PCGS Around the World – Full Mirror Brockage Mint Error French Gold


Through Jay turner for PCGS ……

France 1896-A 20 Francs Privy bundle Gad-1063, Complete Brockage Reverse Mint Error, PCGS AU58. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView

In coin collecting, printing errors can range from barely noticeable to massive and dramatic. Depending on the country, mint tolerances vary from strict to non-existent, and in a setting like the Money of Paris of France in the late 1800s, errors were often rare due to tighter quality control. This is especially true with issues of gold coins, because of the monetary value of these coins, governments have allowed little tolerance.

Recently in a PCGS Europe Express submission, a dramatic flea market state error on a gold 20 francs has been submitted to PCGS for certification.

Brocking mint errors have occurred through the ages and can be found on early ancient coins as well as coins produced today. Breakage occurs when a struck coin or obstacle is not ejected from the dies and a new blank or blank is introduced into the dies. The struck coin or obstruction transfers the stamped design to the fresh blank, creating an inverted image of what was struck there.

Since the dies are an inverted or inverted image of what will be struck, the coin or object struck is lifted and shows the intended design. With a stitching error, the coin that was previously struck is lifted and this is what transfers its design – not the die design. Therefore, when printed in the room, a mirrored notch image occurs.

With hand hammered parts, broaching errors are human errors, with the person striking the part causing such errors. Because a coin’s weight and smoothness (not necessarily the perfection of its design) were more important when hammered coins were prevalent, these errors seemed tolerated by both coins and the public and circulated freely. Although these early pinout errors occurred infrequently, there are still many survivors for collectors.

With the advent of machine-struck currency, the human element of making mistakes is still there, but it is interesting to note that it is the machinery which most often causes these errors.

As technology improved in the late 20th century and beyond, most errors produced by automated equipment were also detected by machines, and depending on the currency, errors put into circulation became almost nonexistent with artificial intelligence. A brocking error is dramatic – it is essentially a two-sided coin, with one side mirroring the other. In some cultures, they are considered lucky coins, but any collector who finds one would consider himself lucky as well.

Although there are many examples of errors in France, finding a gold major mirror is exceptionally rare, making it an incredibly desirable piece for collectors and specialists in erroneous coins.

This example is a mirror brocking, with the inverted design transferred to what would have been the obverse of the coin. Because the error occurred on the obverse, we are still able to see the date, mintmark and private marks on the coin to determine a full attribution (1896-A 20 Francs avec le Faisceau Gad-1063). While this coin escaped detection by the Mint and was put into circulation, it did not last long before it was withdrawn and kept. The PCGS AU58 graduated piece. The last time this piece was offered publicly at auction was in 2004 in the Numismatica Genevensis SA Auction 3 as lot 466, where it grossed 6,000 CHF or around $ 6,500 USD – a price it would far exceed today if offered again.

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