coin, a dime struck onto a nail, is headed to auction By KEN SWEET | December
19, 2015 9:59 PM
NEW YORK (AP) — Is it a dime?
Or is it a nail?
In probably one of the oddest items to come
to the world of coin collecting, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions
has announced the sale of a Roosevelt dime that was accidentally
(or some say deliberately) struck onto a zinc nail.
Yes, that piece of ironmongery used to repair
The dime/nail is estimated to be worth roughly
In the billions of coins it has made over
its history, the U.S. Mint has made more than a few errors.
There were Lincoln pennies that were struck onto the material
for a dime, Washington quarters struck more than once, wrong
dates on coins, etc. Most errors are caught by the Mint,
but occasionally a few make it out into circulation. Those
error coins have been highly sought by collectors.
This error coin coming to auction in January
in Tampa, Florida, is one of the more bizarre errors to
come to public attention. In a weird linguistic twist, another
name for the 2-inch nail is a sixpenny nail.
"It is certainly the most unusual item
I have had to catalog in my career," said Mark Borckardt,
the senior numismatist at Heritage New York-based Auctions.
A numismatist is person who studies or collects coins or bank
It is not the first coin printed onto a nail, however,
said Fred Weinberg, a coin dealer considered one of the
top experts in error coins. A few pennies in the late 1970s
were struck onto nails. This dime/nail is undated, so there
is no way to tell when the item was created. Weinberg said
it is possible the dime/nail was made on purpose by a rogue
Despite it not being one of a kind, Weinberg says, there
are probably only about a half dozen coin/nail examples
known and only two dimes. He expects the dime/nail to sell
for roughly $10,000, but public interest could raise that
A spokesman for the U.S. Mint was unavailable to answer
the question of whether the nail/dime is considered valid
The Heritage auction that includes the nail/dime also includes
several other notable error coins. There will be a 1943
Lincoln penny struck in bronze, which would seem not out
of the ordinary except for the fact that the U.S. Mint changed
the composition of the penny in 1943 to steel to save copper
for the war effort. 1943 bronze pennies typically sell for
$200,000 to $300,000.
On the flip side, Heritage will also be auctioning a 1944
penny that was struck in steel, not bronze.
The auction for the dime/nail will be Jan. 6 as part of
a larger Heritage auction. Electronic bidding for the coin
has already started, however. The current price for the
item is $3,200.