In probably one of the oddest items to come to the world of coin collecting, Heritage Auctions has announced the sale of a Roosevelt dime that was accidentally (or some say deliberately) struck onto a zinc nail—and the dime/nail is estimated to be worth roughly $10,000. In the billions of coins it has made over its history, the US Mint has made more than a few errors. There were Lincoln pennies that were struck onto the material for a dime, Washington quarters struck more than once, wrong dates on coins, and more. Most errors are caught by the Mint, but occasionally a few make it out into circulation. Those error coins have been highly sought by collectors. This error coin coming to auction in January in Tampa, Fla., is one of the more bizarre errors to come to public attention. "It is certainly the most unusual item I have had to catalog in my career," says a senior numismatist at Heritage Auctions.
It's not the first coin printed onto a nail, however, says Fred Weinberg, a coin dealer who's considered one of the top experts in error coins. A few pennies in the late 1970s were struck onto nails. This dime/nail is undated, so there's no way to tell when the item was created. Weinberg said it's possible the dime/nail was made on purpose by a rogue Mint employee. Despite it not being one of a kind, Weinberg says, there are probably only about a half-dozen coin/nail examples known and only two dimes. He expects the dime/nail—whose current price is $3,200—to sell for roughly $10,000 when it goes to public auction Jan. 6, but public interest could raise that amount. A US Mint rep was unavailable to answer the question of whether the nail/dime is considered valid currency. The Heritage auction that includes the nail/dime will also include several other notable error coins, including a 1943 Lincoln penny struck in bronze; 1943 bronze pennies typically sell for $200,000 to $300,000.