But, this error is not a US Mint error.
This post could also be titled, “How to make an otherwise laid-back coin dealer angry.”
At a recent 3-day coin show, several deals of large quantities of proof sets and mint sets were purchased. In most cases, these groups of sets were purchased from other dealers.
Now, when you’re busy, it’s just not feasible to open every box to verify the contents of every set or to look at every coin in each set. Plus, when you’re buying from other dealers, whom you know, you don’t feel the need to check every set.
In this case, someone pulled a fast one. Was it a dealer? Or did someone pull a fast one on another dealer who did not realize they had been had before selling the sets?
Let’s look at the lens for the non-quarter coins in the 2000 proof set:
The lens looks nice. The insert holding the coins inside the lens looks good – it has the blue-toned flag waving in the background and the Treasury Department seal on the front.
So, what’s wrong?
Let’s take a closer look at the coin specifications for this portion of the 2000 proof set:
Though the text may be difficult to see, take a look at the number of columns. There are five coins listed in the coin specifications with the one on the far right being the 2000 Sacagawea golden dollar.
But, take a look at the lens holding the coins again:
No dollar in this set.
How can this be?
Well, it’s really easy if you have the piece parts.
Remember, the 1999 proof set’s package used basically the same design as the 2000 proof set, but the 1999 proof set did not include a golden dollar.
Someone opened the 2000 lens and removed the dollar. To make it easier to pull a fast one, they moved the other four coins into a 1999 insert which only had four holes for the coins. The insert was then placed back into the two-part lens which snaps around the insert. The now-four-coin lens was placed back into the 2000 proof set box along with the lens holding the five quarters and the coin specifications card.
Unfortunately, this 2000 proof set “error” was not the only one of its type in the purchases from a couple of months ago. And, unfortunately, the deals have been organized into inventory by year such that the seller of these “error” sets is unknown and cannot be challenged.
The minor good news in this story is the 2000 proof sets were not expensive. On the other hand, with the missing dollar, they’re not exactly worthless, but they’re sure worth a lot less than was paid.
The lesson for you in this story is to make sure you know what the set you are buying should look like and the coins it should contain – how many and what type.