Errors and Varieties

General discussions on the canadian coins errors and varieties.
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Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:56 pm

Errors and Varieties

Postby lara4228 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:23 pm

I enjoy this website but I feel this forum could use some more activity? Sorry to be a bummer, but usually forums have more answers that one post questions?

With that said, I do hope that mine will be answered to some degree.

How desirable are Canadian errors and varieties? While I understand that major errors would carry a larger premium than minor ones, but what about your "Die Shifting" and "Die Deteriorating" varieties? Are they just a classification to put imperfect coins or do they carry some sore of premium?

Also, where does one get such coins attributed and certified? Where would one sell certified or uncertified coins?

Thanks! I really do hope someone here can answer at some of my questions.


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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Errors and Varieties

Postby VancouverSilver » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:27 pm

I am in no way an expert, but what I have observed is that the numismatic society's desires are the most important thing. I find it strange that one error will be very sought after while another error, perhaps even rarer, will be non-desired. I haven't yet observed any patterns in details but the die crack variations seem to be in less demand than things like hanging 3's or extra water lines, double date stamps.

What I have observed (as a newbie so take it with a grain of salt) is the following:

1. scarcity (example - 1921 Canadian Nickel. Worth several thousand times face value as few are known)
2. Spacing/layouts (examples - far 6 vs near 6)
2. added or missing features (example - 1936 dot penny, NSF 1953, harp or guitar strings, dots etc, extra water lines)
3. Double dates stamps (example 1946/6 nickel)
4. Materials (Silver/gold being most valuable).

After this I am not really sure about die cracks, rotations, shifts, bug eyes etc.

This would be an interesting project to pursue if it has not been done already. For some errors and variations, if only a handful of people have them the interest from the general population seems rather limited since they won't find them anyways. On the other hand, if the variation is as common as the baseline, the added value is not there as everyone has one (example - 1947 maple leafs).

Perhaps one of the experts could chime in on this and correct me if I am wrong (highly likely).


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Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:56 pm

Re: Errors and Varieties

Postby lara4228 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:35 pm

Thank you Duane.

I just put a 08 caribou quarter under my scope and I noticed it has "accumulations" all over the obverse.

Would this be considered a coin worth keeping or one to throw back into circulation? I have found a few of these and have be tossing them back into circulation. Maybe I shouldn't be?

Is there any type of internet database on variety/error Canadian coins? I really enjoy this site but I find it lacks a lot of visual referencing for each type.

Any help would help me some.

Bill in Burl
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:41 am
Location: Golden Horseshoe, ONT

Re: Errors and Varieties

Postby Bill in Burl » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:05 am

Varieties and Errors are 2 different things .. and the definition of a "variety" means different things to different people. Most Canadian variety collectors use the definition of a "variety" that Hans Zoell (the 1960's variety guru) used in his books on Major and Minor Varieties. He considered a Major Variety to be a coin that was different but that was produced with good planchets, with good dies (as OK'd or would be by the mintmaster), and with machinery operating properly. As such, Zoell considered Major Varieties (and most modern collectors do as well for collectible varieties) to be coins with differences in obverse type, fonts, spacings, vertical positioning, repunches, re-engravings, etc. By that definition, most machine or mechanical doubling would not be considered a Major Variety, although most current collectors consider any doubling with an easily seen offseret to be very collectible.

Other coins that don't meet the die, machinery, or planchet criteria are considered Minor Varieties or errors. Minor varieties(some consider these all "errors") include die cracks, cuds, plugs, clashes, chips, die striations, rotated dies, filled dies, planchet flaws, plating errors, and the like. Most of these are not very collectible and seldom carry any sort of premium. In many cases, many would sell at a discount over a normal collectible one because it wasn't perfect. Collectors of MS coins don't want a plating chip or die crack on an otherwise pristine example.

I am a hard-core Victoria Large Cent collector. For me, I pretty well stay to Zoell's definition for a Major Variety as to what constitutes something that I want to keep. Any "variety" needs to be easily seen with the naked eye or (at max) under an 8X loupe. Die cracks don't constitute a variety nor do most of the "gotta have one of these" descriptions on Ebay. A few years ago, a group of variety and error collectors got together at the RCNA in Niagara Falls and formed an organization for this collecting niche. It started out fast, but then lost some steam, but I think that new life is coming back as Variety collecting is getting a second wind. Here is the link ..
and you would be most welcome to join. I know very little about modern varieties because, once they started with plated coins, the quality control at the mints was less than perfect and poorly made coins were out in abundance. I consider these modern "errors" to be a quality control problem and not collectible. I have over 5000 Vicky large cents and will stick to them .. those I know about.

There are a couple other sites that you may want to visit to get more info and discussion: ... ORUM_ID=32

I hope that this has helped you out. I would check into the CEVNA site if I were you .. there are some very valuable people on there who can help you .. likewise the Candiancoppercoin site .. which covers all Canadian coin denominations, paper and tokens. Good info, good folks.
Bill in Burl

Bill in Burl
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:41 am
Location: Golden Horseshoe, ONT

Re: Errors and Varieties

Postby Bill in Burl » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:18 am

Whoops! I posted the wrong subforum for CCF. Here is the one that you may want: ... RUM_ID=139
Bill in Burl

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Re: Errors and Varieties

Postby za75 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:05 pm

I think that we can find interesting errors in all types of error : as example, when a " Die crack " start on the rim and go near the center of the coin ( 50 % of diameter ), i think that such a coin is interesting :!:

In my point of view, the search of errors is very incentive for young collectors and for all collectors that state a drop of their interest in a " normal " collection of coins.
When i read some articles of Ken Potter, i think that more and more peoples think the same thing :D

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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:09 am

Re: Errors and Varieties

Postby rjd65 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:29 pm

I recently started organizing some of my collection. For my Victorian large cents I found myself being quite obsessed with die crack variations. In fact, I discovered some that were quite 'epic' in that they traversed a good portion of the coin. I think I find these interesting because my father was a Tool and Die maker and I worked at the company he worked at for a couple summers so I am thus drawn to details such as this. Bill if you are reading this can you explain the numbering system for die crack and other errors on this website. Where does it originate from? I understand the Zoell system but the system of numbers used on this site go into the thousands so I assume the gap in numbering for one denomination are due to varieties (whether major or minor) being assigned as they come up no matter what the denomination? Obviously there are many die cracks variations which have not yet been documented and although quite numerous they are nevertheless a finite number as there were only so many obverse and reverse dies used. With time and a suitable sample size one could conceivably document virtually all of them (IMO 90%). Anyway even though most collectors are not into this aspect of collecting I find die varieties extremely interesting. IMO. collectors who demand a MS coin to be as perfect as possible i.e no die cracks, are misguided. I would argue that a distinct die crack on a MS coin would add to its uniqueness and I for one would appreciate a coin such as this very much.
For the die varieties I have that are not depicted on this website, how would one go about declaring these and have them formally recognized with a number? Obviously a picture of the coin and die crack would have to be sent for consideration. Anyway, if enough die variety collectors were to provide info we could get to that 90% threshold in the not too distant future.
One final point, I have been able to discern specific dies and their degeneration with use. I have three 1881H large cents where the degeneration of one particular die is clearly apparent. VICTORIA gradually degrades to the missing lower part of the O and the broken or missing parts of the C and T as well. This obverse die was carried over to 1882H (unless of course another obverse die used in 1882 developed the same issue independently, which I am skeptical of) for a short time until they decided to repunch the O. One example of an 1882H that I have has a fully intact O that is bolder and clearly raised compared to the other letters in VICTORIA - with the C and T still compromised. Its all quite fascinating, but only the 'Tool and Die maker' geek in me allows me to appreciate it.
Ok, I'm done. Gone on a bit longer than I intended. RD

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