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Real Mint Error Guys vs. Real Variety Guys

OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

This has probably been discussed here before. To lazy to look for it.

I know there are serious error and variety collectors here. 

From an outsider looking in and reading between the lines on many threads and post, do you think the error guys view the variety/VAM guys as the red headed step children of the coin or numismatic community?

We know there are some serious variety collectors. We also know there are some significant varieties out there. It seems like varieties are the poor man's error coins. Would I be wrong by thinking the mint error guys, view varieties as a waste of time?

There also seems to be some professional composition, maybe animosity or personality conflicts between groups or key players in the community. Would I be wrong with this assumption?

Not trying to widen the gap between errors and varieties (if there is one), would just like to hear your views or opinions.

Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

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    seanqseanq Posts: 8,576 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have always collected both, and organizations like CONECA cater equally to both, so maybe I am naive to think there wouldn't be any animus between the two. I think the roots of both feed back to the same tree, namely "I think it's cool when the Mint messes up."

    Sean Reynolds

    Incomplete planchets wanted, especially Lincoln Cents & type coins.

    "Keep in mind that most of what passes as numismatic information is no more than tested opinion at best, and marketing blather at worst. However, I try to choose my words carefully, since I know that you guys are always watching." - Joe O'Connor
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    yspsalesyspsales Posts: 2,230 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 14, 2022 9:53AM

    Errors have a unique 1/1 quality.

    Varieties not so much.

    I would put Vam’s and the die marriage fanatics in a third group.

    Is there a cross between the three?

    I am probably 45% varieties, 45% Vam’s, and 5% errors.

    Thought about being a variety specialist (think EOC) but not sure where the demand would come from.

    Kissing cousins at best but three different families.

    BST: KindaNewish (3/21/21), WQuarterFreddie (3/30/21), Meltdown (4/6/21), DBSTrader2 (5/5/21) AKA- unclemonkey on Blow Out

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    ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,433 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I only do major mint errors with a couple of variety exceptions that I will not reveal.

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    RLSnapperRLSnapper Posts: 524 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am thinking about starting to acquire Varieties of Late Date Large Cents that are R4 or higher. I am browsing raw coins and attributing them looking for Newcomb varieties using the Grellman reference. I still have some Major varieties to complete but while I wait for the right coins this seems like a fun project.
    Twenty years ago, I collected off center Indian Cents by date. That was a real challenge. I also flipped some major errors...off center Standing Liberty Quarter, 1943 cent on a dime planchet are 2 memorable ones. I think that the best error coins tell their story without magnification. You don't have to be a numismatist to understand the story. Varieties often require magnification and appeal to a much smaller audience...but a passionate audience nonetheless.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They are separate categories... some like both, some focus on one or the other. I have not noticed any animosity or issues between them. Personal interests are the essence of hobbies. Cheers, RickO

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    daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @yspsales said:
    Errors have a unique 1/1 quality.

    Varieties not so much.

    I would put Vam’s and the die marriage fanatics in a third group.

    Is there a cross between the three?

    I am probably 45% varieties, 45% Vam’s, and 5% errors.

    Thought about being a variety specialist (think EOC) but not sure where the demand would come from.

    Kissing cousins at best but three different families.

    Excuse my ignorance, but how are VAMs anything other than a subset of varieties? And aren't die marriages just specific varieties?

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    goodmoney4badmoneygoodmoney4badmoney Posts: 1,127 ✭✭✭✭

    I like error coins. I have never, and will never, collect varieties. I also don’t have an interest in “normal” coins. My only complaint about varieties is that if I walk into a coin shop asking for errors they usually want to show me varieties or discuss them as if I know what they are talking about. The 1955 Doubled Die might be the only exception, but I wouldn’t pay any significant amount (over $100) for an example, which is why I don’t have one.

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    yspsalesyspsales Posts: 2,230 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have always felt variety specialists prefer the hunt.

    Personally have never bought many varieties outright.

    It would seem to be more of a classic date or registry set collector that would venture into varieties on a retail level.

    BST: KindaNewish (3/21/21), WQuarterFreddie (3/30/21), Meltdown (4/6/21), DBSTrader2 (5/5/21) AKA- unclemonkey on Blow Out

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    yspsalesyspsales Posts: 2,230 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:

    @yspsales said:
    Errors have a unique 1/1 quality.

    Varieties not so much.

    I would put Vam’s and the die marriage fanatics in a third group.

    Is there a cross between the three?

    I am probably 45% varieties, 45% Vam’s, and 5% errors.

    Thought about being a variety specialist (think EOC) but not sure where the demand would come from.

    Kissing cousins at best but three different families.

    Excuse my ignorance, but how are VAMs anything other than a subset of varieties? And aren't die marriages just specific varieties?

    I don’t know the technical answer.

    Paging @mfeld

    BST: KindaNewish (3/21/21), WQuarterFreddie (3/30/21), Meltdown (4/6/21), DBSTrader2 (5/5/21) AKA- unclemonkey on Blow Out

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    lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,831 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I guess I've felt Errors are more of a specific numismatic collecting arena than varieties... Errors transcend the specific issues such that you can have an off-center strike or clipped planchet on any number of coins, but you need to be grounded in one issue (or type) to have Varieties make any sense.

    I'm a surReal collector of Large Cent Redbook varieties... at least I aspire to be...

    Collecting: Dansco 7070; Middle Date Large Cents (VF-AU); Box of 20;

    Successful BST transactions with: SilverEagles92; Ahrensdad; Smitty; GregHansen; Lablade; Mercury10c; copperflopper; whatsup; KISHU1; scrapman1077, crispy, canadanz, smallchange, robkool, Mission16, ranshdow, ibzman350, Fallguy, Collectorcoins, SurfinxHI, jwitten, Walkerguy21D, dsessom.
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    jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,318 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I fear that labels create division and with constant useage they worsen divisions. Sure there are different collecting avenues within our hobby as in any hobby, but please do not feel that because you collect on one avenue the other avenues dislike or have disdain for you. That is not the case for the hobby as a whole. Certainly there are individuals who like to degrade others as their are in any society, but let's all just enjoy the hobby of kings together and not let those single individuals classify any part of the hobby, please. JMO
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
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    AllentramAllentram Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    As an on-again, off-again collector for the last 40 years I've never sensed or noticed any animosity or condescension between VAM/variety and error collectors.

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    VasantiVasanti Posts: 448 ✭✭✭✭

    I think it’s different psychologies relating to different types of collectors. Some collectors like a finite set or goal. Some collectors like a nearly infinite or truly infinite search. Money also plays into it, I think. Some variety folks are bargain collectors and it’s more about the hunt than the coin itself, thus they can get a lot of satisfaction searching through change for varieties or errors.

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    OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    All excellent replies and feedback. Thanks to each of you for the reality check. I think I'm back on track.

    It's obviously my nonprofessional confusion or misconception. All the error experts (and maybe most of you guys here), know a real mint error when you see one. 

    I think it's the varieties that can be questionable and are much less clear cut..... Knowing how, why, if or when a variety was intentionally or inadvertently created, is most likely the challenge. It's the major players in the variety community, the guys that are writing the books, articles, periodicals, major websites or CONECA like @seanq mentioned. I'm wondering if there could some that are apprehensive to put their name and reputation on the line when it come to attribution..... Or wait and see if someone else attributes it first.

    I think most of the TPG'ers need documented evidence (from these key players) before they put their names on a variety.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

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    coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,770 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have never been a collector of either, although I do have a handful of varieties that I've picked up through the years. And while I enjoy the educational study of both I am not in the least motivated to buy or collect them. In fact, I hate that most available albums and registry sets always include varieties in the set makeup.

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
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    rmpsrpmsrmpsrpms Posts: 1,818 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The feeling I got from the OP was it is a troll post poking at variety collectors. "Red headed step children of the coin or numismatic community", really? There are quite a few more variety vs error collectors out there. Most of us collect for fun, for education, and as at least one forum member said above, for the thrill of the hunt. A smaller group are trying to put together sets, and yet a smaller group are doing research.

    PM me for coin photography equipment, or visit my website:

    http://macrocoins.com
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    OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rmpsrpms said:
    The feeling I got from the OP was it is a troll post poking at variety collectors. "Red headed step children of the coin or numismatic community", really?

    No but thanks for the feedback.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

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    124Spider124Spider Posts: 848 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 14, 2022 10:30PM

    Cool topic!

    I like looking at the photos of the more bizarre error coins that people post, but none that I could afford interest me enough to pay anything for. I do think that, e.g., a cent struck on a dime planchet is very cool.

    Die varieties, to me, are attractive. While I principally collect "normal" coins, I have a number of (to me) cool die varieties, from the popular (e.g., 1918/7-D buffalo nickel; by a multiple of 2, the most valuable coin in all my collections) to the obscure (e.g., 1943/2 Jefferson nickel; 1956-D/D Lincoln cent). While I do collect Morgan dollars, I have no interest in VAM collecting (the only die varieties of the Morgan dollar I have are the 7-tail feather 1878, 8-tail feather 1878, and 7 over 8 tail feather 1878; and that's only because there are slots for them in my Whitman album, and they're not particularly expensive to get in high grades).

    Part of my reluctance to play in the error world is that one-offs don't have an established market price, and I'd be unwilling to spend real money (as previously noted, the ones I do like are expensive) on a coin, having no confidence that I could get a substantial portion of my purchase price back if/when I decide to sell it.

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    @telephoto1 said:
    I touched on this on another thread a while back. My take is that error people have more of a strong two way market, but it seems that with the miniscule varieties, afficionados of such items tend to want to find them and "make" them, but not buy them.

    Literally that one guy who posts nothing but super-magnified Lincoln cents :D

    Young Numismatist

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    daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've thought it might be fun to pick some very common coin, say a 2015 P Kisatchie National Forest Quarter, and try to get one coin from every die pair. I'm just not sure how to do the research for it, or even how many coins that would be. I know no one would care, but it seems like a very affordable and interesting project.

    Exhibit at a major show?

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    BLUEJAYWAYBLUEJAYWAY Posts: 8,046 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The hobby is so vast, there is room for everyone.

    Successful transactions:Tookybandit. "Everyone is equal, some are more equal than others".
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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:

    @yspsales said:
    Errors have a unique 1/1 quality.

    Varieties not so much.

    I would put Vam’s and the die marriage fanatics in a third group.

    Is there a cross between the three?

    I am probably 45% varieties, 45% Vam’s, and 5% errors.

    Thought about being a variety specialist (think EOC) but not sure where the demand would come from.

    Kissing cousins at best but three different families.

    Excuse my ignorance, but how are VAMs anything other than a subset of varieties? And aren't die marriages just specific varieties?

    They basically are, but the mindset Is a little different. For VAM (or Sheldon or Newcomb or Overton) collectors, every coin is a variety because every coin comes from a specific die marriage. They've exhaustively catalogued all die marriages. Most of the run of the mill variety collectors are only collecting certain recognized varieties that have some "significant" difference. [Significant is on the eye of the beholder.]

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OAKSTAR said:
    All excellent replies and feedback. Thanks to each of you for the reality check. I think I'm back on track.

    It's obviously my nonprofessional confusion or misconception. All the error experts (and maybe most of you guys here), know a real mint error when you see one. 

    I think it's the varieties that can be questionable and are much less clear cut..... Knowing how, why, if or when a variety was intentionally or inadvertently created, is most likely the challenge. It's the major players in the variety community, the guys that are writing the books, articles, periodicals, major websites or CONECA like @seanq mentioned. I'm wondering if there could some that are apprehensive to put their name and reputation on the line when it come to attribution..... Or wait and see if someone else attributes it first.

    I think most of the TPG'ers need documented evidence (from these key players) before they put their names on a variety.

    It's not about the creation of a variety. It's about the marketing of the variety. Technically, EVERY coin is a variety, yet only some are designated as worth consideration.

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    291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The ones with the most powerful electron microscope will win!

    All glory is fleeting.
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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:
    I've thought it might be fun to pick some very common coin, say a 2015 P Kisatchie National Forest Quarter, and try to get one coin from every die pair. I'm just not sure how to do the research for it, or even how many coins that would be. I know no one would care, but it seems like a very affordable and interesting project.

    Exhibit at a major show?

    You'd have to identify all the die pairs. If a die strikes 250,000 coins and you have a 400 million coins, then that's at least 1600 reverse and obverse dies. With some using more than one combination, that's over 2,000 die pairs that need to be identified.

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    messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,704 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:

    @yspsales said:
    Errors have a unique 1/1 quality.

    Varieties not so much.

    I would put Vam’s and the die marriage fanatics in a third group.

    Is there a cross between the three?

    I am probably 45% varieties, 45% Vam’s, and 5% errors.

    Thought about being a variety specialist (think EOC) but not sure where the demand would come from.

    Kissing cousins at best but three different families.

    Excuse my ignorance, but how are VAMs anything other than a subset of varieties? And aren't die marriages just specific varieties?

    They're not. VAM is the cataloging mechanism for die marriages of Morgan and Peace dollar varieties, nothing more, nothing less. VAMs are the die marriages cataloged in VAM, much as Sheldons, Overtons, and Newcombs would be the those cataloged in Sheldon, Overton, and Newcomb, respectively if the collectors called them that. Of all cataloged die marriages, some are not varieties, but are considered normal dies or uninteresting. For dates with only one die marriage, you could say there are no varieties, just that one marriage. Of all varieties, many are not of significance. "Snows" omit the most die marriages that show insignificant varieties.

    @OAKSTAR said:

    ... I think it's the varieties that can be questionable and are much less clear cut..... Knowing how, why, if or when a variety was intentionally or inadvertently created, is most likely the challenge.

    Not usually. Intentional or not is usually pretty obvious with varieties and doesn't typically have much bearing on how interesting or desirable they are. For errors, on the other hand, there have been many threads discussing and debating the more spectacular "on purposes" that have been clandestinely produced.

    It's the major players in the variety community, the guys that are writing the books, articles, periodicals, major websites or CONECA like @seanq mentioned. I'm wondering if there could some that are apprehensive to put their name and reputation on the line when it come to attribution..... Or wait and see if someone else attributes it first.

    I think most of the TPG'ers need documented evidence (from these key players) before they put their names on a variety.

    A credible published work that collectors accept and use is what they want.

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    OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks John.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

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    RadioContestKingRadioContestKing Posts: 3,004 ✭✭✭✭✭

    By nature I am a Variety Guy and yet I have two error coins that one was found by our own error specialist Fred and the other was found by one of My favorite Variety Guys J.T. Stanton. So to me its always been the best of Both Worlds......

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=UayFm2yCHV8
    I used to be famous now I just collect coins.


    Link to My Registry Set.

    https://pcgs.com/setregistry/quarters/washington-quarters-specialty-sets/washington-quarters-complete-variety-set-circulation-strikes-1932-1964/publishedset/78469

    Varieties Are The Spice Of LIFE and Thanks to Those who teach us what to search For.
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    FrazFraz Posts: 1,863 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This thread clears up a few things for me. It tells me that I’m not ready to discriminate. I thought six months ago that I was a business strike cent collector. My knack is finding quantities of coins in the public. Now I have an unsorted hoard of unsorted hoards with no notion about what I prefer anymore.

    I have a dozen tubes of what I call “errors, damaged, interesting, trash” that I must examine when I know more.

    Thanks for letting me attempt to describe where I fit in this discussion: indiscriminate accumulator.
    Thank you for another degree of enlightenment.

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    toyz4geotoyz4geo Posts: 1,467 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I used to be heavy into collecting Hot Wheels. While it was neat to find errors, I always kept an eye open for variations. They were harder to find than the so called limited editions. I think that mindset carried over as I got back into coin collecting. While I am not so much a variety collector, I do keep an eye open for them. Errors in the wild for me are pretty elusive. Personally…………it’s the hunt.
    George

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    Type2Type2 Posts: 13,985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool coin Tommy.👍🏼 I can only speak for me but if I see a error, verity or Vam worth it to me I’ll pick it up if it’s not a big deal I’ll leave it for someone else to pick. But I won’t tell the B/M or dealers because they will pull it and bump up the price and the next picker won’t get the deal.

    That’s just me dumb Type2 thinking.



    Hoard the keys.

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