The Presidential Dollar series has generated a number of unique error types. Many of these are the direct result of problems applying the edge lettering to the coins. The Mint uses a special two step minting process that leaves plenty of room for error.
This page will explore some of the error coins that have occurred that are unique to the Presidential Dollar series.
Edge Lettering Inscriptions
The Edge inscriptions on Presidential Dollars contain the date, mint mark, the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” and the motto “In God We Trust.” After some public controversy, the latter motto was moved to the obverse of the coin starting in 2009, however the remaining elements remained on the edge of the coins.
The minting process for Presidential Dollars struck for circulation occurs in two steps. In the first step, blanks are fed into a coining machine. This machine strikes both sides of the coin and dispenses them into a large bin. Next, coins from the bin are fed into an edge-incusing machine, which produces the edge inscriptions. Find more information on Presidential Dollar Edge Lettering.
Upside Down Lettering
As a result of the minting process described above, edge lettering occurs without regards to the heads-tails orientation of the coin. As such, so-called upside down lettering is not an error. Statistically 50% of Presidential Dollars should have edge lettering heads-side up and 50% should have edge lettering tails side up. Third party grading service PCGS designates edge lettering as “Position A” or “Position B”. Some collectors will seek one example for each position.
Proof coins are struck using a different process than non-proof strikes. The edge lettering is actually applied when each coin is struck by using a three piece collar. As a result, the edge lettering on proof coins should always appear heads-side up and in the same location on the circumference of the coin. Proof Presidential Dollar coins with upside down lettering would be considered errors.
Missing Edge Lettering
One of the first new error types to surface for the Presidential Dollar series was the “Missing Edge Lettering” Error Coin. This are also sometimes referred to as “Smooth Edge Dollars.”
This error occurs when coins do not reach the second step of the two step minting process. You will recall that the first step strikes the obverse and reverse designs of the coin and the second stage produces the edge lettering.
The error is most commonly found on George Washington Presidential Dollars. An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 were released into circulation. The error occurred less commonly on John Adams Dollars. For the next following issues the error became even less common as the US Mint modified their production procedures.
Doubled Lettering Presidential Dollars
Another early error discovery was the “Doubled Edge Lettering” Error Coin. This error may also occur with “Inverted Doubled Edge Lettering.”
This error occurs when coins go through the second step of the minting process twice. As a result, the coins will display two sets of edge lettering, or double edge lettering. If the coin goes through the edge-incusing machine heads-side up and then tails-side up, the two sets of lettering would occur in two directions, or inverted.
This error is more commonly found on John Adams Presidential Dollars and less commonly on George Washington Presidential Dollars.
Lettered Blank Planchet
A final new error type began to surface in 2007. This error is the lettered blank planchet.
This type of error occurs when a blank is not struck in the first step of the minting process, but goes through the edge-incusing machine in the second step. This will result in blank planchets with lettered edges.
The errors have surfaced sporadically since the launch of the Presidential Dollar series in 2007. So far, this seems to be the scarcest and most valuable of the new Presidential Dollar Error Types.