US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Feb. 18, 2019

NGC has confirmed a second example of the bronze 1982-D Lincoln, Small Date cent.

Images courtesy of NGC.

A lot of collectors dream of making a big find, of finding buried treasure like the couple who discovered the Saddle Ridge hoard in 2013, or the collector who found an 1829 Capped Bust, Curl Base 2 dime in a bulk lot purchased on eBay (reported in our Feb. 25 issue), or as reported this week by senior editor Paul Gilkes, a 1982-D Lincoln, Small Date bronze cent. 

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My personal best finds are a 1913-S Barber dime, found decades ago in my mother’s suitcase from her youth, and a 1906 Barber dime received back in change at a local gas station a few years ago. The 1913-S dime is a semi-key piece, having the second lowest mintage for circulation strikes in the entire series. The 1906 dime received in change was well worn and not worth much, but it nonetheless was a neat circulation find for me.

As late as the 1940s and 1950s, collectors hoped to have some chance of finding such key dates as the 1909-S Lincoln, V.D.B. cent and 1914-D Lincoln cent, or a 1916-D Winged Liberty Head dime. Some did, many did not, but a lack of good luck never stopped anyone from continuing the search.

While we do not know the identity of the finder of the 1982-D Lincoln, Small Date bronze cent, it is likely that the coin was plucked out of circulation after a search that probably involved hundreds or thousands of coins and lasted for years. It is a great find. The coin is headed to auction and very likely will sell for a five-figure price.

The finder, whoever he or she is, did the right thing in submitting it for authentication. Coins of this caliber always benefit from expert authentication and grading, which is what I say to readers on a fairly regular basis. I take phone calls and email from collectors regularly who hope they have struck it rich with a coin that they have found. Often they have not, but sometimes they have a winner.

Columnist Bill O’Rourke, who writes the “Found in Rolls” column for our weekly issues, spends much of his hobby time searching through rolls of coins and finding silver pieces, scarce die varieties, foreign coins and even tokens. The column remains a favorite among readers wanting to learn about a fellow collector’s good fortune.

For those who search their change for rare varieties, errors and designs, keep looking. You never know when your dream might come true.  

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