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If damage happens to a coin before it leaves the Mint, then that coin is considered an error coin or a mistake. (On the other hand, if damage happens to a coin after it has left the US Mint facility is considered ‘damaged’ and it is generally worth very little.) Error coins are rare and valuable because they are legit — they entered circulation that way and are relatively few in number. Here’s a list of well-known U.S. coin errors, how to determine a true error coin from a fake one, the most valuable error coins to look for, and how to spot new errors on coins — because new errors are being discovered all the time!

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