Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology.
A malformed piece produced at a mint. Mint error coins are those that are not perfect but which have been issued along with perfect, production run pieces. Any struck item which is an anomaly – and the number of things that can go wrong in coin and medal production is great – can be classed as a mint error. The term was formerly called freaks or fidos (for Freaks, Irregulars, Defects and Oddities); currently numismatic writers prefer mint error, error coins or even numismatic errors.
The many steps of planchet manufacture, striking and coining, all contribute to
the existence of malformed blundered, accidental, mistaken struck pieces. The list of
79 different blanking and striking anomaly terms are included in this encyclopedia. However, other anomalies exist other than striking errors. These include one design error, four modeling and editing errors, sixteen die anomalies and errors, six metal anomalies, eight casting anomalies, four metalworking and heat treating anomalies, and seven finishing anomalies. See Chart.
Mint error collecting. This area of numismatics was a creation of the later half of the 20th century. Misstruck pieces in previous generations of numismatists were not considered highly collectible. They were tolerated but not venerated as they are today. Perhaps these malformed items became of numismatic interest with the increased interest in varieties. In effect, perhaps, a mint error was also considered a variety (more accurately, a subvariety).
After 1950 with the widespread interest in coin collecting, studying coins became more and more directed to smaller and smaller areas of a coin. Minute variations became collectible. Diebreaks, for example, were studied with intense interest. Articles and pamphlets were published, collectors of these banned together and formed clubs, some very specialized (like the filled die of the word Liberty only on U.S. Lincoln cents). These aficionados even created their own terminology; cud, railroad rim, saddle strike and many of the terms found in the adjacent chart were born.
A major benefit of this activity was the interest these collectors took in mint technology to explain how many of these error coins were made. The terms of interest to these collectors which found acceptance in the numismatic field are found in this book.
To read the complete entry on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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