Variety vs. Mint Error

Posted on 7/8/2010

Is your coin a variety or a mint error?

Are you confused about varieties and mint errors? Are you unsure which varieties NGC recognizes? We will attempt to shed some light on the subject.

A variety is a coin that differs from its basic design type in some distinctive way and is thus differentiated by collectors.

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The 1960 D/D Sm/Lg Date 1C VP-001 is one such example of a variety. This coin was hubbed first with a large date design, then hubbed again with a small date design. Doubling mostly on the inside of date especially on “960.”

What types of varieties does NGC recognize?

  • All varieties listed in the VarietyPlus® Catalog (available online)
  • Most Cherrypicker varieties by FS numbers
  • Half cents by Cohen numbers
  • Large cents by Sheldon (1793-1814) and Newcomb (1816-57) numbers
  • Half dimes (1794-1837) by Logan-McCloskey numbers
  • Dimes (1796-1837) by John Reich numbers
  • Quarter dollars (1796-1838) by Browning numbers
  • Half dollars (1794-1836) by Overton numbers
  • Silver dollars (1794-1804) by Bowers-Borckardt and Bolender numbers
  • Selected silver dollars (1878-1935) by VAM numbers (limited to 8TF, 7/8TF, TOP-100 and HOT-50 varieties, as well as only those others listed on VarietyPlus.
  • Seated Liberty Dimes by Fortin numbers (Top 100 only).

For a comprehensive listing of varieties we recognize, visit Specific coin details are a benefit of a paid NGC Collectors Society membership.

To receive a variety attribution with uncertified coins being submitted for grading, simply choose VarietyPlus services on your submission form, fill in the column for that line with the type of variety you're seeking (Overton, VAM, VP, etc.) or, if known, the exact variety number.

Note: NGC does not attribute as varieties coins that display Strike Doubling, Abrasion Doubling, Die Deterioration Doubling, Master Die Doubling (doubling that is found on all coins produced from that master die), insignificant die chips, breaks or cracks, or any variety coin that falls under mint tolerances for doubling or normal die wear.

Mint Error
Coins with major mint errors as a result of human or mechanical error during manufacturing.

For the most part, mint error coins fall under one of three headings: Planchet, Die or Strike. However, some coins are the product of multiple errors. The following are some examples of error coins in these categories:

Planchet Errors

  • Clipped Planchet – An incomplete coin missing 10-25% or more of the metal.
  • Blank or Planchet – A blank of metal not struck with dies.
  • Wrong Planchet – A coin struck on a planchet intended for another denomination or of the wrong metal.

Die Errors

  • Defective Die – Coin has raised metal from a large die crack or small rim break. The unstruck area is commonly known as a cud.

Dies may be damaged in other ways, such as having some foreign matter compressed into their surfaces, like bits of wire or fibers.

Strike Errors

  • Multiple Strike – Coin has multiple images from being struck again off-center.
  • Off-center – Coin has been struck out of collar and incorrectly centered with part of the design missing.
  • Broadstrike – A coin struck outside of the retaining collar as a result of the collar jamming or otherwise failing to enclose the planchet.
  • Brockage – Mirror image of the design impressed on the opposite side of the same coin as a result of a coin adhering to the die face. Coins will be either two-headed or two-tailed.

NGC does not recognize as mint error coins those with minor die chips, breaks and rotations, etc., that fall within our interpretation of mint tolerance. The determination of what constitutes a mint error is at the discretion of NGC.

Hopefully, this information will clarify whether your coin is a variety or mint error.

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