Jaime Hernandez: In my early twenties I searched at least three original bags of 1963-D Lincoln cents containing 5,000 coins each. I had these coins all laid out on the kitchen table and on the floor. My three children at the time, were so happy because for months, they got to eat in the living room and watch t.v at the same time. In fact, my wife was so upset that while I was at work one day, she got one of these searched bags and dumped all the coins inside metal buckets and then transported them to a local CoinStar machine throughout several trips. Each searched bag still had a value of about four times face value, if sold as BU rolls.
Despite me searching original bags for this date and mint mark, I never found one example that would grade higher than MS64 inside those bags. However, I knew there were examples in MS66 since I had seen them in holders before.
The 1963-D Lincoln cent is the toughest Lincoln cent from 1930 to date to find in MS66 Red condition, even tougher then the 1931-S in MS66 Red! The second toughest Lincoln cent in MS66 Red after 1930, is the 1962-D and with the 1973-S being the third toughest in MS66 grades.
Most 1963-D Lincoln cents are found with nicks, specks, spots and scratches. They are also very weakly struck and are very dull and lack luster in their appearance. A few coins can be found with some decent luster but more than likely, the coin will be plagued by one of the other aforementioned defects.
Years after I searched the original bags, I decided to go on a quest and started buying up hundreds of original rolls of this date and mint mark setting a $6 budget for each roll, or less if I could find them cheaper. I did this for about four years, as I just couldn’t stand the fact that I never found an MS66 but I strongly believed there was still some out there.
Many times, I would stay up until three in the morning searching through these original rolls trying to find nice examples. I always felt I was getting closer and closer, since by that time, I was able to find some coins that appeared to be MS65.
A couple of more months went by of searching rolls, when I finally hit the mother load. I found a nice original roll which contained several coins which still had grease from when the coins were originally struck. More than likely, this is what protected the coins when they were being sorted, shipped and handled from the Mint and to the Federal Reserve and even into the canvas bags, which eventually made it into rolls and into circulation.
Some of the coins that I found in that roll had a rich nice dark mahogany red toning on them, which made them stand out just because of the color itself. Most of the coins also displayed strong reflective and eye appealing luster.
In that roll, I found some of the nicest 1963-D Lincoln cents that I have ever seen and probably one of them was close to being an MS67. From that roll, I sold eight coins as MS66 Red for over $625 each, with the possible MS67 selling for over $900. I netted about $5,500 because of that one roll. However, I did lose a significant amount of money on all the bags and rolls that I originally paid a premium for. Eventually, I then placed the searched coins back in paper rolls and sold them as BU coins.
After all the time I spent purchasing, searching and selling the coins, I did end up making a significant amount of money. But to me, the 1963-D Lincoln cent is a very special coin to me personally. And mostly because I spent so much of my time searching through them, not just because I was able to make money from my venture.
Every time I see a 1963-D Lincoln cent surface in MS66 grade, I take the time to go inspect it and make a good mental memory of its appearance, as it takes me years back to when I use to search for them in the family kitchen.