US Coins

Bronze 1943-S Lincoln cent sells to new owner

One of five known bronze 1943-S Lincoln cents has been reported sold for an undisclosed sum in a private transaction March 2, less than two months after the sellers acquired the coin at public auction.

In 1943, the composition for Lincoln cents intended for production at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints was zinc-coated steel. The wrong metal strikes are the result of left-over blanks from 1942 production being retained in equipment and becoming mixed in with the zinc-coated steel blanks. The composition of blanks from 1909 to 1942 was bronze: 95 percent copper and 5 percent tin and zinc.

David McCarthy, senior numismatist for Kagin’s in Tiburon, Calif., confirmed March 3 that a private sale had taken place. McCarthy, on behalf of Kagin's, and Ron Karp from New York Gold Mart in Manhasset, had first acquired the coin Jan. 7, 2016, as the winning bidders in Heritage Auctions’ Florida United Numismatists convention sale in Tampa.

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The coin sold in the Heritage sale for $211,500, which includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.

In the auction, the coin was graded Professional Coin Grading Service Secure About Uncirculated 55. Subsequent to the sale, the coin holder was stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp., attesting to the coin’s quality, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said Kagin's and New York Gold Mart had expected to hold the coin for up to two years. Those plans changed, however, on March 2 when he stepped off the plane in Dallas enroute to the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show. McCarthy said that's when he discovered a message left on his cell phone from a client wishing to buy the cent at a price that McCarthy would not disclose but that couldn’t be passed up.

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McCarthy said the client wishes to remain anonymous but hopes to possibly display the coin publicly in the future.

Revised census

When the cent was offered in the Heritage sale in January, the auction lot description listed it as the third finest of six known examples. Additional research conducted by PCGS CoinFacts determined only five examples of the coin are known, one of the coins having been counted twice, according to PCGS CoinFacts President Ron Guth.

Among the known examples, “the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. AU-53 is the same as the old PCGS Extremely Fine 45,” Guth said. “They were once listed as two different specimens.”

The five examples known are:

??PCGS Mint State 62 brown, reportedly found in a Mint-sewn bag supposed to contain 5,000 1943-S zinc-coated steel cents. From the Bob R. Simpson Collection.

??PCGS AU-58, CAC, a duplicate from the Simpson Collection that sold in Heritage Auctions' Feb. 4 to 5, 2016, sale for $282,000.

??PCGS Secure AU-55, CAC, the coin just sold by Kagin's and New York Gold Mart in a private transaction March 2, 2016, having originally appeared in an unspecific auction in the 1980s.

??PCGS EF-45 estimated grade, the discovery coin, found by 14-year-old California collector Kenneth S. Wing Jr. Now in the Kerry Rudin Collection.

??PCGS Very Fine 35, last sold by Heritage in November 2013 for $141,000. Current owner not publicly known.

McCarthy says he expects the top three bronze 1943-S cents will likely remain off the market for years.

Eight confirmed examples are known of the bronze 1943 Lincoln cent from the Philadelphia Mint, according to Guth, and only one example of a bronze 1943-D Lincoln cent from the Denver Mint.


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