One of the "holy grails" for coin collectors are error coins. Finding an error is always exciting because these coins are inherently rare.
Spotting such an error requires a scrutinizing eye and exceptional attention to detail. The error itself is often extremely subtle. However, in one recent case, the experts lent a helping hand to a collector who submitted a coin for grading.
A Remarkable Discovery
When this collector sent his 1853 $10 Gold Eagle to Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) to have it graded, the submission was listed as a "common" version of the coin.
Obverse of another Liberty $5 half eagle
The Eagle was a gold coin with a $10 denomination that the United States Mint issued from 1795 to 1933. For much of that time, especially before the $20 Double Eagle was introduced in 1850, the Eagle was considered the standard U.S. coin for use in high-value transactions and as bank reserves.
Remember that PCGS is one of the two leading third-party grading services (along with NGC). These guys know their stuff, and they provide an invaluable service to the numismatic community.
With their keen eyes and wealth of experience, the PCGS graders realized that this $10 Eagle was no common coin. In fact, it was a rare overdate error, which is when the last digit in the year-date (e.g. the "3" in 1853) was actually struck on top of the previous year's date.
As mentioned above, these kinds of errors can be almost imperceptible to the untrained eye. You can view a close-up of the overstrike by following the link. The image is courtesy of CoinWeek and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG).
Not only is this a rare and unexpected discovery, but the coin has also received the highest grade ever (MS62) for an 1853/2 overdate variety of the $10 Eagle. This adds even more of a premium to the coin's value. The news was reported across the numismatic press this week, including CoinWeek.
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