Double Struck, One of Three Known (on Shell Gas Tokens)
By Mike Byers for Mint Error News ……
This is an amazing and spectacular Proof major mint error. It is a 1970 Kennedy half dollar from the San Francisco Mint that is double struck on an aluminum Shell Gas token. In 1969 and 1970, the Shell Oil Company issued a State of the Union coin game booklet as part of a promotion for their gas stations. People collected these aluminum tokens of each of the 50 states and got prizes.
The United States Mint did not strike aluminum coins for circulation. Somehow, three of these aluminum Shell tokens were accidentally mixed in a bin of blank planchets or deliberately taken in. It is also unclear whether these were intentionally made or struck during the normal minting process. Furthermore, they were either taken out of the Mint or surfaced in sealed Proof Sets where a lucky collector discovered them.
These three aluminum Shell tokens were struck by the Proof Kennedy half dollar dies. This example, the only Missouri State, was double struck on-center. The immense pressure from the dies expanded the size of the struck token to nearly the full size of a Kennedy half dollar. On the obverse, design from the token understrike is clearly visible including the words COIN GAME. On the reverse, design from the token understrike is also visible including the word MISSOURI.
Proof coins are struck by technicians who hand feed the blanks into special presses. They are produced, examined and packaged using extreme quality control. It is very unusual to find major Proof errors. A few broadstrikes, off-centers, double strikes (in collar) and off-metals have been known to be found in sealed Proof Sets. Proof errors are aggressively sought after by many error collectors.
A very small group of Proof errors recently came from a collection that was auctioned by the State of California. The U.S. Secret Service inspected and released this collection to the State of California determining that it was legal to own. The State of California then auctioned the collection and it has been dispersed since the sale.
For comparison purposes, I sold one of the other two known Proof Kennedy half dollars struck over struck tokens. That one was dated 1973-S and was certified Proof 65 by PCGS. Since it was my brand new discovery, it was certified as struck over a struck token but subsequent research was done on these three Mint Errors and this one was found to be also struck on an aluminum Shell Gas token from Oregon. I sold it to a collector of Proof errors for $10,000 USD.
The Kennedy half dollar on a Missouri token offered in this listing has considerably more detail visible from the token design.
Also for comparison purposes, I sold a 1983-P Washington quarter in Mint State, struck over a token. This mint error was certified by NGC and realized $15,862 as lot number 6291 in the 2014 FUN Heritage Auction. This Kennedy half dollar on a Shell Gas token is not only larger and in aluminum but also double struck and in Proof.
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