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12 things made collectible thanks to spelling errors
When "oops" turns into opportunity
 
The case of the missing "n"
The case of the missing "n" (ebay.com)

The Vatican recently issued a commemorative medal in honor of Pope Francis, but had to recall the 6,000 that had already been minted after it was discovered that the word "Jesus" was misspelled as "Lesus." While the mistake was embarrassing for the Vatican, it was thrilling for collectors. A spelling error like that is rare indeed, and the few medals that were sold before the rest were pulled are sure to command a hefty price. When it comes to collectibles of any kind, spelling errors always add interest and value.

Here, 12 other spelling mistakes that collectors know to look for:

1. The "spoot" error
During the Civil War, people began hoarding coins for the metal they contained. In response to a need for small currency, private mints started issuing their own coins, which circulated in the East and Midwest. Many were specific to certain merchants or stores, and some were stamped with patriotic slogans. One of the patriotic coins read "if anyone attempts to tear it down, shoot him on the spot," the instructions sent by General Dix at the outbreak of war to officials in New Orleans regarding what they should do if anyone tried "to haul down the American flag." Some of these coins were struck with "spoot" rather than "spot." Now Civil War token collectors know them as "spoot tokens."

2. The "Kentuckey" spoon
The 50 State Quarters program gave people a new reason to start a coin collection, as they sought to accumulate a quarters from every states. There were other non-currency collectibles issued as part of the program, including spoons for each of the state designs. They aren't particularly valuable now, selling for $1 to $20 on eBay. The Kentucky spoon, however, can fetch $100 to $200 due to the way the state is spelled on the handle of the spoon: "Kentuckey."

3. The "Lennon-McArtney" Record
"Love Me Do" was the first Beatles single released by a record company. Before it went on sale, about 250 promotional copies were sent to radio stations and reviewers. Those copies listed the artists as "Lennon-McArtney." The "McArtney" was replaced with the correct "McCartney" by the time it was released. A copy of the misspelled version sold for over $19,000 last year.

4. The Isle of "White"
In 2007, the British Royal Mail issued a set of "Glorious England" stamps with images of iconic English scenes: A row of taxis, Stonehenge, the London Eye. One picture was of "The Needles," a chalk formation off the Isle of Wight. The engravers must have been distracted by the lovely white chalk rocks when they set the stamp with "white" instead of "wight," a completely different word which meant "living being" back when the isle got its name.

5. The "Philadelpia" cover
While spelling errors on stamps make for good collectibles, the stamp itself is not the only place where postage can go wrong. Philatelists are also interested in covers, the special posted envelopes issued by the postal service to commemorate a stamp's debut. In 1957, a stamp honoring the teachers of America was issued for the 100th anniversary of the National Education Association. No doubt the teachers would not have approved of the ones where the cancelation stamp read "Philadelpia."

6. The "Squar" egg skillet
There's nothing like a quality, well-seasoned cast iron pan. Iron is heavy, solid stuff, so if you make a mistake while casting it, there's no going back for corrections. In the collectible cast iron market, misspellings have extra value. This "squar" egg skillet, known as "the mistake pan," gets about twice the price of the "square" one.

7. The Hobbit by "Tolkein"
Tolkien collectors are not kidding around. If somewhere there's a scrap of paper related to J.R.R. Tolkien or his works that collectors have not yet located, it is bound to be discovered in due time. Even copies of the uncorrected proofs of his works have been dug up. In this proof of The Hobbit, Tolkien's name was spelled incorrectly. That's why they make proofs of books. So these things get caught and corrected before it's too late.

8. "Millenium" Beanie Baby
By the year 2000, the whole Beanie Baby craze was coming to an end. But the company got in a special year 2000 edition before the collectors market completely tanked. The Millennium Beanie Baby had a few different iterations. In the early ones, millennium was spelled with one 'n.' Today they're worth about as much as you'd expect. Or rather, as little as you'd expect.

9. Brett "Farve" card
In this 1991 Topps "Stadium Club" card, Brett Favre's name is spelled wrong. He was a rookie then, pictured in his college uniform. His name would be spelled correctly on all future cards, but that still doesn't mean people had figured out how to pronounce it.

10. Sherry "Magie" card
In 1910, Sherwood "Sherry" Magee was one of the big stars of turn-of-the-century baseball. Still, even though he was captain of the Phillies at the time, they couldn't get his name right on this card. It is now one of highest valued baseball cards for collectors. Even a banged up specimen is word thousands. In mint condition? $90,000, according to this collectors guide.

11. "Figthing" Irish
At the beginning of this season, Notre Dame fans who looked a little more closely at the "Fighting Irish" souvenir soda cups they purchased at a game against Temple noticed that the cups lacked "fight." But who needs fight when you've got figs?

12. Disney "Bobleds" in "Januray"
Disney issues special pins for fans to collect and trade. Collector sites warn newcomers that printing errors almost always indicate that a pin is counterfeit. However, there are a few verified "error pins," including one from "Januray" 1, 2000 and another about the Matterhorn "Bobleds."

 
Arika Okrent is editor-at-large at TheWeek.com and a frequent contributor to Mental Floss. She is the author of In the Land of Invented Languages, a history of the attempt to build a better language. She holds a doctorate in linguistics and a first-level certification in Klingon.

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