​Build an Enjoyable, Challenging, and Affordable Error Collection

​Build an Enjoyable, Challenging, and Affordable Error Collection

Posted by Jon P. Sullivan on Sep 22nd 2023

There are many ways to collect mint errors, but 3 of the most important things to do is to pick one which you find enjoyable, challenging, and within your budget. If you do those three things, you will have a rewarding coin collecting experience, and enjoy it the more when you finally do complete it.

But what should you collect? Mint errors are one of the most creative types of coin collections that one can build, and there are so many ways to build a set. A collector can do a more traditional approach, such as a “date and mintmark” collection of an error type. An example of this would be a collection of Lincoln cents struck on dime planchets by date.

Another example would be doing a short set of off-metals of the WWII era 1939-1945. A collection of this era offers a large historical backdrop to the coins, and also is challenging to collect. It would be unusual as well, presenting some unique collecting opportunities since there are some design and metal changes on some U.S. coins for that era (1943 steel cents, wartime design/metal 5c, etc.)

Other collectors can build a collection of a particular error type, such as mirror brockages. A collection of this error type could be pursued by seeking a coin for each U.S. coin design (a great challenge!), with an example of a mirror brockage for a 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c, etc. Mirror brockages are generally rare, so finding just one example for each coin series would be challenging, but would be largely achievable as long as gold and most silver issues were excluded.

Another creative way is to build a collection, with the requirement being that any coin has to have at least two different major errors on it. You could then collect one for each date of a particular coin series. For example, collecting Jefferson nickels from 1938-present, with each date represented by a coin with two different errors on it, such as an off-center with a clip, or a off-metal with a indent. This is a really fun way to build a collection, and challenging. The variation in the coins will make for a most interesting set.

A popular way to collect is to just pick whatever looks interesting and dramatic. Many collectors like having the flexibility to buy a off-metal, then a double-strike, then an off-center…whatever catches their eye. This is perfectible acceptable to do, and makes for an interesting set.

Make sure that whatever you collect, it’s an error type or series you enjoy, so that you will have fun finding the coins and collecting them. Pick a collection that is challenging, at least a little bit. Without some challenge, most collectors would find it relatively boring to assemble and not enjoy the final, completed set when achieved. And last but not least, make sure you can afford the error collection you are trying to build. If your budget is $50 a month, doing an off-metal collection might not be for you, since the average off-metal is about $400, and a better option might be a collection of broadstruck Memorial cents (which would be challenging but affordable.)

If you need any help or feedback on how or what to collect, feel free to contact Jon at: