presidential $1 Coin to make it
look like it’s missing a clad layer by plating it with copper. This
will make it heavier than the Mint’s tolerance, so a weight test
will be able to tell if the coin has been altered.
I’ve heard of planchets picking up a coating if
they haven’t been annealed properly. It’s not an easy mistake to
spot, as it can be mistaken for toning coins. In reality, it’s all
down to the planchet being over heated, and this can lead to a
range of colours from black to copper red. It’s a common mistake,
but definitely one to watch out for.
|Left: Improperly annealed George
Washington $1, obverse.Right: Improperly annealed George Washington
$1 Coin, reverse. Click images to enlarge.
I’ve noticed that my coins can get dirty from
the presses that lubricate them with oil and grease. This can cause
a clog in the die, making the coins appear weak on the details. To
be considered by NGC, the missing detail has to be quite
significant. For example, take a look at Photo #7a and #7b.
Photo #7a: Obverse filled die. Click to
Photo #7b: Obverse filled die. Click to
I’m seeing an issue where the dies in the press
aren’t where they should be. It’s called “rotated dies” because
it’s impossible to tell if one or both of the dies moved. That’s
what you can see in Photo #8.
I can tell you from experience that the blanks
and planchets used for Presidential dollars are the same as those
used for Sacagawea’s. So when I receive them, I don’t make a
distinction between them. I label them all the same – (2000-2007)
$1 blank or planchet – no matter if they have edge lettering or
not. Take a look at the picture (Photo #9) if you need a
I recently discovered a unique type of error for
this series that I’m calling an edge lettered blank or planchet. I
got it certified by NGC, and it looks like this (Photo #10). They
also certified another version of the error that has weakly
lettered edges (Photo #11a., 11b.).
Photo #8: Rotated dies. Click to
Photo #9: (2000-2007) $1 planchet. Click to
Photo #10: Lettered edge planchet from Denver.
Click to enlarge
Photo #11a: Weakly lettered edge planchet.
Click to enlarge
Photo #11b: Weakly lettered edge planchet, top,
compared with regular edge lettering on bottom. Click to
I’ve come across clipped planchets on coins, but
they’re much less frequent on dollar coins. Curved clips on George
Washington’s one dollar coins are particularly rare. What’s
interesting is that there’s no lettering not just where the clip
is, but also in the area across from it – the Blakesley effect
area. This is because the clip doesn’t provide enough pressure to
transfer the lettering from the edging die.
Photo #12a: 5% curved clip, obverse with
exploded edge view. Click to enlarge
Photo #12b: 5% curved clip, a close up of the
clipped arc. Note how the metal on the letters ‘NGT’ flows toward
the clipped area. Click to enlarge
I’m lucky enough to own this extremely rare
George Washington gold dollar! It contains two errors – neither the
reverse clad layer nor the edge lettering machine were present.
It’s incredible to think such a valuable coin could’ve been made
without those components. People love collecting rare coins, and
this one is sure to be a special addition to any collection.
Photo #13a: Missing reverse clad layer and
missing edge lettering, shown in NGC EdgeView ™ Holder. Click
Photo #13b: Missing reverse clad layer and
missing edge lettering, detail of the coin’s edge as seen in the
EdgeView ™ Holder. Click to enlarge
Another intriguing error in this series shows
doubled edge lettering. This occurs when a coin passes twice
through the edge lettering machine. Because this error appears to
occur more frequently on the John Adams $1 than the George
Washington $1 coin, detailed information can be found in our
article on the second coin in the series, the Adams $1.
Photo #14a: Obverse and edge view of a
Washington $1 with overlapping doubled edge lettering. Click to
Photo #14b: A close up of the edge showing two
sets of edge lettering. Here a portion of the date and mintmark,’07
P,’ are seen to overlap with ‘URIBU’ of E PLURIBUS UNUM. Click
Photo #14c: A second close up of the doubled
edge lettering. Click to enlarge
Stay tuned for updates and NGC articles on other
coins in this series.
Want to know how much is a George Washington
Dollar coin worth? See the coin’s value on NGC Price Guide.
Read more about $1 Error Coins>
Frequently asked questions
What is the value of 1 dollar coin George
The 1 dollar coin George Washington is worth 1
What year was the 1 dollar coin George
The 1 dollar coin George Washington was released
Where can I find the 1 dollar coin George
The 1 dollar coin George Washington can be found
in circulation, coin shops, and online.
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