If you've been following media reports lately, the hottest things in numismatics are the new Presidential Dollars that lack the normal edge lettering. These errors are unusual not only from a numismatic standpoint, but because these coins are both dateless and "Godless".
The new Presidential Dollars were first released on February 15, 2007. The first coins in the series bear the image of George Washington on the obverse and an image of the Statue of Liberty on the reverse. For the first time since 1933, the edges of the coins were lettered, bearing the date, the mintmark and the inscriptions "In God We Trust" and "E Pluribus Unum." The edge lettering is applied in a separate process after the coins are struck.
Somehow, a batch of the new Dollars skipped the edge-lettering process and were released to the public. This means that dateless and "Godless" Presidential Dollars have been distributed to the public. Initial reports were of a few single coins, but one source reported a find of 15,000 error coins by a bank teller. Current estimates put the population of the errors anywhere from 50,000 to 300,000 coins.
The first example offered on eBay sold for over $600 to our own PCGS staffer, Jaime Hernandez. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be a good investment for Jaime, as the price dropped after more coins were discovered. Today, the "Godless" dollars sell on eBay in the $40-60 range.
Some people think the "Godless" dollars were made on purpose and that they are part of a deliberate plan to remove "IN GOD WE TRUST" from our coins. We do not believe that to be the case. Actually, we're rather impressed that the Mint can turn out such huge quantities of coins on a regular basis yet still make so few mistakes.
The "Godless" Presidential Dollars hint at other possible errors. How about a Sacagawea Dollar with edge lettering from a Presidential Dollar? Or a blank planchet with edge lettering from a Presidential Dollar? Or a Sacagawea Dollar struck over a Presidential Dollar?
These errors may never come to fruition, but they are certainly fun to ponder. Who will find one? It could be you!