Numismatists tend to prize coins that are pristine and that are in as
close to perfect condition as they possibly can be. A coin graded as a
perfect Mint State 70 can be a treasured rarity, while a coin of the
same date and Mint mark combination graded MS-63, a lesser condition,
could be considered common.
A circulated Lincoln cent dated 1965, for example, is worth face
value, while 1965 Lincoln cents graded MS-67 red, a high grade of
Uncirculated for the date, will routinely sell for hundreds of
dollars. The reason for that is something known as condition rarity.
A coin that may be plentiful in average condition may be extremely
rare in the highest grades of preservation, and often that rarity can
dictate a coin’s value to a collector and hence, its price.
Now, this month’s fun find is not being shown for its ability to
knock our socks off condition-wise, as it is certainly not a high
grade example. This coin, in fact, would have to come up a few grades
just to reach About Good 3.
This coin, however, is being featured as an example of one of the
most worn Lincoln cents that I have ever found in a roll.
That may not mean much to many collectors, since the worth of this
cent as a collectible might be less than the value of the dust on my
desk, but I like the coin as an example of one that has had a full,
rich and rewarding life.
Identifiable as a Lincoln, Wheat Ears cent, its date is visible, up
to a point. I am able to make out the digits 191_. Any more than that
would be an educated guess, but I will try to go further.
The portion of Lincoln’s bust just below the shoulder has no
evidence of the VDB (Victor David Brenner) designer’s initials. Of
course evidence of the VDB could have been worn off the coin, but the
shape of that part of the bust is slightly narrower on pre-1918 issues
and this coin seems to have a more narrow base to the bust.
Since the VDB initials were removed from the cent’s reverse design
beginning in 1909 and restored to the coin, though at the base of
Lincoln’s bust, in 1918, this cent was likely minted between 1910 and 1917.
Based upon a few strange effects of lighting as I examined the coin,
the splotch of nothing that would be the last digit of the date just
feels like a 4 to me. So, 1914?
As also an example of condition rarity, I think that this fun find
should also be worth a fortune.
What do you think?
to share your thoughts on this story.
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