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April 22, 2005

"Minting Error Gives Jefferson 'Beard'"


Above, the headline of a story by Matt Busse that appeared in this morning's Lynchburg [Virginia] News–Advance.

Better check your pocket for shiny nickels, especially if you live in central Virginia.

Hey, wait a minute, that's me — hold on, let me have a look at my change.

Busse wrote that the U.S. Mint appears to have produced a small number of the new version Jefferson nickels with an erroneous feature: Jefferson appears to be sporting a beard (above).

Thomas Wood, president of the Lynchburg Coin Club, told Busse, "We think there's no more than 50,000 made."

Wood estimated that as many as 500 of the nickels could be circulating in the Lynchburg area.

As always, the Mint's playing dumb: U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said he hadn't heard of the erroneous nickels and could not comment.

Full disclosure: Lynchburg is about an hour down Route 29 South from Charlottesville; I am debating whether to dispatch one or more members of my crack research team there instanter to see if they can turn up a few of these precious coins.

Success in this undertaking could put bookofjoe on a rock-solid financial footing because these coins are going to be worth a fortune.

Perhaps I should go to Lynchburg, now that I think about it.

Or maybe I should follow my own advice for a change and have a look over at eBay, where several of the coins were on sale yesterday according to Busse's story.

I mean, who's always going on around here about "Work smart, not hard?"

[bookofjoe goes to eBay and investigates]

Well, I'll be: sure enough, there are four of the coins pictured, none with a bid yet and all four with opening bids of 99 cents.

Heck, I'll give it a shot:


I just bid up to $3 (above).

Well, wasn't that a lot more pleasant than a drive to and from Lynchburg?

Maybe I should consider the wisdom of the button that sits prominently on my car's console — it reads,


Here's Busse's story.

    Minting Error Give Jefferson 'Beard'

    If you pull a brand-new nickel out of your pocket and Thomas Jefferson appears to have a beard, you might not want to spend it.

    The U.S. Mint’s 2005 nickel design for spring sports a portrait of the United States’ third president on one side and an American bison on the other.

    But an apparent error at the U.S. Mint’s Philadelphia facility might have produced thousands of nickels with a small impression that appears to give Jefferson a beard, said Thomas Wood, president of the Lynchburg Coin Club.

    "We think there’s no more than 50,000 made," Wood said.

    While Wood said he’s unclear how much the coins could be worth, coins with minting errors that are otherwise in perfect condition can fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars in collecting circles.

    Wood, who runs Apoth Coin Shop at 1026 Main St., said he thinks a bag full of the unusual nickels recently was delivered to the Bank of the James.

    As many as 500 of the nickels could be circulating in the Lynchburg area, he said.

    Bank of the James president Robert Chapman said the bank receives weekly shipments of coins from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, but he hadn’t heard of the bearded-Jefferson nickels.

    "We’re happy to create such an interesting stir among coin collectors," he said.

    U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said he had not heard of the erroneous nickels and could not comment on them.

    On Thursday, a seller using the online-auction service eBay was advertising several nickels similar to Wood’s, but no one had yet bid on them.

April 22, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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