Gold, silver sink on fund sales
By JOANN LOVIGLIO, Associated Press Writer
AP - Wed Mar 7, 11:43 AM ET
In this undated photo released by Professional Coin Grading Service, a George Washington dollar coin missing the edge inscription is shown. An unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins were struck without their edge inscriptions, including 'In God We Trust,' and made it past inspectors and into circulation, the U.S. Mint said Wednesday, March 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Professional Coin Grading Service)
PHILADELPHIA - An
unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins
were mistakenly struck without their edge inscriptions,
including "In God We Trust," and are fetching
around $50 apiece online.
The properly struck dollar coins, bearing the likeness
of the nation's first president, are inscribed along
the edge with "In God We Trust," "E
Pluribus Unum" and the year and mint mark. They
made it past inspectors and went into circulation
The U.S. Mint struck 300 million of the coins, which
are golden in color and slightly larger and thicker
than a quarter. About half were
made in Philadelphia and the rest in Denver. So far
the mint has only received reports of error coins
coming from Philadelphia, mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey
Bailey said it was unknown how many coins lacked the
inscriptions. Ron Guth, president of Professional
Coin Grading Service, one of the world's largest coin
authentication companies, said he believes that at
least 50,000 error coins were put in circulation.
"The first one sold for $600 before everyone
knew how common they actually were," he said.
"They're going for around $40 to $60 on eBay
now, and they'll probably settle in the $50 range."
Production of the presidential dollar entails a "new,
complex, high-volume manufacturing system" that
the mint will adjust to eliminate any future defects,
the mint said in a statement.
"We take this matter seriously.
We also consider quality control a high priority.
The agency is looking into the matter to determine
a possible cause in the manufacturing process,"
the statement said.
said it appeared from the roughly 50 smooth-edge dollars
he has authenticated that the problem had to do with
quality control rather than a mechanical error.
"These coins are struck like normal coins, then
they go through another machine that adds edge lettering
in another process. These apparently skipped that
process," he said. "We've seen a couple
of instances where the edge lettering may be weak
or indistinct, but we're not talking about that here."
The coin's design
has already spurred e-mail conspiracy theories claiming
that the religious motto was purposely omitted. That
rumor may have started because the edge lettering
cannot be seen in head-on photographs of the coin.
It is the first U.S. coin to have words stamped around
the edge since the storied 1933 $20 gold "double
eagle," among the rarest and most valuable in
the world. In 2002, a 1933 double eagle was sold for
$7.59 million — the highest price ever paid
for a coin.
The Washington dollars are the
first in a series of presidential coins slated to
run until 2016. After Washington, the presidents to
be honored on dollar coins this year will be John
Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
The 215-year-old Philadelphia
mint, located downtown on Independence Mall, employs
about 500 people and last year produced about 7.8
billion coins. The overwhelming majority of error
coins are caught by inspectors and melted down.
Bailey said the striking of the Adams coin, expected
to roll out in mid-May, will proceed as planned.
"We are adjusting the manufacturing
process to try to eliminate the problems," she