NGC certifies spectacular muling error of Statehood quarter and Sacagawea dollar

Posted on 8/19/2000

To the delight of coin collectors NGC has certified what error coin specialists are calling "the find of the millennium," a dollar muling error of a Statehood quarter obverse and a Sacagawea reverse. The coin surfaced in a roll of Sacagawea dollars purchased by a collector from his local bank in Arkansas.

Easily one of the most spectacular error coins produced by the United States Mint, this amazing specimen is without precedent among regular-issue coins. Struck on a brass-clad planchet intended for the Sacagawea dollar, this piece is actually a muling of the 50-states quarter dollar obverse, Philadelphia Mint, and the Sacagawea dollar reverse.

How such a glaring error could occur and then be released is unknown. According to NGC's in-house mint error specialist Dave Camire, "This coin marks a historic 'first' for the coin hobby. To the best of my knowledge, at no time in the history of the U.S. Mint has a circulating coin been found, struck from the dies of two different denominations."

The obverse, or front of the coin, has the characteristic QUARTER DOLLAR of the Washington quarter design. The reverse of the coin bears the inscription ONE DOLLAR from the Sacagawea design. The obverse die is fresh and semi-prooflike, while the reverse die is noticeably worn, with frosty luster and a prominent crack from its border through letter F in the word OF to the eagle's wingtip.

The owner of the coin, who only began to collect these coins recently, recognized that he had found a significant error and quickly submitted it to NGC, the coin industry's leading impartial and independent certification firm. The grading experts at NGC authenticated and graded the coin Mint State 66, on a scale of one-to-70.


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND



Dollar Muling of Washington Quarter Obverse with Sacagawea Reverse

THIS SPECIMEN: Easily one of the most spectacular error coins produced by the United States Mint, this amazing specimen is without precedent among regular-issue coins. Struck on a brass-clad planchet intended for the Sacagawea Dollar, this piece is actually a muling of the 50-states quarter dollar obverse, Philadelphia Mint, and the Sacagawea Dollar reverse. How such a glaring error could occur and then be released is unknown. The obverse die is fresh and semi-prooflike, while the reverse die is noticeably worn, with frosty luster and a prominent crack from its border through letter (O)F to the eagle's wingtip.

The 21st Century is an exciting time for collectors of United States coins. After years of decrying the lack of variety in our current coinage, things are sure happening fast! 1999 saw the launching of a ten-year program honoring each of the fifty states with a circulating commemorative quarter. That same year a coin from America's recent past made a surprising comeback when the United States Mint struck a new press run of Susan B. Anthony Dollars-nearly twenty years after the last production of this coin! Finally, collectors greeted the new gold-colored Sacagawea Dollar, heralded as a promising successor to the ill-fated Anthony Dollar.

For the first time in many years, Americans are searching their pocket change for collectable coins. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited issues are the 50-states quarters, of which five new designs are being released each year from 1999 through 2008. This program began with passage on October 20, 1996 of the United States Commemorative Quarter Act. This provided for a feasibility study of a program recognizing each of the fifty states with a circulating quarter. Encouraged by the results of an independent study by a nationwide marketing firm, Congress gave the green light to this unprecedented coin series, and it was signed into law by President Clinton.

The program calls for each state to be celebrated with a unique reverse design for the Washington Quarter. The obverse of the quarter will remain the same for each state's coin, while most of the statutory inscriptions have been relocated to this side to make more room for the commemorative design on the reverse. It's anticipated that coining of the regular Washington type, with its heraldic eagle reverse, will resume at the program's conclusion in 2009. For the time being, however, the modified obverse bears the initials of both the original sculptor, John Flanagan (JF) and the U. S. Mint sculptor/engraver responsible for revising it, William Cousins (WC).

Each state is being recognized on the quarter in the order in which it was admitted to the Union. Naturally, the original thirteen American colonies will be the first to be honored, while the remaining state quarters will unfold over the ten-year run of the program. The mints at Philadelphia (mintmark 'P') and Denver ('D') are striking copper-nickel-clad quarters for general circulation, while the San Francisco Mint ('S') is coining proof specimens for collectors in both the clad composition and the historic alloy of 90% silver and 10% copper used formerly until 1965.

Collectors are also abuzz over the new gold-colored dollar coin, which debuted in 2000. Authorized by Public Law 105-124, the "United States Dollar Coin Act of 1997," the new coin was specifically required to have "tactile and visual features . . . that make the coin discernible, and distinctive so as not to be confused with the quarter . . ." Indeed, it was a resemblance to the quarter that caused widespread rejection of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar twenty years earlier. Congress and the U. S. Mint were determined not to make the same mistake with this new coin.

Since the gold-colored dollar was not scheduled for release until March of 2000, the Mint was faced with a bit of a problem. The existing stockpile of Anthony Dollars, all of which were dated 1979 and 1980, was dwindling at the same time as demand from the nation's post offices and transit companies seemed to be rising. These businesses were the main, and perhaps, only users of dollar coins, and it appeared that existing supplies would not last until the arrival of the new type. A stopgap solution was arrived at late in 1999, one that had coin collectors in amazement. After a lapse of nearly twenty years, the mints at Philadelphia and Denver resumed production of the Anthony Dollar! (The 1981 edition, previously the last date coined, was produced exclusively for collectors). Millions of pieces were struck at year's end to meet whatever demand may have arisen in the months before arrival of the gold-colored dollar. In a bid to collectors, proofs of the 1999 Anthony Dollar were coined at the Philadelphia Mint. All of these coins bore the designs created by former U. S. Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro, whose initials FG may be seen on either side. The obverse depicts women's rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony, while the reverse is an adaptation of the Apollo XI insignia, with its eagle-on-the-moon them.

In the meantime, a design had been selected for the new dollar coin. It was to depict on its obverse a portrait of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone woman who acted as a guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06. As seen on the coin, she is looking back over her shoulder at the viewer. Also portrayed is the infant Jean Baptiste, her son by French-Canadian fur trapper Toussaint Charbonneau.

The Sacagawea Dollar, as this coin has come to be known, was designed on its obverse by sculptor Glenna Goodacre, whose initials GG appear within Sacagawea's shawl. The reverse of the new dollar depicts a handsome American eagle soaring amidst seventeen stars representing the number of states at the time of the Lewis and Clark exploration. It is the work of U. S. Mint Sculptor/Engraver Thomas D. Rogers, Sr., and his initials TDR appear to the right of the eagle's tail.

Both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints are striking the Sacagawea Dollar for general circulation, while it is anticipated that proofs of this coin will be made at the San Francisco Mint later in 2000. Though the U. S. Mint had not intended to issue the circulating coins until March of that year, the great interest shown in them prompted an innovative distribution program that was launched in mid-January. The initial delivery of Sacagawea Dollars was made to the nationwide chain of Wal-Mart stores, the retailer agreeing to furnish the coins to anyone seeking them, as well as issuing them in change for purchases. A more general distribution was made shortly thereafter through the conventional channels of the Federal Reserve banks.

The confluence of so many new coin issues in such a short time has been a taxing ordeal for the United States Mint. Under such circumstances, it's not surprising that the number and complexity of errors has risen. Some truly spectacular mistakes have been produced and released to the delight of coin collectors. With so much attention already focused on these new coin types, enthusiasm for both the normal issues and the errors is at an all-time high for the hobby of coin collecting.


SPECIFICATIONS


CLAD QUARTERS

Diameter: 24.3 millimeters
Weight: 5.67 grams
Composition: .750 copper, .250 nickel bonded to a pure copper core
Edge: Reeded

SILVER QUARTERS

Diameter: 24.3 millimeters
Weight: 6.25 grams
Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper
Edge: Reeded
Net Weight: .18084 ounce pure silver

ANTHONY DOLLAR

Diameter: 26.5 millimeters
Weight: 8.1 grams
Composition: .750 copper, .250 nickel bonded to a pure copper core
Edge: Reeded


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