Canadian Coin News’ columnist John Regitko’s Error and Variety Coins Educational Manual is now being made available directly from Trajan Publishing.
The manual, containing 450 pages of which nearly 300 are in full colour, also includes five CDs of information of interest to the specialist interested in this facet of numismatics. Because it includes the production process at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa in the 1960s and 1970s for the most part, it is of historical significance to every numismatist interested in the study of the creation
Fifteen dividers separate the major sections which cover every facet of what is arguably the most popular specialty numismatic collectible today, with each chapter liberally illustrated with errors and varieties. Although the basics of the text and illustrations are taken from Regitko’s eight years’ worth of columns in CCN, it is greatly expanded upon. As well, considerable additional material has been added.
The first chapter of the manual covers how blanks were cut out from strip and processed in the past that caused all kinds of clips. How to authenticate blanks and clips is explained, assisted by illustrations of both genuine and phony examples as well as a detailed explanation of the so-called Blakesley and English Effects.
Die-related errors and varieties are next, followed by errors produced by the minting press, including set-up, feeding, striking and ejection. The “Tools” section includes write-ups on every conceivable item one might want to assist in examining, identifying and authenticating errors and varieties, including a listing of books and catalogues. Two whole sections dealing with the identification of genuine and phony errors are also well-illustrated, including the difficult types with missing metal.
The “Terminology” chapter discusses terms that were used since errors and varieties came on the scene, including those used by Hans Zoell in his various publications. Out-of-favour, bad and simply wrong terms are brought to the readers’ attention in an attempt to prevent others from repeating information that has been proven incorrect.
The chapter “Varieties you are not looking for” covers recently discovered errors and scarce varieties that are lurking out there, to be discovered by people who know what to look for.
Errors found on $2 coins as well as on colourized circulating coins are covered in separate chapters. These include some types that you might not be aware of because some inexpensive tools are required to see them.
Other topics are “Security at the Mint“ and “Backdoor Jobs from the Royal Canadian Mint.” This last section recaps some of the shenanigans that have taken place at the Mint in past years, such as the spectacular errors of Canadian coins that originated at the little known branch plant at Hull, PQ. The author also delves into his involvement in assisting the Mint in closing some “backdoors.”
The Internet auction sites use terminology that is unique. Ridiculous values for errors and varieties that reasonable people can only dream of obtaining, writing fiction and then posting it on auction sites, passing post-production damage off as genuine mint errors, and grading errors that even a blind person would disagree with, are the norm on many listings. These are debunked, in some detail, in another chapter.
Although not intended to dissuade anyone from dealing through the Internet, the intent is to make students aware of the pitfalls and blindly participating in Internet auctions. The end result of the chapter will be to have students form a better opinion about items they are considering buying on the basis of a blurry scan or an exaggerated write-up. Examples of how to read between the lines are given so as to convince potential bidders to trust their own eyes and not be swayed by someone with only the profit motive in mind.
Another chapter covers a wide variety of additional numismatic “errors” you can collect. These diversions include wooden nickels, foreign errors, paper money, transportation tickets, tokens and, yes, coin chocolate varieties, just to name a few.
Errors from private mints, including the Badger Mint, Sherritt Mint and Lombardo Mint, include transportation tokens, municipal trade dollars, medals and other mediums of exchange that form part of numismatics, are illustrated. Numerous token errors of the Toronto Transportation Commission are shown. Transportation ticket errors and even error transfers are touched upon.
Students at the four seminars run by Regitko stated that they consider the manual alone worth the cost. However, there is considerable additional content.
Five CDs containing videos relating to errors and varieties are included. One of the CD contains Regitko’s 43-minute presentation he gave at a Humber College seminar sponsored by the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. It covers the creation of the strip, cutting out of blanks, adding the rim, and a step-by-step explanation of the minting process at the RCM, accompanied by images of the errors that occurred during each step, similar to the expanded presentation contained in chapters 1 and 2 of the manual.
Two interesting videos included on the CDs are the production process at the Royal Canadian Mint in 1920 and at the U.S. Mint in 1940.
Other videos also cover the more recent production process at the U.S. and Canadian Mints, and various videos from YouTube that bring out the good and the bad of the Internet, with presentations on wonderful errors and ridiculous claims and values.
The total cost of the Manual, including the CDs, is $115. This includes packaging and postage to anywhere in Canada. Additional shipping cost for U.S. orders will be calculated at cost. Inventory is on hand for immediate ship-out or for pickup at the Trajan office in St. Catharines.
Regitko states: “It took most of my life to accumulate the most complete typeset of Canadian error coins that anyone ever managed to gather. Although my column in CCN shared a lot of images and background over an eight-year period, the Error and Variety Educational Manual gave me the opportunity to showcase the colour images in one place. It also allowed me to publish the stories of their creation and background that would otherwise be lost to the rich history of Canadian numismatics.”
He further stated to Mike Walsh, publisher of Trajan Publishing: “I am pleased to involve Trajan in the promotion and distribution of the Educational Manual to a wider audience than I could ever hope to reach.”
If you have any questions about the Manual’s contents, please contact the author, John Regitko, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (416) 407-4122 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.)