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Faceless dollar coin found near Denver

One of a group of the misstruck new presidential dollar coins, right, that has the "In God We Trust" lettering stamped on the edge (not visible in this orientation), but showing no presidential face, is displayed next to a new presidential dollar showing President George Washington, left, at the Professional Coin Grading Service offices in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, March 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

DENVER --Mary and Ray Smith can't make heads or tails of a new presidential dollar coin they found last week. It doesn't have either.

A week after the revelation that some of the coins slipped out of the U.S. Mint without "In God We Trust" stamped on the edge, the Smiths said Tuesday they found one with nothing stamped on either flat side.

It does have "In God We Trust" on the edge. What's missing is the image of George Washington on the front and the Statue of Liberty on the back. Instead, the Smiths' coin is just smooth, shiny metal.

"We're just so excited," Mary Smith told The Associated Press. "I'm just dumbfounded that we actually found something significant."

Mint spokesman Michael White said officials had not confirmed the Smiths' find. But Ron Guth, a coin authenticator with Professional Coin Grading Service of Newport Beach, Calif., said after examining it he is certain the coin is authentic.

"It's really pretty rare," Guth said. "It somehow slipped through several steps and inspections."

The couple, who live in Fort Collins north of Denver and collect coins, bought two rolls of the presidential dollars March 7 after hearing about the earlier mistake. Mary Smith said she thought they might find a "Godless" dollar of their own.

The faceless dollar could be worth thousands of dollars, maybe more, Guth said. The value will depend on how many similar misprints are found, but the Smiths' will always be worth more because it will be the first one independently authenticated, he said.

The first "Godless" coins went into circulation Feb. 15.

The Mint struck 300 million presidential coins, about half in Philadelphia and half in Denver. The Smiths' coin bears a D, meaning it was produced by the Denver Mint. The "Godless" coins were all believed to have come from the Philadelphia Mint.

The Smiths said that when they get their coin back from Guth, they'll stick it in a bank vault for at least a while.

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