1981-P Lincoln Cent Obverse Die
Struck on the Obverse of a 1981 Kennedy Half Dollar

Gem Uncirculated

obv rev

This is an extremely dramatic, fascinating and unique double denomination 1981-P Kennedy Half that was overstruck with the obverse die used to strike 1981 Lincoln cents.

There are a handful known of state quarters and Sacagawea dollars which were overstruck by the obverse and reverse dies used to strike Lincoln cents in 2000. The State quarters and Sacagawea dollars that were overstruck by Lincoln cent dies have sold as high as $35,000.

This is the only known Kennedy Half struck by an obverse Lincoln cent die. I purchased this in 2000 from Henry Hilgard and immediately sold it to a customer. It has subsequently traded hands several times and stands alone as a unique mint error.




Intentional Errors

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.