US Dime Struck on Nail Realizes $42,300


An undated Roosevelt dime struck on a 6-penny nail realized $42,300 in Heritage’s Florida United Numismatists U.S. Coins Signature® Auction in Tampa.

Images of a Roosevelt Dime Struck on a Nail
Images of Roosevelt dime struck on a nail

The error, graded MS65 PCGS, had a pre-auction estimate of $10,000+. It was purchased by a prominent American collector of many kinds of collectibles across a wide range of categories, according to Heritage.

"Significant error coins are among the most sought-after in the hobby," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, "as evidenced by the spirited bidding among collectors over this coin."

What is known is that the zinc-coated nail found its way into the coinage production line during the minting of Roosevelt dimes and apparently escaped through normal distribution channels.

"This is certainly among the most unique and mysterious errors to ever come to auction," Rohan said. "The truth is, no one really knows how or why it was struck."

This error coin is not the first coin to have such a distinction. A few examples of cents struck on nails were discovered in the 1970s, notes Heritage. The total number of similar errors is thought to be around six.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the U.S. and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of about $900 million and over 950,000 online bidder members. To learn more about the company, visit

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Seth Riesling

Mike Unser – You really “hit the nail on the head” with this article! (Sorry, I couldn’t hold back the bad pun). I used to get Heritage coin auction catalogs back when I was a customer in the 80s when they only sold stamps & coins. Now they sell every category, including a T-Rex fossilized skeleton that was seized by U.S. government officials after the auction because it was illegally imported into the U.S. from Mongolia. Heritage would auction off human organs if they could! Lol. These errors on nails didn’t make it out of the Mint legally, they were… Read more »


That should be a true statement, yet the gold coins purloined in 1913 by a San Francisco mint employee, buried in a coffee can, and “discovered” by an alleged bird watcher last year were deemed finders keepers.

Seth Riesling

Boz – You are probably partially right on your comments. The Mint lawyers are basically acting as if they are impotent on such matters & spend most of their time worried about U.S. Mint trademark issues instead! I called them once about an illegal offering of a U.S. Mint Martha Washington bronze test strike experimental piece going to auction & even contacted the U.S. Secret Service about it and the agent called me back & said unfortunately the Mint lawyers basically didn’t care since it wasn’t a legal tender coin! That piece sold at auction a month later for $52,000… Read more »


The addition 1933 double eagles apparently can’t be sold under the agreement with Fenton when his one Farouk specimen was monetized. As for the others, I think at this point the Mint would look pretty crazy going after a famous 103 year coin, even if they have the legal right (also, its issuance was pretty murky and the illegality could be argued in court). Maybe it comes down to ego–what coins they have gone after (such as pre-Fenton ’33s) they have to keep going after just because they already are and can’t admit a mistake. But the rest would be… Read more »

Seth Riesling

Richard – You are right on point on the King Farouk/Stephen Fenton specimen of the 1933 $20 Saint-Gaudens coin being the only coin of its type that is currently officially monetized by U.S. Mint officials. But those coins were struck in large amounts in 1933 for circulation but were ordered to be melted by President FDR’s orders etc. But the five 1913 Liberty Head “nickels” were never approved by Congress or U.S. Mint officials & were struck by at least 2 Philadelphia Mint employees (one in the die department & one press operator at least, & obviously after hours since… Read more »


Not error coins in my opinion. That implies the mint intended to do this and I doubt that. The offender should loose his job for putting a nail in the press.


I agree that this and several other “error” mintages were (proven) the result of an “Inside Job” by a US Mint employee(s). The reasons are made obvious by the Auction results.


Whats next, a quarter struck on a stuffed teddy bear? I’m surprised they didn’t slap a green bean on it as well.

Tom D in SC

MS 65?!? Really?! What’s the deal about grading a nail but PCGS won’t grade a coin because it was cleaned or has a scratch on it or some other “defect” that renders a coin ungradeable? Yet they jump all over a nail that I doubt was an accidental. A NAIL!! I just read an article where PCGS was rated as having the highest standards. What kind of standards do they have? It isn’t an error coin–it’s not even a coin and certainly it wasn’t done in error, I believe it to be intentional. How is a nail going to run… Read more »

Tom D in SC

I stand by my words of 5-years ago

Gabriel Contreras

I have a dime with part of the coin arrows and looks chewed up a 1984 I want to know if it’s error or person made