Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Half dollar missprint

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Question
Hello,

My sister has a half dollar she has asked me to see if I could find information on. Her mother received it in change in 1963 or 1964. It is double tails!  No front side with a year on it. Both sides are identical. She had it stored away. Upon seeing it, it was put in a coin sleeve. I would love to tell her it is worth more than just sentimental. I know the sentiment will cause her to not sell but leave to a special person she deems worthy. Any help would be greatly appreciated!  I can send a photo of each side. I apologize for not attaching here. I do not have the coin in hand. She has it safe. I could not get this page to access my stored pictures. With your advice I will talk her into having it professionally appraised.

Thank You,
Sarah

Answer
Sarah:

Your coin is a "magic coin" used to trick people when you guess heads or tails, for they always loose when this party picks "heads". It is an interesting conversation piece, and they usually sell for a few dollars. It has no added numismatic value. As a silver half, struck in .9F silver, it would have a melt value of about $7, with silver at $20 a troy ounce.

It is impossible for a coin to have two heads, or tails, as the obverse and reverse dies and there corresponding alignment features are different sizes. It is also impossible for coins to have two different dates, as the dies are destroyed by the mint after use each year.

If you have a magnifying glass, look closely at either the inside of the rim on one side of the coin, or the edge. The "magic pieces" are parts of two separate coins that have been cut up and glued or bonded together.

You coin will make a different sound when dropped on a glass surface (table top).
A true coin will have a "ring" to it, where the magic coin, being two pieces, will make a dull sound.

You may want to check Ebay listings under US coins in the error category (where they are sometimes listed) to see what these two-tailed coins are going for. You may also want to check out these links on error coin values:
http://www.coinsite.com/html/USErrorPrices.asp
http://www.minterrornews.com/priceguide.html

There are several books on US coins and error coins. I'd recommend the "Red Book" for US coins and "The Official Guide To Mint Errors" for oddities. Both are available online and larger book stores in your area, such as Borders or Barnes and Noble, should carry them or be able to order them for you. You might also see this link for the error club, CONECA. http://www.conecaonline.org/

Please remember to go to the experts site to rate this answer. And check the nomination box on the rating page below any comments you may have.

Thank You and Good Luck in your collecting.  

Coin and Paper Money Collecting

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Ronald Fern

Expertise

I can answer most all questions relating to US coins, tokens, and currency. I'm not strong on world coins or ancients. Primary field of expertise is errors and varieties. Over 55 years experience in coin collecting. Part time dealer since 1976. Employed by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for over 34 years as an Industrial Engineer/Technical Specialist before retiring in 2002.

Experience

Worked weekends for "Lonesome" John in the late 1960's to mid 1970's processing error coins, packaging, and preparing orders. Worked with John Devine and Fred Weinberg on several California Error A Rama's in the early 1970's. Served as display judge at annual Error-A-Rama coin shows. Opened and operated mail order coin business DBA "CAL ERRORS" in 1976. Contributor to Alan Herbert's "Official Price Guide To Mint Errors" and Fivaz/Stanton "Cherrypickers' Guide". Worked Saturdays at Huntington Beach Coin Exchange 1980-1999. Had table and sold coins at a number of coin and gun shows in So CA, AZ and NV. Sell coins, tokens and currency on Facebook. Past "Errorscope" Editor. Presently CONECA Examiner.

Organizations
ANA, CONECA, CWTS, NLG

Publications
Errorscope, Numismatic News, Civil War Token Journal, Error and Variety News

Education/Credentials
AA Degree LBCC pre Engineering, 1964 BS Degree CSULB Ind Technology, 1968

Awards and Honors
1st Place EAR Trophy for Civil War Token Errors, NLG Author of Year Award for best monthly coin column "Error News and Views" in small Numismatic paper, owned and published by Ray Anthony.

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