A Mule Coin Makes A Fascinating Treasure For Error Coin Collectors



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Have you ever heard anybody use the term mule coin?

A mule is a type of error coin. It has an obverse (heads side) design and a reverse (tails side) design that wouldn’t ordinarily go together on the same coin.

Mule error coins are particularly interesting pieces. They derive their name from the offspring of a donkey and a horse. This creation (a blending of 2 distinctly different species) commonly serves as a working animal.

While mule coins aren’t necessarily beasts of burden, they are very much analogous to the mule of the animal kingdom — because they consist of 2 coins that wouldn’t typically be together.

Whether they are accidentally struck or intentionally made, mule coins are quite rare.

Mule error coins have long attracted the interests of coin collectors. These coins are high on the want lists of many error coin collectors!

 

Popular Mule Error Coins

 

2000 Sacagawea/Washington Quarter Dollar Mule Error

One of the most popular mules is a dollar-size coin showing the obverse of the Washington state quarter and the reverse of a Sacagawea dollar — struck on a dollar planchet in the year 2000.

This mule coin, as it happens, is actually a legitimate error that the US Mint confirmed.

Mint officials say that a Sacagawea dollar coin die cracked in production, and a Washington quarter die was accidentally used to replace the broken die. The discovery happened after thousands of these error coins were made. Most of them were destroyed, however a few apparently got out.

There are 18 of these rare error coins known to exist.

This 2000 Sacagawea dollar coin sold for over $29,900 when it was first found and authenticated. Another of these Sacagawea dollar/Washington quarter mules sold for an astounding $155,250!

 

1959-D Lincoln Cent Mule

Another popular mule coin is the 1959-D Lincoln cent.

This 1959 Lincoln wheat cent is a rare wheat penny error that’s worth $50,000.

There is only one of them known to exist.

While it has been authenticated by the U.S. government and the coin is genuine — there is actually no record of the 1959-D wheat penny ever being made at the U.S. Mint!

Of course, that doesn’t mean the coin was not made there — but it has left many to speculate that the 1959-D penny error was made as a one-off piece. For example, it may have been struck as a prank, a gag, a dare, or even as an intentional attempt by a Mint employee to make a unique coin that would someday become very valuable.

There’s definitely a lot of mystery behind the 1959-D penny mule!

 

Other Famous Mule Error Coins

Other mule coins that are known to exist:

  • A 1967 New Zealand 2 cent coin with the obverse of a Bahama 5 cent coin
  • A dateless British 20 pence mule incorporating old and new designs from before and after the 2008 redesign of British coins
  • Several 2010 Winter Olympic coins from Canada are interesting mule coins

 

How To Find Mule Error Coins

Remember, mule coins are extremely rare — so even if you’re looking through bags, boxes, and rolls of coins for years and years on end, there’s no guarantee you’ll find one.

But there are a few ways you can increase your chances of finding a mule error coin:

  • Check bags, boxes, and rolls of NEW coins — Chances are better you’ll find a mule this way, rather than looking at bunches of coins that people have already sifted through.
  • Visit estate sales and yard sales looking for coin collections — You may find something unusual this way. Be wary though. Many big “discoveries” made this way turn out to be altered coins or coins with post-mint damage.
  • Tell people you’re looking for strange coins — And don’t forget to offer payment for these coins, because people probably won’t just give you free coins and tokens! But you might just find what you’re looking for. (Remember the story of how Leon Baller stumbled upon his 1959-D mule penny?)

Good luck… and happy collecting!

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Joshua

I'm the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!

15 thoughts on “A Mule Coin Makes A Fascinating Treasure For Error Coin Collectors

  1. where would i go to have someone check out a canada  1966 5 cent mule. i am in california. they dont seem interested in any coins but US coins. 

    1. Unfortunately it seems that the market for Canadian coins isn’t so hot unless you’re either in Canada or living near the border. I’d recommend posting photos on Canadian coin collector forums and see if somebody well-versed in Canadian errors can help.

      You might want to try here: http://www.canadiancoin.com/

      Good luck!

  2. hi Josh, is this 5 cents 1966 FS, the coin is new from the set https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c9380246619c3b81605f8b5a87c919f1fe6aa68720954553e5e3ae1f342d226.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b064fff672d1803ff6251c59037bcf4d32ba60e357f6dabd6df29c8b7c49b164.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2a5d531dae692b8987ccadf11e3406a182fb1017a5c3433b612813258e702178.jpg

    1. Hi, Meho —

      Unfortunately a large contact mark/gouge on the left side of the steps would prevent this coin from being designated as Full Steps. Here’s more info you might find useful about Full Steps nickels: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/full-steps-nickel-value/

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      1. I also have these coins, are they worth more money, I need help, 1934 half a dollar I could not find the information mint error DDR on the net, the same for 1922 peace dollar DDO and 1 cent Lincoln which has a double letter D, but on the inscription in god we trust, there is no information on the net so if you could help me, I’m sorry I’m not very good with English, I hope you understand me https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9df3e1ac8813eaaa10d0686ba89ff4800ef1bec4183c1f053f9cf9a553659883.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ac078b24332e7594186ec9e76fd55c78f2a06873d11b560d109a04e83876d63b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8f451f68f9c554b3a541692c658c489066696dbfc45e729ba854898294961a3d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c42a58f87839745aaf6fa01025d2e63d79903a84204a2c2d58a43b0d250e6aa.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe74ce381be9ca937a891b05dbdd16492e4dbb888635a344e9fa7f9ee1201079.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f745946339a3f5336e0566b3f90ccd2bb321608b6841f36a6042fc77bcb3a0c6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/20389c89e59e49a44542a5a5c4ac5f94f1eebee5d3f5094a82c87718b53fbec6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/615657d4381a658246770cab801ec60ec8dac23dc6fc92e80946f2f880f5fa51.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74aa0e07c49e22a7eb97776d980dd8ba1284bc4cc1d69ec7c79514626b7f453f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/97200f336871cf2eddc6174a2bb8371842fb3df3de8750e79e1b8cee42dc904f.jpg

        1. Hi, Meho —

          It appears in these photos that the doubling on your Walking Liberty half dollar and Peace dollar appear to be common machine doubling; this is definitely the case with the half dollar, but perhaps the Peace dollar may be worthy of submitting to the variety experts at CONECA (http://varietyvista.com/) for a second opinion.

          Based on what I see here, I think the coins you showed me may be worth in the neighborhood of $40 to $50 total.

          Best wishes,
          Josh

      2. i also have 1955 DDO, they are not touched, they are dirty, they are not cleaned https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0a66724d05493be99872afe7c6fb2e76951b5ce0a7f3989877c1cdff57021bb4.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0bc59538078229997b49b3a40113147f795a3b290eb4aeceae6bac46c5afd2a4.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be9a085d6ea08cd3eb332c8f7877fc494ed428325046aca1144c1eeedc27e4ae.jpg

        1. Hi, Meho —

          While this appears at first blush to be a 1955 doubled die penny, there are some details about this coin that leave me skeptical as to its authenticity. If you feel it’s worth spending the money to have this coin authenticated, I’d suggest submitting it. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not so sure this coin is genuine; some of the details look off to me and the the lettering isn’t as crisp as it should be.

          Good luck,
          Josh

  3. Hi Josh, I need help I have this cent 1970-S, it seems to be DDO, I see on the net that they are valuable https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cc22afdcf359708514ed8159cf9006a0b948ab351cf68c1c6da857431af502ba.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/767d5386d1bf91c6bff00981a909aa5303e271c590f36e19ad8a64824c44b50f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/28348802460116598d6ff5eea33dee25714cb5aa9647ec464a0fff19ce9b3904.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/40a0ed3e4ef36de01141e16b70925011b5f3569bef665f2dead7363cbf3111cc.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2ddfb7479d7e48119bbb4b66045258c035e7fd8f763c63e8ca0153d11d5b8fc9.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b3ffcf2b252aeb4d6b65c7118289be474be799714cdfe8c99557eddfa1737106.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e63006b75c5bfd0355146a7eb4c7cc6f44cdeb30f4a1698311e5401fb019b9ce.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4acd0422e1637b64c1e203cbb524ddcd13a0af30907a8e4c88c337a425c4a0de.jpg

    1. Hi, Meho —

      It’s a little tough to tell for sure with the lighting if it’s a doubled die or machine doubling, and checking for doubling on the “S” mintmark (if it’s there, too, it’s machine doubling) is inconclusive. You might consider running these images by the variety experts at CONECA (www.varietyvista.com) to see if they can attribute your piece.

      Good luck!
      Josh

  4. there is a little duplication on liberty, on some letters as it seems to me, there is on the letter N above, on the Trust and on the date 1970, maybe I’m wrong I need your help, thanks

  5. I would take all the coins for grading , I need help, is it worth carrying them for Germany in NGC, I would not like to throw money away for free, please help and what is your opinion about the other coins from the pictures I sent,which to take there

    1. Hi, Meho —

      I hope I’ve responded to you on each of the coins you’ve posted photos of. From what I can tell so far none that you sent are pieces I’d personally suggest getting certified, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Graders may see important/rare things in-person on these coins that don’t come through in the photos.

      Wishing you the best of luck,
      Josh

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