As regular readers know, here at USCoinNews I rarely post on coin auctions. It isn’t that they aren’t an important part of our hobby, but I’ve always focused on the “average collector” and most of us simply cannot afford these types of coins. But every once in a while an auction happens that is just to good to pass up. This week, one of those happened on a Double Die 1955 Lincoln Cent. This error is perhaps the most famous of Cent errors.
GreatCollections.com held an auction for what is the highest known graded for a 1955 Lincoln Cent Double Die. PCGS graded the coin at MS-65+RD (Red) and it was also recognized by CAC. At the end, the coin sold for an eye watering $124,875.
To put this in perspective, according to Zillow, the average home price in the United States is $282,000. So half a house. In one coin. Amazing.
Here is the full Press Release from GreatCollections.com on the coin and the sale that happened this week.
March 2, 2020. Irvine, Calif. – A very rare 1955 penny which was struck with a doubled die sold for a new world record price of $124,875 at an unreserved auction by GreatCollections on Sunday, March 1st.
The auctioned coin is the finest known of the famous U.S. error and was graded MS-65+ RD by PCGS, the leading third-party grading service for rare coins. It was also approved by CAC, another third-party company who reviews coins for originality and condition. It last traded at an auction in 2018, where it brought $114,000, another world record at the time, far surpassing the third-highest price of $62,100 for an example sold in 2005.
Major doubled die varieties occur on a dozen different years between 1909 and 1995. They are caused by the coin’s die being struck more than once with a hub, while being rotated at a small angle. The result is a very clear doubling of IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY and the date 1955 that can be seen with the naked eye.
It is estimated up to 40,000 of the error were struck one evening at the Philadelphia Mint in 1955. While employees of the U.S. Mint noticed the error on some of the coins being released in circulation, they were already mixed with millions of regular pennies, and it was decided to be too much trouble to try to retrieve each of the error coins. After being released into circulation, many of the error coins were discovered in change from vending machines.
There was significant press at the time, not to mention coin dealers offering an immediate profit to those lucky enough to find the error, and as a result it is estimated up to 10,000-15,000 exist today in varying condition from average circulated to Mint State/uncirculated grades. A typical example in low grade Mint State/uncirculated can sell for $2,000-$3,000.
Ian Russell, president/owner of GreatCollections said, “This is one of the most famous of U.S. coins and being the single finest, it attracted a lot of attention from serious collectors and dealers over the past few weeks. The winning bidder is a serious Lincoln Cent collector from the East Coast. While we do not disclose individual bidders’ identities, the underbidders could combine to form the who’s who of American numismatics.”Ian Russel, GreatCollections
Russell continued, “Over 140 registered bidders were actively tracking the 1955 Doubled Die, and the listing attracted over 6,000 page views – all while the financial markets were having one of their worst weeks in history, proving how immune the rare coin market is to the global stock markets and economy.”
Other highlights sold by GreatCollections on March 1st include a 1915-S Panama-Pacific Gold $50 Round Commemorative that realized $88,749 and the finest 1888-O Morgan Silver Dollar that sold for $34,031.
The original auction listing can be viewed at:
GreatCollections is an auction house for certified coins and paper money, as well as coins approved by CAC, handling coin/banknote transactions from start to finish. For sellers, GreatCollections offers professional imaging for each coin/note, cash advances as appropriate, extensive marketing and other individualized services generally not available with other auction houses and websites, freeing the seller to do nothing except collect the proceeds of the sale. Buyers benefit by entrusting a venue whose principals have years of numismatic experience and whose reputations in the industry are impeccable. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections in a member of the prestigious PNG (#785) and Life Member of the American Numismatic Association, while the company is an authorized submitter to PCGS, CAC and member of the National Auctioneers Association. Calif. Auctioneer Bond #106582267.