An article in CoinWorld recently publicized the discovery of a pair of mule errors on Royal Mint silver bullion coins. A mule error occurs when two dies not intended to be paired together are used to strike coinage.
In this case, the mule errors involve the transposition of the two similar obverse designs from the 2014 Silver Britannia Bullion Coin and 2014 Lunar Year of the Horse Silver Bullion Coin. Both obverse designs feature the same Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, but the Britannia coins have a dentils around the rim while the Lunar coins do not.
The first mule error consists of the obverse design from the Lunar coin (without dentils) being paired with the reverse design from the Britannia coin. Reportedly, there were approximately 17,000 examples of this error struck from an unlimited mintage.
The second error consists of the obverse design from the Britannia coin (with dentils) being paired with the reverse design from the Lunar coin. There were approximately 38,000 examples of this error struck from an overall mintage of 300,000.
After reading the article, I checked my two 2014 Silver Britannias and was pleased to find that they were both examples of the mule error.
I had picked up the two coins in early January at the FUN Convention as a regular bullion purchase. During the course of the convention, I had purchased one or two examples of 2014-dated world silver bullion coins for an upcoming article. The coins were purchased from various dealers based on availability and pricing.
At a later date, I also purchased one example of the Royal Mint’s 2014 Year of the Horse 1 oz Silver Bullion Coin. This coin was not an example of the error.
Any readers who picked up these silver bullion coins are encouraged to re-examine them. The mule errors are easy to identify once you know what you are looking for.
Since the discovery was announced, several examples of the mule errors have been listed on eBay. Currently, there are a much larger number of the Britannia mules available compared to the Year of the Horse mules. There are not yet any completed transactions on the site.