According to coin dealer Chuck Wishon Sr., he and longtime numismatic expert J.T Stanton visited the Denver Mint sometime in 1996, where an employee showed them examples of a 1995-D Double Die Lincoln Cent. The United States Mint employee told them the doubled dies he showed them were intentionally struck in order to educate mint employees on what a doubled die coin looked like.
Today, we don’t know if the 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cents that have been found in circulation are part of that group of intentionally struck doubled dies from the Denver Mint. But knowing that some 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cents were struck intentionally only adds mystery to these coins.
The 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cent has significantly strong doubling in the inscription “IN GOD WE TRUST,” on the date “1995,” and on the “D” mintmark. As of today, the 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cent is considered a very scarce variety. Despite the variety’s scarcity, many collectors don’t even realize this doubled die exists, while many others confuse it as being the more common 1995-P Doubled Die Lincoln Cent. The difference between both coins is easy to spot, particularly as the Denver coins have the “D” mintmark while the Philadelphia Doubled Die Lincoln Cents have no mintmark.
At PCGS, we have graded a total of 70 different 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cents in all grades combined. Compare this to the total number of coins we have graded for the 1995-P Doubled Die Lincoln Cent, a figure that currently stands at 11,952. So, if we use the PCGS Population Report, the 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cent is about 170 times scarcer than the more common 1995-P Doubled Die. Also, keep in mind, there are possibly still thousands of uncertified 1995-P Doubled Die Lincoln Cents that have never been graded, as some examples are worth a very small premium and thus some collectors may not have pursued getting them encapsulated.
Fortunately, collectors don’t have to pay 170 times (or more) the price of a Philadelphia-minted 1995 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent to obtain a 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cent. For example, a 1995-P Doubled Die Cent graded in PCGS MS65RD sells for about $40, yet the scarcer 1995-D Doubled Die trades for about $450 in the same MS65RD condition.
The only problem is that finding a 1995-D Doubled Die Lincoln Cent can prove to be very difficult. If we look at PCGS CoinFacts, we show only 10 total examples that have ever sold at auction. And four of these auctions happen to have been held in 2019 and 2020. Based on the auction data, it may be a long time before another example shows up. If you are one of the fortunate collectors who have been able to buy one in the past, congratulations on owning a very scarce variety that has some great mystery behind it. As we will probably just never know if they were intentionally struck by the Denver Mint!