Coin sold for 5c actually worth $40,000

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01 December 2020
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A San Francisco collector who sold his large coin collection to a dealer for around 5 cents per coin, has been told that one of the coins in the collection was worth an estimated $40,000, with the honest dealer returning the rarity to its owner.

Over the past fifty years, the San Francisco collector accumulated thousands of Lincoln Cents from change, friends and by searching rolls. He never found anything of note, and ended up selling the whole collection for a few hundred dollars, equaling about 5 cents per coin.

Coin sold for 5 cents actually worth $40,000

The dealer who purchased the coins eventually sorted through the collection and, to his surprise, discovered an uncirculated 1969-S Lincoln Cent which turned out to be the very scarce Doubled Die variety, of which less than 100 coins are known in all grades.

The dealer kindly called the collector who sold him the collection, and arranged to return the coin to him. Although he never told the collector the estimated value, he made him aware that the coin was very valuable, and certainly should not be sold before it could be professionally graded and authenticated.

Now US auction house GreatCollections are offering the coin in their December sale.

Honest coin dealer deserves praise

Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections said:

'Although there are many reproductions and even genuine coins with inconsequential machine doubling, we knew instantly the coin was the major doubled die and genuine, and arranged for the coin to be graded by PCGS. The elderly owner of the coin really hit the jackpot that after selling the coin for 5 cents, the honest dealer returned it to him without question. While the dealer is wishing to remain anonymous at this point in time, I hope one day to be able to disclose his name, since he deserves praise for how he handled the transaction.'

Professional CoinGrading Service (PCGS), graded the coin within a few days, and assigned the grade of PCGS MS-63+ RD, ranking it as the fourth finest graded of the variety.

Doubled date variety

A Doubled Die variety of a coin refers to a duplication of design elements on the working die used to mint coins. If the striking of the die was slightly misaligned, the end result is the impression of two imprints on the final coin. The most prominent doubled dies can be seen with the naked eye, such as this 1969-S variety.

The encapsulated coin is being featured in the 13 December auction by GreatCollections and is being sold without reserve. It is expected to realise in excess of $40,000 (approximately £30,000) when the bidding has finished.


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