The numismatic hobby was abuzz when New York collector Jim Gullen discovered on July 18, 1990, that the Lincoln cent in his 1990-S Proof set was missing the S Mint mark of the San Francisco Mint.
In the more than two decades since, fewer than 200 examples have been located.
The coin is one of 1,940 lots to be offered in four floor sessions July 10 and 11 in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists Summer Convention in Orlando.
The convention and auction are being held at the Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse, 9800 International Drive.
Examples of the 1990-S Lincoln, No S cents were found not only in the 1990-S Proof sets, but also in 1990-S Prestige Proof sets, which contained a 1990-S Eisenhower commemorative silver dollar and a regular Proof set.
Approximately 3,700 of the No S Proof cents were struck, with U.S. Mint officials confirming that 145 were located and destroyed before leaving the San Francisco Mint.
The U.S. Mint in 1985 abandoned the practice of punching the Mint marks into working dies, opting to place the Mint mark on the working hubs.
The 1990 No S cents were struck with a circulation-strike die that was processed as a Proof die. The die had been shipped from the Philadelphia Mint without benefit of the S Mint mark. Lincoln cents struck at the Philadelphia Mint bear no Mint mark.
Within months after the discovery, complete sets containing the No S cent were trading for as high as $3,000.
Heritage sold another PCGS Proof 69, red, Deep Cameo 1990-S Lincoln, No S cent during its FUN sale Jan. 9 for $19,975, which includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.
For more information on the sale, visit Heritage Auctions online, telephone 800-872-6467, or write the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219.
Read more of Coin World's Summer FUN auction previews:
- 1907 Indian Head, Wire Rim, With Periods gold $10 eagle
- 1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar, O-101a variety
- 1859 Seated Liberty transitional dime