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Major U.S. Coin Error Discovered
Quarter's Face Stamped On Sacagawea Dollar Believed To Be First Error Of Its Kind In Mint's 208 Years
Could Fetch $100,000 At Auction In August
MONTAIN HOME, Ark. AP / CBS
The quarter's Washington portrait is on this Sacagawea dollar. (CBS) A misprinted U.S. dollar coin could provide financial salvation for Frank Wallis of Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Just three weeks after he declared personal bankruptcy, Wallis purchased four rolls of the new Sacagawea "golden dollar" coins. However, instead of the Indian guide, one of the coins bore the portrait of George Washington the one on quarters.
It's believed to be the first error of its kind in the 208-year history of the U.S. Mint.
At first, Wallis said, he planned to keep the coin, because it was a play on the Mint's efforts to popularize the new coin. That ad features George Washington insisting he doesn't mind being left off the coin.
"It's ironic when you think that the U.S. Mint spent $40 million on an ad campaign about how George Washington is happy he's not on the dollar coin," Beth Deisher, editor of Coin World magazine, said.
Then Wallis found out how much the error could be worth: Possibly as much as $100,000 when Bowers & Merena auctions it during the American Numismatic Association's convention in Philadelphia this August.
Collectors call this sort of error a "double-denomination mule error" different currencies stamped on each side of a coin.
Of course, if more of the errors are found, the value of Wallis' find goes down.
"Today it's a valuable coin, but if somebody has found several more, it's not so valuable," Wallis said. "It's just another error coin."
Wallis, the business page editor of The Baxter Bulletin, declared bankruptcy as a result of a 1993 hospital stay that cost him two months' salary. "I was in financial ruin," he said. "Now, if the Lord wills, I can pay the debts."
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 19, 2000