US Coins

1955 Lincoln Doubled Die cent turns heads

The ESM Collection of Lincoln Cents led the March 22 Rarities Night auction by Stack’s Bowers Galleries at the Whitman Baltimore Expo. Pete Miller’s collection was the current and all-time finest set of Lincoln Cents with Major Varieties in the Professional Coin Grading Service Set Registry. The collection’s top lot was one of just three known 1958 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cents, this piece graded PCGS Mint State 64 red, that brought $336,000. A 1969-S Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent graded PCGS MS-64 red with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker realized $126,000.

These weren’t the only stars, and here is another that stood out:


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The Lot:

1955 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse Cent, MS-65+ Red, green CAC sticker



The Price:

$114,000

The Story:

Among doubled die Lincoln cents, the 1955 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent is legendary, with doubling visible to the naked eye. This example, graded Mint State 65+ red and bearing a green CAC sticker, is the finest example graded by PCGS with full Mint red color; it sold for a hearty $114,000.  An estimated 24,000 examples were produced, of which around 3,000 to 4,000 survive today. Surprisingly, a press inspector at the Philadelphia Mint discovered the variety, but allowed the coins to be released anyway. As Stack’s Bowers writes, “There was no thought that these would have any special value, as at that time there was hardly any numismatic interest in what we call Mint errors today.”

There are multiple varieties of 1955 Lincoln, DDO cents and this one — cataloged as FS-101 in Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties — is the strongest. Deceptive counterfeits exist, as do genuine 1955 Lincoln cents with strike doubling, so third-party certification is recommended if you’re considering adding one to your collection.

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