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Is There a Coin Collectors Club that Specializes in Error Coins?

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1955 Doubled Die Cent

The 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent sparked the start of error coin collecting hobby in America.

Photo courtesy of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.
Question: Is There a Coin Collectors Club that Specializes in Error Coins?
There are two well-known and outstanding coin clubs for American coin collectors: the American Numismatic Association (ANA), and the American Numismatic Society (ANS.) But is there anywhere that error coins and die variety collectors can meet kindred spirits?
Answer: CONECA, which stands for Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America, is the coin collectors club which focuses on error coins and die varieties. CONECA, as its name states, was formed in 1983 by combining the clubs CONE (Collectors of Numismatic Errors) and NECA (Numismatic Error Collectors of America) into one organization. Prior to this, the two clubs had two fairly different philosophies regarding cataloging and describing error coins and minting (and die) varieties.

Describing Coin Errors With the PDS System

One of the key advances in minting error theory that allowed the two clubs to join together as one, (and to see the cataloging and explanation of minting errors eye to eye, which had previously led to conflicts) was the creation of the PDS System. The PDS System was developed by Alan Herbert, and first published in 1971. PDS stands for "planchet, die, strike," which describes the three major types of errors and varieties that can occur. It is, perhaps, not coincidental that PDS also describes the three major U.S. minting facilities for circulating coins at the time: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. (San Francisco no longer strikes circulation coinage.)

Services Provided by CONECA

Like any successful coin collectors club, CONECA provides some useful services to the hobby in general, and its membership in particular. In CONECA's case, it publishes the popular CONECA Variety Master Listings on its Web Site, which are listings of confirmed Doubled Dies, Repunched Mintmarks, and Overpunched Mintmarks. Most major coins type of the twentieth century are covered.

CONECA has several informative columns on its Web site, including my favorite, Recent Finds. This column, and its sister column "In the News" are currently written by Ken Potter, who is also the volunteer CONECA Webmaster. Ken tries to keep us all up to date on the latest E-V news (E-V is short for Error-Variety) and collector discoveries as his time permits. He also writes the occasional "Oh, No It Ain't," a column he took over from Bill Fivaz a couple of years ago after a long dormancy. "Oh, No It Ain't" is all about debunking myths and rumors in the error-variety community and its archive makes for fascinating reading.

Error Coins and Varieties Newsletters

CONECA also publishes the Errorscope, a magazine devoted entirely to the E-V hobby, which comes out 6 times a year. Back issues are available, too, and there is a cross-reference on the Web site that shows in which issue you can find photos and further information about the Variety Master Listings that have been covered. Another really outstanding E-V magazine is published by error coins and die varieties expert (and CONECA member) Billy Crawford. Billy publishes the electronic magazine called Die Variety News Magazine about six times a year, and it's free if you receive it electronically.

CONECA Events and Activities

CONECA sponsors an annual gathering of error coins and die varieties collectors every year called Errorama, usually in conjunction with another major coin show such as the ANA World's Fair of Money. Members get together to listen to lectures, share new finds, trade coins, and all those other fun things we do at coin shows and club meetings. CONECA also bestows awards for best numismatic literature related to the E-V field, maintains a Hall of Fame of E-V scholars, and confers various other awards from time to time.

In addition, the CONECA leadership try to attend one or two other important coin shows around the country each year, to give members a chance to meet and share their mutual interests.

How to Join CONECA

CONECA is easy to join, and the $25 annual membership dues include a subscription to CONECA's journal, the Errorscope. Students can join for $7.50 a year (which basically pays for the cost of mailing them the magazine.) New members also get a Welcome Kit, which includes a free genuine variety coin, personalized membership card, and other benefits described on the CONECA Membership page. It is money well-invested if you are an avid error coins and die varieties fan, or even if you just enjoy searching your pocket change for valuable error coins and want to learn what to look for (and how much to sell it for when you find it!) It is worth noting that CONECA was among the first coin collecting clubs to create a Web site, and they are proud of their long tradition of service to collectors.

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