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Some Mistakes Were Made

Some Mistakes Were Made

“Possibly there is some mistake.”

– The Adventure of the Creeping Man”

During the process of striking several thousand coins for circulation, it is quite likely that few error coins will slip through. One of the most common errors to be found are incomplete planchet errors, more commonly known as “clips.”

Hypothetical metal strip, showing different kinds of incomplete planchet errors –

As the above illustration shows, there are several different styles of clipping errors. While a sheet of metal is being fed into a machine to punch planchets out, for future striking as coins, it may be misfed or jammed and allowing for these clipped planchets to be struck. Curved clipped coins are the most common to be found. The larger the missing portion of the coin, the more valuable that error coin is.  Likewise, a multiple-clipped coin is more valuable than a single clipped coin.

At the top of this post, we have an example of a single, curved clip on one of the 2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 pence coins. The clip is located at 2 o’lock if we were to divide the coin into 12 sections, like a clock face. Generally, this would be done on the obverse of a coin, rather than the reverse.

As we mentioned earlier, the more metal missing and the larger number of clips make the error more valuable. To date, we have come across only three of these errors. The coin pictured above is the only single-clip error we have come across.

Now, we are showing two different examples of triple clipped coins.  Above, we have curved clips at 12 o’clock, 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock. Below, is a coin clipped at 3 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

Considering the huge number of coins that were struck, the Royal Mint has done a fantastic job of qualtiy control in having so few errors make it into circulation. It is unlikely that we will come across any errors from the proof or special metal varieties, as those generally have a more stringent quality control process.

We would be delighted to learn to learn of any additional error coins that you may come across.  After these clipped coins, the most common error would be offcenter coins, where the planchet was not fully between the two dies while being struck. Let us know what you come across!

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