August 6, 1999
There are several Lincoln cent varieties that I believe are underrated in terms of popularity, dealer promotion and value. The first piece that comes to mind is the 1961-D over Horizontal D variety. While A Guide Book of United States Coins (the “Red Book”) by R. S. Yeoman has carried a listing for a significantly less spectacular 1909-S over Horizontal S Lincoln cent variety (and a number of other Vertical over Horizontal or Vertical over Inverted varieties), the editors have consistently ignored the 1961-D variety. It's as if a Memorial cent can get no respect because it's "modern." Whatever the reason, this is a coin to watch as I can almost guarantee that it will catch on some day and shoot up into the $50 plus category for nice uncirculated specimens.
While not ignored by the catalogers of variety books, the 1971 doubled- die Lincoln cent is another variety that never seemed to have caught on with the collecting public or dealers. For my money, at least in the early die states, I feel it should have easily captured the attention of dealers and collectors and be selling in the $200 to $500 for MS63 to MS65 examples. However, in the Quick Reference to the Top Lincoln Cent Die Varieties by Wagnon, Peterson and Flynn, it trends at $100 and $175 in those grades and it's on few dealers want lists.
The variety exhibits very strong doubling on LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and nice doubling on the date. It's listed in the Variety Coin Register as VCR#1/DDO#1. If you don't own one of these yet I suggest that you obtain one now while it is still affordable, since it may just catch on like several other doubled dies that have been included in the "Red Book" in recent years.
Another severely underrated Lincoln cent doubled die is the 1935 listed as VCR#1/DDO#1. This variety features strong doubling of the date, GOD WE TRUST and Lincoln's eyelid. Few numismatists have ever seen an example of this variety in Mint State, much less in an uncirculated earlier die state, so It's not too surprising that recent books listing the top Lincoln cent varieties have missed it.
If you look hard enough you might be able to find a specialty dealer that has one of these for sale, but your best bet is to start with looking in your own collection!
Next time we'll look at a few more of the underrated Lincoln cent varieties.
Ken Potter is the official attributor and lister of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collector's Association of Die Doubling. He privately lists U.S. doubled dies and other collectable variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register.
For more information on either of the clubs, or on how to get a variety listed in the Variety Coin Register, send a self addressed stamped long envelope to Ken Potter, P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076-0232.
Doubled date, 'trust'