In November, 2008, the U.S. Statehood Quarters ended its run with the Hawaii quarter, but the Hawaii quarter has gained fresh attention this week due to a newly discovered minting error. This variant on the Hawaii quarter masquerades as additional islands on the coin’s reverse. Two light raised points, near the map of the chain of islands, make it appear that two extra islands have joined the state of Hawaii. These marks are likely to be due to die chips, and are small enough to have been missed during the original run.
It is a bit odd that over three years had passed before anyone caught this error, but it could also be a sign of extreme rarity. The man who discovered the error, Joseph Au-Franz, has since discovered several dozen coins with the same error. Since Au-Franz has enough quarters to check through to find this handful of errors, it is entirely possible that he picked up the lucky rolls of quarters from the Philadelphia Mint, giving him the only examples of this error. This is the first significant error to show up in the Hawaii quarters, joining Minnesota’s “extra trees” and Wisconsin’s “extra corn leaf” as another of the subtle design-changing errors that have appeared on state quarter reverses.
Other minting errors have occurred, such as rotated dies or other less spectacular minting problems, but when the error makes an intentional-looking alteration to the coin’s design, the error has historically become more desirable to collectors. Because these marks are so small, it is possible that collectors have overlooked other examples, so it might be a good idea to give your Hawaii quarters a second look. You might have two too many islands in your collection.