"Reeding" Damage On Error Coins

Posted on 2/1/2006

This month we will look at "reeding damage" which is a very unusual form of damage. It is unusual in two ways.

Dave Camire

This month we will look at "reeding damage" which is a very unusual form of damage. It is unusual in two ways. First, it resembles the edge reeding of a coin, although it can be found on coins that seemingly should have plain edges. Second, it is most often found on error coins. For these reasons some collectors falsely assume that it is a mint-made attribute of the coin, as opposed to post-minting damage.

Photo 1 and Photo 2 show a Lincoln cent that was struck 30% off center. The front and back images look very similar to a normal off center coin. The only noticeable difference from this viewpoint is noted by the arrows. A further examination of the edge of the coin will reveal what the arrows are hinting.

Photo 3 and Photo 4 show close-up images of the coin's edge, revealing the apparent reeding. Since this coin is off-center, it must have been struck out of collar. It is therefore impossible for this coin to have been reeded at the time of minting.

So what is it? It is damage that was imparted onto the edge of the coin when it was being wrapped by a coin wrapping machine. The mechanism that is used to cut the plastic shrink-wrap between the rolls of coins exiting the machine has actually cut reed-shaped grooves into the coins edge. The damage occurred because this wrong-sized coin was forced through an opening that too small to accommodate it. Reeding damage is found on error coins because their abnormal shape makes them prone to this type of damage. Photo 5 and Photo 6 expose the damage done to the coin upon closer examination.

Click images for enlargement
Front of Damaged Lincoln Cent
Photo 1
Back of Damaged Lincoln Cent
Photo 2
Detail of Damaged Coin
Photo 3
Detail of Damaged Coin
Photo 4
Detail of Damaged Coin
Photo 5
Detail of Damaged Coin
Photo 6