US Coins

Common 1988-D Lincoln cent valuable at MS-68 red: Market Analysis

A conditionally rare 1988-D Lincoln cent graded MS-68 red sold for $467.50 at a May 24 auction.

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The modern segment of the U.S. coin market continues to grow, and a large part of the demand is being driven by third-party grading services including Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. These firms have Registry Set programs that allow collectors to place their coin sets in competition with other collectors and First Strike and Early Release programs that acknowledge coins released by the U.S. Mint during the first 30 days of a coin’s issue. Here are three low population modern issues that recently brought exciting prices in auctions.

The Coin 

1988-D Lincoln Cent, MS-68 red

The Price 


The Story 

With a mintage of 5,253,740,443 pieces, a 1988-D Lincoln cent is usually anything but rare. However, in top Mint State grades, nearly all circulation strike Lincoln cents are in demand from Registry Set collectors.

PCGS has graded 25 1988-D cents in MS-68 red and another 272 in MS-67 red. While MS-67 red coins can sell for $15 to $20, those a point higher are coveted, and on May 24, sold one for $467.50. At an April 5 auction, the firm sold a different example for the same amount.

The two coins had sequential PCGS serial numbers, showing that they were submitted together. As more of these coins go to grading services, the population numbers for these conditionally rare issues will increase, but the number of collectors interested in these condition rarities may also increase.

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