Sacagawea/Quarter Mule--The Jeff Allen Ebay Piece

    2000-P $1 Sacagawea Dollar--Muled With a Quarter Dollar--MS 67 NGC. This intriguing error was the first Sacagawea mule sold in the summer of 2000. This much-publicized piece was sold on Ebay to collector Jeff Allen for $41,295. Since that time six other pieces have come to light (only one of which is equal in grade to the Allen piece), Heritage having sold an MS 66 in our Philadelphia 2000 Sale for $31,250.
    This is an undated (but year 2000) Washington quarter obverse that is muled with a Sacagawea dollar reverse, struck on a dollar planchet in the Philadelphia Mint. The mule (and its owner, Jeff Allen) were featured on the Discovery Channel's "The Best Kept Secrets of Money," broadcast on March 15th.
    The U.S. Mint has the combined capability to produce in excess of 29 billion coins per year, and while significant numbers of error coins can be found in circulation, none have attracted as much attention as this mule. A muling error on a circulating American coin was unknown until this piece was discovered and, as such, it represents a numismatic discovery of the greatest importance. "Mules" or "muling errors" of rare patterns and restrikes were produced intentionally during the 19th century (albeit usually clandestinely) and have long been known to exist. But any muling error on a circulating U.S. coin is guaranteed to attract significant bidder attention. A mule that combines the obverse and reverse of two different denominations would seem to be the most unusual mistake that can be made in the Mint.
    As new issues, the Sacagawea dollar and Statehood quarters have the public once again searching their change, so a muling error that affects both of these series could not come at a more opportune time. Despite initial speculation that it may have been intentionally produced by a Mint employee, on June 19 the U.S. Mint issued a press release acknowledging the Sacagawea dollar-Washington quarter mule as a legitimate error. Apparently, it was produced when an obverse Sacagawea die cracked, and was accidentally replaced by a quarter obverse die. Upon discovery by Mint employees, several thousand mules were apparently retrieved and destroyed.
    The consignor, Jeff Allen, began collecting coins at a young age, after he received his first 1926 Sesquicentennial quarter eagle from his grandmother. After pursuing other interests as a young man, Jeff began to renew his interest in coins. Over the years, he developed a wide-ranging collection, with a strong representation in Morgans, Saints, Lincolns, and modern proofs. Allen owns Allen Auto Transport in Marina Del Rey, and he says he enjoys coin collecting almost as much as his business of shipping the cars of the stars. This now-famous mule is being sold to fund his son's college education.
    There are two varieties of this extremely rare error known. This piece is from the second die pair, which is characterized by a curved die crack on the lower portion of the eagle's left (facing) wing. Two other faint cracks project from the rightmost points of the first two stars just below that same wing. The other die variety (sold at the 2000 ANA Sale) shows a die crack through the F in OF down to the eagle's wing.
    The coin itself has virtually perfect surfaces that display the lustrous golden color common to Sacagawea dollars with just a hint of rose patina. We expect a high degree of interest in this piece from collectors that should transcend the usual collectors of error coinage. The transcendent rarity of this piece is certain to bring another staggeringly high price at public sale. (NGC ID# CWUN, PCGS# 9584)

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    May-Jun, 2001
    31st-2nd Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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