Thanks to the 1973-S Lincoln cent, today I have a life.
I purchased about five original bags of this date and mint mark. It took me months to go through each and every coin. I never found one coin that would grade higher than MS65 Red.
After the countless hours which I spent for months trying to find an MS66 example, I finally realized that it was a just a matter of luck. You were either very lucky to buy a bag which contained some really nice examples or not. The latter is probably the most common since the 1973-S is a notorious coin in the Lincoln cent series for having problems.
After I searched most of the 1973-S Lincoln cent bags, I gave up on searching for coins through bags and rolls for a very long time. I took a break for about a year and a half after this, before I searched through any more bags or rolls.
The main problem with the 1973-S are the nicks which are on the planchets. For some reason the Mint must have dumped these planchets at a faster speed into hoppers or at a further distance than other dates since most coins are plagued with contact marks.
Other things that make the 1973-S Lincoln cents difficult to find in high grades of MS65 or higher are because of the improper mixture of the copper and zinc alloys. This coin tends to have a splotchy appearance and with interrupted luster.
The 1973-S is the third toughest Lincoln cent after 1930 from all mints, to find in MS66 grades. The only tougher dates from 1930 to date in MS66 grade or higher, are the 1962-D which is the second toughest and with the 1963 being the most toughest to find in MS66 Red.
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