Dealers grab flawed coins like penny candy

Last month, the U.S. Mint rolled out the first of its presidential coin series with a gold coin featuring George Washington. There was some interest in the new money - an interest level that skyrocketed when people began to notice the unusual edge letter that is supposed to be on all the coins was missing on some of them.

A few days and a couple eBay auctions later, people are shelling out $50, $80, $600 for the $1 coin.

The local angle? Last night, some 885 of those eBay auctions featured people saying their coins came from Jacksonville. Turns out that most of the mistake coins are coming from the Philadelphia mint, and most of those appear to have been sent to the First Coast.

Money is distributed by the Federal Reserve Bank, with the Fed placing an order for the coins with the Mint and then sending them through their branches to commercial banks and thence to consumers. A smaller number of misprinted coins from the Denver Mint have also been seen, mostly in Chicago.

It took some time for the mistake to be noticed in part because the design of the coin is different from every other piece of metal money in circulation. The last time the Mint printed information on the edge of the coin - like the date, motto and “In God We Trust” that was supposed to be on the side of the Washington Dollar - was in the 1930s, with the minting of the gold Double Eagle pieces.

The irony of printing on the edge this time? “It was intended to draw attention to the inscription,” said Michael White, a spokesman for the mint.

And, indeed, attention appears to be being drawn.

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