10 Valuable Error Coins Proving That Weirdness Is Worth a Lot

A pile of old coins
Peter Gudella via Shutterstock

Minting coins isn't exactly an exact science. Even though most coins are perfect and uniform, small mistakes can result in error coins that are super valuable and totally fascinating. After all, we expect a quarter to look like a quarter, but what if it happens to be made out of gold? Or how about a penny that's got Lincoln's profile on one side but looks like a dime on the reverse?

Coin errors are a reminder that even though the US Mint has an incredibly strict quality control process and uses machines to make sure the coins are uniform, little mistakes can happen. Usually these are based on human error or even an intentional decision, and they add a really interesting element to coin collecting. Error coins are sometimes worth a lot, so if you see something weird in your pocket change, set it aside so you can take a closer look.

List of Valuable Coin Errors to Watch For

Coin errors are incredibly rare, so any time you see a coin that looks like it could be a mistake, take some time to give it an inspection. Not all error coins are worth big money, but some are worth six figures. This coin errors list includes the most valuable error coins sold in recent years.

Error Coin

Value

1900 Indian cent struck on a gold planchet

$141,000

1999 Lincoln cent muled with a Roosevelt dime

$138,000

1905 Indian cent struck on a gold planchet

$123,375

2001-D Lincoln cent muled with a Roosevelt dime

$114,000

"Clover Leaf" Eisenhower dollar struck on three dimes

$105,000

1970-S Washington quarter struck on 1998 $5 coin

$93,000

Sacagawea dollar muled with a statehood quarter

$88,125

1904 $20 Liberty double eagle struck off center

$79,313

1913 Buffalo nickel struck on a half eagle planchet

$78,000

1880-S Morgan dollar struck off center

$72,000

1900 Indian Cent Struck on a Gold Planchet

Front view of a gold 1900 Indian Cent
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Only three known examples of this coin error exist, but it's actually debatable whether it's a mistake or an intentional choice. The die for a 1900 Indian-head penny was used on a gold planchet, resulting in a pure gold penny. Because there are three, this may have been done on purpose, but no one knows for sure. Either way, they're some of the most valuable coins out there. The finest example of the three sold at auction for $141,000 in 2013.

A planchet is a coin blank or metal disk that can be struck with coin dies to create a coin. Many coin errors happen when the wrong planchet is used for the type of coin that's being stamped.

1999 Lincoln Cent Muled With a Roosevelt Dime

Unique 1999 Lincoln Cent Obverse Muled with a Roosevelt Dime Reverse
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Not all valuable coin errors are old. In fact, one of the error coins that's worth the most dates from 1999. On one side, it's a Lincoln penny, and other the other, it's a Roosevelt dime. This piece sold for $138,000 in 2006. One of the reasons this coin is so valuable is that quality control at the US Mint is very strict, and it's incredibly rare for a mistake like this to pass into circulation. One of the best parts of the story of this coin was that it was found by accident in a roll of pennies from a Pennsylvania bank.

Coins that are stamped with a standard die on one side and a die from a different design (or a different coin entirely) on the other are called "mules." Mules combining two different coin denominations are very rare and valuable.

1905 Indian Cent Struck on a Gold Planchet

Gold 1905 Indian Cent, Struck on a Quarter Eagle Planchet
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Like the 1900 example, a gold planchet somehow ended up being struck with the dies for a 1905 penny. There's only one of these known for the year 1905, so it's the rarest of the rare. In gem grade condition with no sign of circulation, this solid gold penny sold for $123,375 in 2015.

Related: 8 Most Valuable Indian Head Pennies & How to Spot Them

2001-D Lincoln Cent Muled With a Roosevelt Dime

2001-D Lincoln Cent, MS66 Red Muled with a Roosevelt Dime Reverse
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Another modern coin error that collectors prize, the 2001-D Lincoln cent mule is rare and worth a lot. There are four known examples of this mule, and it's believed they were probably all struck by mistake on the same day. In pristine condition, one sold for $114,000 in 2024.

"Clover Leaf" Eisenhower Dollar Struck on Three Dime Planchets

Undated Three-Piece "Clover Leaf" Eisenhower Dollar
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Technically, this weird coin error is actually three pieces, but together, they make a single Eisenhower dollar. Somehow, three dime planchets ended up being arranged together in a clover leaf shape and struck with the dies for an Eisenhower dollar. It dates to 1971 or 1972, but the date is incomplete. There's only one example known, and it sold for $105,000 in 2021.

1970-S Washington Quarter Overstruck on an 1898 Five Dollar Coin

1970-S 25C Washington Quarter
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Sometimes, an error doesn't involve the wrong planchet or two different dies being used. In the case of this ultra-rare example, a 1898 five dollar gold coin was used as a planchet for a proof 1970-S quarter. The gold coin is almost exactly the same size, so it fit perfectly. Beneath the surface of the quarter's design, you can see the details of the original gold coin. There's only one of these known, and it sold for $93,000 in 2023.

Sacagawea Dollar Muled With a Statehood Washington Quarter

(2000)-P Sacagawea Dollar
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

A planchet for a Sacagawea dollar and the "tails" side of that coin were stamped with the profile of George Washington on the "heads" side. Although it doesn't have a date stamped on it, it probably dates to 2000. 11 of these mules exist, and the US Mint has confirmed they are genuine. They are highly prized by collectors, and one sold for $88,125 in 2013.

Related: 7 Most Valuable Sacagawea Dollars & Coin Collecting Tips

1904 $20 Liberty Double Eagle Struck Off Center

1904 $20 Liberty Double Eagle Struck Off Center
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

One of the greatest coin errors isn't even a mule or a planchet error is a die that struck the planchet off center. The 1904 $20 double eagle gold coin features Lady Liberty in profile surrounded by stars, but instead of being perfectly centered, one minting error resulted in both the "heads" and "tails" sides of the coin skewed to one side of the planchet. Only a handful of off-center gold coins exist, and this one fetched $79,313 at auction in 2014.

1913 Buffalo Nickel Struck on a Half Eagle Planchet

1913 5C Type Two Buffalo Nickel
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

The buffalo nickel is an icon of US coin history, and it's always silver in color. Make that almost always. Back in 1913, a five-dollar piece of gold like the half eagle was more than most people would make in a day, and yet one of these gold planchets somehow ended up being stamped with the dies for the buffalo nickel. There's only one example of this coin error known, and it sold for $78,000 in 2021.

1880-S Morgan Dollar Struck Off Center

1880's $1 Morgan Dollar Struck 40% Off Center
Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Like the 1904 double eagle, an off-center strike is what makes the 1880-S Morgan dollar unique. This strike is way, way off center - 40%, in fact. You can see the blank planchet on a large section of the coin. While Morgan dollars that are off center have been seen before, this is the most significantly skewed stamp known. It sold for $72,000 in 2022.

Tips for Spotting Coin Errors

Remember that 1999 Lincoln cent and Roosevelt dime mule that someone found in a roll of pennies from the bank? Error coins are out there in circulation in the real world. While you might not find one worth six figures, it's always worth keeping an eye out for any kind of strangeness in your pocket change. These tips can help:

  • Look for odd colors. If your penny isn't copper colored or your dime isn't silver in tone, take a closer look.

  • Watch for doubled writing. A lot of coin errors involve a doubled die where the coin is struck twice. This can make an echo of the design, which is often easiest to see on the letters and numbers.

  • Check both sides. Mules are rare, but they're not impossible. Take a look at both sides of a coin to make sure they match.

  • See if it's centered. Off-center strikes can be valuable, especially if it's an extreme error.

Be the Person to Find an Error Coin

Ultimately, anything unusual in the appearance of a coin could be the result of a minting error. Not all coin errors are worth thousands, but some are valuable. Even better, error coins are just fun to study, and everyone wants to be the person to find one.