Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has authenticated and certified 61 regular-issue Type 2 Reverse quarter-ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coins mistakenly struck with a West Point "W" mint mark obverse proof die.
Discovered by Gerald Medel of Lakeside Coins in San Diego, California, the coins were submitted to PCGS on his behalf by Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections Coin Auctions (www.GreatCollections.com) in Irvine, California.
PCGS has classified the coins as Unfinished Proofs, and some of the coins now are being offered at auction by GreatCollections.
"These discovery coins show how full of surprises our industry can be. While we eagerly await the details on how these coins came to be, the exciting discovery during a live Instagram auction highlights the adaptation of our hobby to social media and further underscores the rapid growth of the numismatic market over the past two years," said PCGS President Stephanie Sabin. "We are proud to see more groundbreaking coins find permanent homes in PCGS holders, and there is still plenty of time left in 2021 for more breaking news from PCGS."
"This is an impressive discovery in a day and age when the United States Mint strives for perfection. Errors on gold coins are always rare and attract significant interest. We are thankful to Gerald for entrusting us with the first coins he discovered," stated Russell.
GreatCollections is offering the first 10 error coins in auction without reserve. Bidding ends for five of the coins on Sunday, October 31, with bidding ending for the other five a week later on Sunday, November 7, 2021.
"It would appear that a W mint mark proof die was used in making some of the non-proof bullion coins that are sold through the Mint’s Authorized Purchaser program," said Russell. "Something similar happened in 1999, when $5 and $10 denomination American Eagle gold coins were also mistakenly struck with W mint marks. Those examples are highly sought after today."
The first 2021-W quarter-ounce American Eagle Unfinished Proof coin was discovered by Medel in late September when he was live on his Instagram account for Lakeside Coins (www.lakesidecoins.com) while opening a roll of 2021 quarter-ounce American Eagles with the new reverse design. He remained silent when he saw the mint mark and put that coin aside.
"All 40 coins in the roll had the West Point mint mark! The next day I began researching and over next three and a half weeks I located an additional 21 coins for a total of 61 while searching through thousands of coins," Medel recalled.
"I’ve known Ian since he launched GreatCollections in 2011, and I contacted him about submitting the coins to PCGS. I was so excited about the discovery, my wife and our three children accompanied me from San Diego to Irvine when I delivered the coins to Ian," Medel said.
The first 40 W mint mark coins found together in one roll are being labeled by PCGS as pedigreed to the "Discovery Roll."
Steve Feltner, PCGS director of numismatic education and grading team leader, recalled the surprise he felt when he saw the coins for the first time.
"When Ian Russell and PCGS President Stephanie Sabin showed me a few groups of raw gold coins, Ian first handed me a standard business strike 2021 Type 2 quarter-ounce American Gold Eagle and then one in proof. I was wondering where this was going since these two coins are extremely common. I immediately started thinking that the reason for the visit could be a cool repeating ‘struck through’ error or even a newly discovered ‘mule.’ My mind was racing," said Feltner.
"Then Ian handed me another business strike and gave a knowing smile. My eyes automatically caught the W mint mark and knew he was onto something. After a few seconds of processing, we began to discuss the discovery; a group of American Gold Eagles struck using unfinished proof dies!"
For additional information, contact GreatCollections at 949-679-4180 or visit online at www.GreatCollections.com.
About Professional Coin Grading Service
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified more than 47 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of over $46 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.
GreatCollections is an auction house for certified coins and banknotes, handling transactions from start to finish. Since its founding in 2010, GreatCollections has successfully auctioned over 950,000 certified coins, making it one of the leading certified coin companies in the United States. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections, is a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatists Guild and member of the National Auctioneers Association. For more information, visit www.GreatCollections.com or call (800) 442-6467.