Post Mint Damage & Post Strike Damage: What You Need To Know About PMD & PSD vs. Error Coins + Damaged Coins Value

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If you’re a coin collector, numismatist, or somebody who has worked a bit with coins, then you may have heard the acronym PMD.

If you haven’t, then you may be wondering, “What is PMD?”

It stands for Post Mint Damage, and refers to any damage a coin has suffered after leaving the Mint.

The 1943 Jefferson nickel has a common form of PMD -- Post Mint Damage -- a hole that wasn't there when the coin left the U.S. Mint.

Common examples of damaged coins (those with PMD) are any U.S. coins with:

  • Heavy scratches or gouges
  • Dents and dings on the rim
  • Odd lettering or stamps on a coin
  • Gold plating or strange coloring
  • Tall or deep rims
  • Holes and bumps
  • And almost anything else unusual that goes into the coin’s surface

…that were not there when the coin left the U.S. Mint.

Post Mint Damage (PMD) and Post Strike Damage (PSD) are often mistaken for errors on U.S. coins.

I’m going to help you tell the difference!

 

Error Coins vs. Damaged Coins

A lot of people think that circles, lines, or grooves on a coin make the coin rare and valuable. However, these are not coin errors.

Coins experience so much wear and tear throughout their lives, and many end up taking quite a beating in the process — resulting in Post Mint Damaged coins.

Sometimes, signs of coin damage look unusual to an unassuming coin collector who mistakes PMD (or PSD) as a Mint error, or a legit mistake that was made at the U.S. Mint.

Being able to tell Post Strike Damage apart from a strike error takes years of experience. But here are a few ways to determine if your coin has U.S. Mint errors or if it has Post Mint Damage:

  • If the “error” cuts into the coin (it goes into the surface rather than being raised), then it’s probably Post Mint Damage.
  • If the coin has a raised blob of metal next to or near a groove or cut, that’s probably Post Strike Damage.
  • If it’s a two-headed coin (with the face of a penny on one side and a dime on the other side), that’s an altered coin made for magicians — which is considered Post Strike Damage.
  • If there is doubling on the coin… it’s tricky. In most cases, doubling is not caused by the coin being a doubled die (a Mint error), but rather damage from the strike itself. So, if you see doubling all over the coin (and definitely if it appears on both sides), then it’s not a Mint error known as a doubled die. It is machine doubling instead.

 

Cleaning Coins Causes Post Mint Damage

Another major cause of Post Mint Damage is cleaning.

Yes, cleaning your coins actually damages them!

While many people think it’s a good thing to clean their “dirty” or old coins, it’s actually one of the worst things you can do.

Cleaning a coin not only alters its natural appearance, but it can also remove a tiny layer of metal from the surface of the coin — forever ruining it. (This is especially true when using abrasives such as toothpaste, baking soda, salt, or even a pencil eraser.)

The bottom line… leave your coins in their natural state. Do NOT clean your coins!

See how cleaning coins affects their value.

 

What Should You Do With PMD Coins?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with Post Mint Damage except enjoy the damaged coin for what it is — a broken coin that needs a home and some love.

You can’t “fix” PMD coins.

There are so-called coin doctors who can patch up holes in coins, remove dents, fill scratches, and even restore color to cleaned coins. However, since this expensive work is largely done to make a damaged coin look new and often has deceptive intentions, not many people have much respect for coin doctors. (Especially when their work is done to erase any blatant signs of damage… so the coins can masquerade as problem-free coins and potentially be sold for the same price as problem-free pieces!)

That doesn’t mean damaged coins are worthless though.

Damaged coins make terrific “fillers” for hard-to-find coins in your collection! Since PMD coins can often be bought cheaply, they’re great for filling holes in your coin folders and coin albums — where otherwise rare and/or expensive coins would go.

Post Mint Damaged coins (also referred to as cull coins) cost only a fraction of the price of similar coins in problem-free condition. This makes PMD coins desirable for coin collectors on a budget who want to buy old coins or rare coins without paying full price for them!

One thing to keep in mind (especially if you’re hoping to make an eventual profit on your coins) is that damaged coins don’t usually increase in value as quickly as problem-free coins. Therefore, it might be best to save up your money and buy a nice, problem-free example when you have the money to do so.

 

What’s The Value Of Damaged Coins?

The general rule on coin values is that coins are ultimately worth whatever someone will pay for them.

In the case of damaged coins, values vary depending on the:

  • Severity of the damage
  • Location of the damage
  • Rarity of the coin
  • Overall demand for the coin

Damaged 20th-century silver and gold coins are often only worth the value of the metal in the coin (or their spot value).

However, damaged rare coins are usually worth much more than their metal value:

  • Take the 1909-S VDB penny, which has about 2 cents of copper value. Even a corroded 1909-S VDB cent that has been cleaned, bent, and has holes (a pretty ugly-looking 1909-S VDB penny, really…) might be worth $100 to $200 as a filler piece — because demand for the rare Lincoln penny is so high.
  • A porous, bent 1793 Chain cent (a very rare penny that was the very first official Federal United States coin) can bring $1,000 or more, so long as it’s identifiable as a Chain cent.
  • Holed, cleaned Draped Bust silver dollars from the 1790s or early 1800s often sell for $300 to $500.

So, yes… values for damaged coins range all over the board. Just remember, one collector’s trash is another’s treasure!

 

The Bottom Line…

The takeaway here is that you need to know the difference between legit error coins and coins that simply have Post Mint Damage — because not all coins with strange-looking oddities are errors. In fact, most are not errors.

I always tell people that a good way to tell if if a coin has post-Mint damage or if it’s a legitimate error coins is this:

  • If you see doubling, raised lines or bumps, or parts of the design missing, then we’re possibly talking about some real errors.
  • If the “weird” thing about the coin is going in to the surfacelike a nick, scratch, or hole — then it’s almost certainly post-Mint damage.

Common sense should tell you that most of the odd-looking coins you find in pocket change, coin rolls, or elsewhere in circulation are not errors — because error coins are generally rare. You’re not supposed to be finding a bunch of error coins all the time in circulation. Nobody’s luck is that good!

Yes, it’s a good idea to check your change looking for rare and valuable errors — but be mindful before submitting photos of every odd coin you find to an error coin expert. Chances are your coin is not an error. There are countless damaged coins floating around out there.

In most cases, the “error” you think you’ve found on a coin is simply Post Mint Damage — this is extremely common!

So, it’s good to learn the differences between damaged coins and error coins from the experts by asking questions. But any good numismatist or budding error expert has to do some work for themselves, too.

The best thing to do is to take the time to research the world of error coins. Find out what error coins are out there and what they look like. Study, study, study! It may take years before you feel like you know what you’re talking about with regard to error coins — but before you know it, you’ll be doing an excellent job at discovering exciting error coins on your own!

RELATED: Get Money For Damaged Coins From The U.S. Mint

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55 thoughts on “Post Mint Damage & Post Strike Damage: What You Need To Know About PMD & PSD vs. Error Coins + Damaged Coins Value”

    • leave it 15 minutes in acetone but remained mostly the same… so thats the final piece. Check inside building has extra die too…

      Reply
    • Hello, Rodrigo —

      A grease strike is indicated on coins that are missing certain details due to grease being in the die. In this case, the coin has grease ON it, and it looks like whatever applied this grease to the coin may have altered the surface, too.

      Hmm…
      -Josh

      Reply
      • in hand evaluation tells me that you are right is ON the device through the date, but somehow it melted with the die and cracked it.. very fun to examine 😀

        Reply
    • Hello Ariana —

      I agree, it shows that those older coins were actually used as money. Plus, it makes them each unique — they each have a story to tell!

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
  1. Isn’t it crazy how in some cases, mistakes make the value that much stronger? I love stuff like this. Thanks for the differentiation.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, A Carr! Oh, yes — crazy how much MORE a coin is worth the mistake. And the bigger the mistake, the more it’s worth!

      Reply
    • Hi, Lonnia —

      I’m trying to zoom in on these photos to see what you’re talking about but unfortunately I can’t seem to make these images any larger in size than they already are, thus I can’t really tell what you are showing me (I’m sorry!). However, you seem to be describing what may be die cracks (raised areas of metal that shouldn’t be there). If this is the case, those are die errors that are caused as the dies wear down after striking thousands and thousands of coins.

      Sometimes die wear expresses itself in the forms of cracks on the die, and when these cracked dies strike a coin, coin metal fills into that crack, thus causing the raised metal on the coin we call a die break. Values for such die crack pennies generally range from $1 to $5, with the higher value for coins with large die cracks, or an “I”-shaped crack in between the “B” and “E” of Liberty, causing what some enthusiasts call a “BIE” error.

      I hope you and your grandkids make many wonderful coin memories together!

      Cheers,
      Josh

      Reply
  2. Hello so I am new here but I am curious to get some feedback on 1969s penny. I am not quite sure to tell if it is considered to be an error coin. I believe it has doubling on the date. But even more interesting than that to right of the date there seems to be an error, I think it’s called a cud error but not sure. Ok so this Is the what’s has me most puzzled i believe that under that cud I see an S as if it has another mint mark. Idk may I will attach pictures. Please help

    Reply
    • Hi, Robert —

      It looks like someone did a real number on this one. It’s a post-mint alteration and is worth face value, but is nevertheless a real looker of a find.

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, James —

      The missing “I” is indeed an error, and it’s a neat one. It’s a strikethrough error, in which a foreign matter — likely grease — got into the “I” on the die and prevented the letter from being fully struck. Such pieces are usually worth a couple dollars.

      Cool find,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hey Billy —

      The surface of the coin where the fourth numeral of the date would be seems to exhibit a planchet flaw. It’s a little odd that none of the metal was struck up for the fourth digit, even with the flaw. This leads me to wonder if there is a grease-filled error involved here, leaving the fourth digit off. What I suggest you do for a better, more conclusive answer here is submit this image to the folks at coin variety and error organization CONECA. Here is the website address: varietyvista.com They are sure to have a consensus theory on what’s going on here!

      Good luck!
      Josh

      Reply
  3. Hi recently started going through large of pennies collection my elderly father inherited from a CRH years ago. I’m new to CRH. It’s the “thrill of the hunt for me”. I have found this penny. PMD? Please advise. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/22b79a9d3216cafa224e3101f2292b2eb4291add3a980dbee7fb2ea1860f4c80.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5b69de439433291d538d408b0e2052003c7e84ab62d4eaf0645283c4d3175813.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ccd4f8f3b17b3b95c642dce20bcf99c1f4456b5b6e832d9327c5d1f67302183.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/84b
    74813d1aa1ae9b059706ec364609eca0668d0643981b6b6137c97590b0517.jpg

    Reply
    • Hi, Ashton —

      It appears the blob was caused by a bubble that swelled in the coin, and this bubble was most likely caused by exposure to heat. In fact, there are other aspects of this coin that suggest it was possibly in a fire, including surface pitting and discoloration. While this piece is worth face value, it certainly has a story to tell!

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
  4. Hey Josh, at first I thought this 1975 cent had a planchet error: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81a3151a95c390417511001f76bd8fc8fbe80aaab146bba83f1a4575d85630e1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e429662521c03dde013b1c7ca7e60844fcd6503062e7b5dd0fa261fce93e2c73.jpg

    But when I noticed the “pinch” on the obverse, I thought it’s probably PMD, but wondered about how “smooth” the pinch was. But then its reverse has what looked like a chip on the bottom rim, so I didn’t know for sure. It reminded me of this 1982 (I believe it’s copper), which looked like it was having a very bad day. But what was similar was how smooth the mark is on the reverse. What do you think?
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/311a3a37ceb318d305832e46ae91c064cb50fe363f1512296745a8cd027bb673.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2f5b9167fdaac176166794dc370569a6c4a91107cca65482dd6bf4d5c7bbcd6d.jpg

    Reply
    • Hi, Brian —

      Thanks for the images… This is unfortunately just a very badly damaged (post mint) piece, though it’s one of those coins whose story I wish it could tell! I’m sure it would be a doozy…

      Thanks for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Jon!

      I’m glad to know the article has been helpful to you! This image is a little blurry so I’m having difficulty in clearly making out the “loose hair.” Is it what appears to be a heavy line on the lower right of his neck, below the bow tie? Is it possible you could please post a clearer photo here and I could take another look?

      Hoping to assist further,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hello, Ruth —

      It looks to me like someone tried gluing a bunch of pennies together (believe me, this happens more often than most anyone would think). I see what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial penny design across the shield, and I can’t even begin to make out what design is emblazoned over Lincoln.

      You might try safely soaking the coin in acetone and see if it removes any residue that may be there. Even if it doesn’t come off, I can assure you that this is some type of post-mint damage/alteration and not a mint-made error of any kind.

      I’m still wondering what the goal was in sticking these coins together… (ha ha!)

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
  5. Hi Josh I was hoping that you could take a look at this coin for me it just seems like it’s not your it’s not your normal wear and tear to say the least. Any input would be helpful thank you.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9cf9ef6f6a3dbda186f74dbc909ef30a093b0c87228100999356fc0b8add7a66.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13611bcca75e5bf6b2597af976d9926f3ec32bd9bfc8bba9246e9b1539fe71fc.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/275a7da2e1d2de7f29edc233879228773f98a61d4f77ea72ef0fda942746ac11.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.co
    m/images/0eacf3eb054167b86016dfde3c36c5d56a8ec01d9b0c127c96df0be1cef09355.jpg

    Reply
    • Good day, Cathy!

      I’m afraid your 1971-D Kennedy half dollar exhibits substantial post-mint damage. The heavy scrapes all came after the coin left the mint and are not a form of error. This piece is safe to spend at its face value if you wish…

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
  6. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aa9f41184f5f45b773197ed75cb42996d4cb87dcc999802eb73c8fea2b0c8830.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a47dc977c635c17ea08dd5966e43189b2e2fa5eb3a19889b2b3a9fbe399eb312.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d84e2c33a878ef83e1bc57df5abfea26b0883136be4ced07afd1117b08b3a690.jpg Good afternoon, Joshua, I am going to upload some photos of a 1904 penny. I can see it meets some of the criteria for mint error and some of the criteria for post mint error. Your expert opinion would be helpful and no doubt informative. I am curious about the nearly perfect rectangular hole in the edge. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi, Diane —

      Your 1904 Indian penny shows signs of post-mint damage, including the rim dings and grooves/cuts into the edge. My thought is this coin may have once been inserted in a jewelry mount, which can cause such damage — especially when done roughly or incorrectly.

      While your piece may be worth 50 cents to $1, its story is probably priceless!

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
      • Thank you. It has been frustrating trying to imagine what might have happened as much as118 years ago, especially after reviewing the minting process.

        Reply
        • You’re welcome, Diane! As you’d imagine, a coin of that age has a lot of secrets it will never reveal, but bezel mounting is one of the most plausible explanations for the damage seen.

          All the best,
          Josh

          Reply

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