HR Strange But True!
February 02, 2006

Timing is everything, even when it comes to meal breaks. Just ask the Treasury Department.

When a batch of flawed Wisconsin quarters entered circulation in 2004, they became highly coveted among collectors. The mistake caught the eye of the Treasury Department and its Office of Inspector General (OIG) launched an investigation into the cause.

Was foul play involved?

The OIG concluded that an ill-timed meal break led to the faulty batch of coins and eliminated foul play as a possibility, USA Today reports.

The newspaper obtained the OIG's report through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The report said a press operator at the Denver Mint took a meal break just after stopping one of the presses because he noticed flaws on quarters the machine produced, the newspaper notes. When he returned from his break, the press was already running again, but the operator falsely assumed that the faulty die had been replaced, according to the report.

"The quarters were most likely produced as a result of machine or product deficiencies, not as a result of an intentional act," according to the OIG's report.

The faulty die led to as many as 50,000 flawed quarters, much more than originally thought. Some collectors have paid thousands of dollars for the flawed coins.

Source: USA Today

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