Coins minted roughly 2,000 years ago by Celtic tribes in Britain's ancient past are unearthed every so often in the modern-day United Kingdom.
Sometimes they are found by professional archaeologists, but Celtic coins are just as frequently found by hobbyists with metal detectors.
A similar Celtic gold stater. Photo courtesy of Numisantica
CC BY-SA 3.0 NL
A rare variety of a Celtic gold coin will be auctioned in England next month. It was discovered by the latter method—a metal detectorist—and can be traced to the Iron Age around the turn of the first century C.E.
In addition to dating to approximately two millennia ago, this gold coin is especially exciting because it includes a very rare error. It is one of just eight Celtic gold stater coins known with this mistake. The first stater with this type of error was discovered by a British numismatist back in the 1880s.
According to reporting by Numismatic News, one of the coin's inscriptions bears a curious spelling mistake. The coin is supposed to read "RICON" or "RIGON" across the obverse, indicating one of the issuing ruler's regnal titles ("high king").
Instead, the inscription is misspelled as the recognizable English word "COIN" by coincidence.
Maybe you're not all that surprised that coins made during antiquity would sometimes have errors. (It's certainly the first time this author has ever heard about it.) Although minting methods were far cruder back then, a gold stater was worth a good deal of money and therefore would've received a fair amount of care and attention from whomever hammered out the coin.
More modern minting technology has ironically introduced a whole array of errors to coinage. Since quality control measures weed out a large portion of these problem coins, they are prized collectibles when someone manages to get their hands on one.
It's a shame—for rare error collectors, at least—that the U.S. Federal Reserve instituted a more stringent policy in 2017 of returning all the error coins it encounters to the United States Mint. Of course, some error coins still slip past employees at the twelve branch banks of the Fed from time to time.
One should expect that U.S. error coins will nonetheless become more rare going forward as a result of this new policy.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.