Numismatics, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the study or act of collecting of coins, paper money, and medals.” Obviously, that definition can be expanded upon, but here’s an example of how it can pay off to focus on the “study” part, by learning about the different types of error coins and keeping your eyes peeled.
There’s a seller on eBay in the Netherlands I buy from sometimes to expand my Netherlands collection. Up for auction, he had a 1966 USA Kennedy half dollar, which is 40% silver. What jumped out at me was a little extra bit of metal extending from the rim. Luckily, the bidding didn’t go high and I picked it up for a little over five dollars shipped to get a closer look at what I saw. Sure enough, it was a rather tiny cud that extended from the rim into the L in Liberty on the obverse.
A cud, according to Wikipedia, is “a variation of a die defect in which the coin bears a raised portion of metal. Unlike a die crack, this unintentional “bump” in the coin is caused by a dent or gouge in the die, therefore allowing the coin to fill into the gap during the minting process.”
If you collect error coins at all, you’re likely familiar with the web site cuds-on-coins.com. My cud wasn’t listed, so I sent the photos to the site administrator and editor, Robert (BJ) Neff who added it as CU-50c-1966-01. Mr. Neff also had this to say, “Kennedy half dollar cuds are fairly rare and even the rim cuds command added value; yours is a full cud so even a bit more rare,” which was welcome information indeed.
Learn your errors and watch the coins you come across, both in circulation and as collectables, you never know when it will pay off.