(1973)-S Proof Ike Dollar
Double Struck on Cent Planchet
NGC PF 65 RB
1 of 2 Known
This is one of the most spectacular Proof Ike Dollar Mint Errors known today. Not only is it a spectacular double struck, it is also struck on a copper cent planchet weighing 3.1 grams and is one of two known.
This proof mint error is the ultimate modern major mint error on the highest denomination and has survived 50 years in amazing quality and preservation. It has deep mirror surfaces with virtually all of the original red showing. The obverse shows 2 portraits with the date from the first strike and the reverse shows part of the eagle from the first strike as well as other details. This proof major mint error belongs in a collection of Eisenhower Dollars or major mint errors.
Proof coins are struck by technicians who hand feed the blanks into special presses. They are produced, examined and packaged using extreme quality control. It is very unusual to find major proof errors. A few broadstrikes, off-centers, double strikes (in collar) and off-metals have been known to be found in sealed proof sets. Proof errors are aggressively sought after by many error collectors.
One of the most controversial categories of U.S. coins are mint errors. Many dealers and collectors, as well as coin auction houses, buy, sell, trade and auction many rare, exotic and unique major mint errors. Obviously, some of these defy logic and were intentionally created and taken out of the Mint.
In the early 2000's, a group of several hundred U.S. error coins were found in a safe-deposit box. Fred Weinberg purchased this group which included coins struck for proof sets and also coins struck for circulation. This group was auctioned by the California State Controller's Office of Unclaimed Property. The U.S. Secret Service inspected and released this collection to the State of California determining that it was legal to own. The State of California then auctioned the collection and the rest is history.
Another example of U.S. error coins escaping the Mint occurred in the 1970's. A hoard of proof error coins were smuggled out of the San Francisco Mint inside the oil pans of forklifts that were being serviced outside of the Mint. This topic was discussed in the June 6, 2022 Issue of Coin World, which covered Fred Weinberg's account of this story. The Coin World Managing Editor concluded:
Obviously, the marketplace accepts these coins, and some collectors are happy paying thousands of dollars for coins that show every indication of having been created through illegal means.
In Episode 11 of the PCGS video series Slab Lab, Seth Chandler interviews Fred Weinberg. In part 2 of the interview, Fred explains in detail why mint errors that are decades old are not recovered by the U.S. Mint. Fred's recollection of conversations in his office with the Chief of the U.S. Mint Police are extremely insightful and explain why the Mint doesn't attempt to recover error coins from decades ago.