In 1960 the Mint created a lot of excitement when it produced a small and large date Lincoln cent variety. Even people who didn’t collect coins heard about the two varieties and began looking for the scarcer small date variety. Pretty soon, the small date variety coins were commanding strong premiums over the large date varieties.
Newspapers reported people obtaining $50 bags of the small date varieties and selling them for huge premiums, sometimes just over $10,000 for a bag containing 5,000 Lincoln cents each. That’s $2 for each cent or 200 times its face value.
The 1960 Small Date variety will have a smaller 0 digit and be oval in shape in the inside of the 0. The top of the 9 digit is lower and almost flush with the 1 digit as opposed to being larger and higher like on the large date variety.
MS60 – MS63: In MS60 to MS63 they are not scarce based off condition. However, they are scarce once compared to the large date variety and still bring about 150 times more than the large date variety. As of 2010, the large date variety commands about $1 for a BU roll, while a BU roll of the small date variety brings about $150.
MS64: In MS64 grade they are difficult to locate but can still be pulled from original rolls or purchased raw or graded.
MS65: They become a bit more scarce and hard to find in original rolls. But they can still be purchased inexpensively from coins that were pulled from mint sets and rolls.
MS66: There are probably not many left from mint sets as they have been looked through for the small date variety, specifically. In rolls, they become scarce to find and the odds are that they are much easier to find by purchasing an MS66 graded example. The odds of finding a small date MS66 from a roll are now very small.
MS67: This is a needle in a hay stack as the coins were saved in the early 1960’s and most of the nicest examples have already surfaced. This is the highest grade available with possibly less than a dozen or so examples available in this condition.