Dallas, Texas: In the parlance of numismatists, a “mule” is “a coin or note with a mismatched obverse and reverse.” This may mean different types, different denominations, or even different countries. It is an exceptionally rare error, and specimens of this type are exceptionally prized by collectors.
“This incredible error, which hails from Part Two of the Bellaire Collection, somehow escaped the scrutiny of Mint employees,” said Greg Rohan, President of Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries. “We are uncertain how a Lincoln cent obverse die was paired with a Roosevelt dime reverse, but this coin proves that it happened.”
“Only a handful of U.S. mules are known to exist,” Rohan said. “This particular piece was widely publicized in Coin World and Numismatic News soon after its discovery. In the nearly 225-year history of U.S. coinage, with literally hundreds of billions of coins struck, the incredible rarity of the mule cannot be overstated.”
“The obverse is sharply struck on the figure of Lincoln and the date, although the opposing dime die, being slightly smaller than the cent planchet, caused minor peripheral weakness on the obverse,” Rohan continued. “In other words, nothing was behind the periphery of the cent die to force the expanding metal into the recesses. Naturally, the slightly smaller reverse dime die caused that side to be boldly struck.”
“Shortly after this phenomenon dropped from the mismatched dies,” Rohan added, “it was discovered in Erie, Pennsylvania by someone who found the coin in a roll of 1999 cents obtained from a local bank. The discoverer then sold the piece to Dempsey & Baxter, a local jewelry store. Dempsey & Baxter held onto the piece until the present consignor ‘made them an offer they couldn’t refuse’ in 2003. The consignor had hoped to surprise his father with the coin as a Christmas gift; however, his father unexpectedly died on October 2 of that year, several days before the coin was actually to be purchased. The consignor went ahead and bought the coin after his father’s death and kept it alongside his other double-denomination errors.”
“It has since been beautifully preserved,” Rohan said, “and has developed no spots or other distractions. The coin remains a solid Premium Gem MS66, with full mint Red. For the error specialist, this would be the centerpiece of an advanced collection. Error collectors will long remember the present coin and can only hope that someday it will again be publicly offered. This prize represents a unique opportunity. It is undoubtedly one of the most important highlights of this or any other numismatic auction.”
Included with this coin are copies of numerous articles from trade publications, local newspapers, and Internet news pieces, as well as a promo piece from Dempsey & Baxter that is signed by Jay W. Johnson, Mint Director when this piece was struck.
Heritage Auction Galleries will offer the 1999 1C Lincoln Cent obverse die muled with a Roosevelt Dime Reverse on a Lincoln Cent Planchet. MS66 Red PCGS in their upcoming Signature Auction, to be held April 26-29, 2006 as the official auctioneer of the Central States Numismatic Society’s 2006 Convention, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, located at 400 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio.
1999 1C Lincoln Cent obverse die muled with a Roosevelt Dime Reverse on a Lincoln Cent Planchet. MS66 Red PCGS
Images, descriptions, and prices realized from all of Heritage’s previous auctions are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website.
To reserve your copy of a catalog for any upcoming Heritage auction, please contact Nicole Jewell, c/o Heritage Auction Galleries, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219, or call 1-800-872-6467, ext. 272.