PSA Thread For New Members Who Think They Might Have A Mint Error
Existing Forum Members- please chime in and add/correct anything.
Here is a link to the US Mint's site outlining the minting process: https://www.usmint.gov/learn/production-process/coin-production
With the exception of Step 6: Bagging and Packaging, what you think might be an error on the coin you have must occur in steps 1 thru 5. Anything that occurs in step 6 is considered damage and adversely effects the value of the coin, as does anything that happens after the coin has left the mint.
Anything that affects the design on the dies and thus shows on the coins struck by those dies is called a variety. All coins of a particular variety should be identical as far as the variety is concerned, as they were all struck by the same pair of dies.
For example, if you believe you have a 1969-S doubled die Lincoln cent, all aspects of the doubling must match all known 1969-S doubled die Lincoln cent examples. It's easy to find images of certified examples to compare to, or you can look here for confirmed examples: http://www.varietyvista.com/
It is definitely possible to find both errors and varieties in circulation and by looking in rolls. Until you learn to recognize legitimate mint errors and varieties, remember that the reason some errors and varieties are valuable is because they are rare and there is demand by collectors for them. Until then, review the references above and attempt to determine why the coin ISN'T an error instead of just assuming it is because it looks different.