US Coins

Lincoln cents from the Duckor collection shine at Heritage auction

Although COVID-19 forced relocation of Heritage’s April 23 and 24 auctions, once planned for the floor of the suburban Chicago convention of the Central States Numismatic Society, to its Dallas headquarters, bidders came ready to buy a group of choice Lincoln cents from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Steven Duckor. 

The Duckor family name is attached to many U.S. coin series. As Heritage explains, the collector is focused on value. “Each collection is carefully crafted with attention to the things that create real value: Quality at the highest level, spectacular eye appeal, original surfaces, and nuances that make all the difference among the finest of the fine.” 

The Duckor Lincoln cent collection comprised the dates from 1909 to 1933. Each of the cents had a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the grade. 

The top lot of the consignment was a 1916-D Lincoln cent graded Mint State 67 red by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green CAC sticker that sold for $50,400, an amount equal to what it realized when offered at Heritage’s January 2019 Florida Numismatists auction, then without CAC approval. Many of the nearly 36 million cents produced at the Denver Mint in 1916 were struck from worn dies, and the average eye appeal of the typical Mint State survivor is modest, with many showing a weak strike, mushy details from the worn die, or excessive spotting. 

Heritage observes about the offered cent, “Finely textured, satiny copper-orange surfaces showcase complete design definition.” The cataloger continued, “One hair-thin tick appears above IT in UNITED and another occurs on the reverse rim at 7:30,” adding, “These are merely pedigree markers, there are no other discernible flaws.” 

The strong price exceeded prices for better-known issues in the auction, like a key 1914-D Lincoln cent in MS-65 red that realized $28,800 and an always-popular 1909-S Lincoln V.D.B. cent in MS-66+ red, both certified by PCGS and carrying green CAC stickers, that brought $24,000. 

Tough S-Mint Lincoln cents

Two CAC-stickered, PCGS-certified San Francisco Mint Lincoln cents — a 1923-S cent in MS-65 red and a 1928-S cent graded MS-66 red — tied for the runner-up position among the Duckor cents, each realizing $45,600. 

The 1923-S Lincoln cent is rare in top Mint State grades. PCGS has graded just 16 in MS-65 red with one plus-graded coin that is the finest certified at the service. The Duckor coin last sold at a June 2018 Heritage auction for $66,000, and at that time it was the finest-certified. Since that sale, PCGS certified an MS-65+ red cent that sold at a 2019 Legend auction for $67,562.50, establishing the auction record for the issue. 

Duckor’s 1928-S Lincoln cent in MS-66 red is tied with four others as the finest-certified at PCGS and is one of just two of these with a green CAC stickers. Heritage points out its rarity by comparing it to a well-known collection, writing, “Even the D.L. Hansen Registry Set settles for an MS65+ red example, which has until the present moment been the finest [of] this issue [that] has been available for years.” 

The firm predicted, “It is a coin that has the capacity to crack the price record for the 1928-S, which we set back in 2006 at $36,800.” Heritage was right, and like the 1923-S cent, it sold for $45,600. 

Uncommonly nice 1919

A 1919 Lincoln cent graded MS-68 was offered in an older, green-label PCGS holder, like many cents in the collection, and is one of 17 like-graded examples at PCGS, with a single MS-69 piece that is the finest-known. Heritage praises the cent as “sharp and luminous, yielding untouched frosty luster with no discernible carbon spotting,” further noting, “Coloration transitions between rose-red, orange, gold, and faint greenish hues, all within the scope of the Red category.” 

While a common date within the series — and one that is frequently seen in high grades — the visual appeal of this one was undeniable. It brought $12,000 at the April 23 Platinum Night session.

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