I need help.
A friend of mine asked me to look over an "inherited and abandoned" collection of coins. A strange design on the obverse of a 1924 Mercury dime caught my eye. (Please look at the attached two photos.)
What appears to be a vertical "branch" with little leaves on it goes up what should be a blank field behind Liberty's head. At first I thought it was caused by a stray wire of some sort that became welded to the face of the dime after being caught between the die and the planchet, but a closer look has convinced me that it is not extraneous metal but is integral to the basic metal of the coin.
My (amateur) guess is that it was caused by multiple gouges in the obverse die that produced this design.
I would very much appreciate your advice and opinions on the following:
1.) Is this the sort of error that is of interest to collectors?
2.) Who, or what agency, is appropriate to examine the coin and render an opinion as to cause and authenticity?
The dime obviously escaped the mint and shows signs of normal wear (it's at least VG). It would seem (to me) that others might have escaped also. Have you ever seen other 1924 dimes like this?