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What Are Mint Error Coins?

Mint error coins feature errors made during the minting process. It is worth noting there are both intended and unintended varieties on coins. The unintended varieties are known as error coins. There are several varieties of errors known to numismatists but that does not mean the coin is any less valuable. Mint error coins are important to the world of coin collecting. Some mint errors are more noticeable than others, but in terms of circulation, these coins are rare coins. In any case, error coins draw attention from collectors and non-collectors alike.

Errors happen for many reasons, from equipment malfunction to failed quality-assurance checks, but there is an ongoing discussion among numismatists that the mint may intentionally produce error coins. 

Does the Mint Intentionally Make Errors on Coins to Illicit Coin Collecting Interest?

In a world of conspiracy theories, it is easy to get caught up in the most intriguing ones. Among these is the theory that various mints intentionally product error coins to illicit increased collecting. While interesting, there must be some things to consider:

  1. Why would the mint want to be considered an entity that makes errors? In the name of public relations, constant production of errors would make the mint look bad. On top of that, these days the social media world would be unkind to any such product that affects the public. 
  2. The mint produces very few errors a year. With more than 15 billion coins produced last year by the U.S. Mint, approximately 50,000 error coins were produced. Those numbers are not standard from year to year. Every year, the numbers will change but the proportions of errors are still minuscule. (About Coins)
  3. The numismatic world is larger than you think. Coin collecting has become stronger over the years, but whether or not some of that is a result of the mint producing error coins is difficult to justify. 
  4. What incentive does the mint have to illicit coin collecting interests? The incentive is the key for all conspiracy theories and, to date, the incentive factor for creating error coins has yet to be uncovered.  

It is fun to theorize about such things, but there is no empirical data to back up the idea that the mint produces error coins intentionally. This conspiracy theory will be one to enjoy talking about for years to come. Until then, keep collecting coins, error or not. It is a good way for people to look into history. 

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