Monday Morning Brief for May 30, 2022: A new cent overdate
- Published: May 30, 2022, 7 AM
The stunning news that a group of some of the finest die variety experts in the hobby have identified a new “overdate” 1943-S Lincoln cent is a reminder that new discoveries can be made at any time, even in a series as closely scrutinized by numismatists as the Lincoln cent. Whether the claim will be widely accepted and the coin be listed as an overdate in standard price guides is unanswered.
The coin in question is a long known 1943-S Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent. However, as former Coin World staff member Thomas DeLorey writes, it was reassessed as a 1943/1942-S Lincoln cent. Even though now it is being identified as an overdate, it also remains a doubled die variety, just of a different class, with hubs of two different dates being used to produce the obverse die that struck the variety.
Is the claim that the coin is an overdate the “final answer”? Of course not.
The announcement, published online in several venues, is drawing scrutiny both supportive and skeptical of the claim. That is as it should be. The reporting of any new die variety needs to be examined closely by other experts. Peer review is important in all scientific fields, and numismatics, the science of coins and like objects, is no different. It is important for additional experts to examine the evidence presented in DeLorey’s article and make observations of additional examples of the coin to determine whether they are in agreement.
Grading services and price guide publishers will have to weigh all the evidence before committing to listing the coin as the 1943/1942-S Lincoln cent. That is what we will be doing with Coin World’s Coin Values.
Typically, before reporting a significant new discovery, Coin World considers the source(s) of the claim. We generally wait for one or several of the major grading services or a group of acknowledged experts to support the claim before publishing the news. Since the numismatists identifying the coin as an overdate — Tom DeLorey, Bill Fivaz, David Lange, John Wexler and Dr. James Wiles — compose a hobby “dream team” of variety experts, we are comfortable with publishing the report. Few are more knowledgeable in the field of die varieties; most have written books on the subject. Their observations are not to be dismissed lightly.
But now the peer review begins.
As one collector wrote on our Facebook page about the report of the discovery, “Guruism has no place in numismatic research.” The writer states, “I’m not convinced” and then lists the various diagnostics before saying, “This is a 1943 S double die, not an overdate. The ‘experts’ here were too anxious to declare they found some Holy Grail.”
There is nothing wrong with being skeptical of the initial claims. For example, controversy and differences of opinion still surround the various “overdate” 1914/3 Indian Head 5-cent coins. Some price guides list the most prominent variety (including ours), but some experts do not believe them to be true overdates.
Getting widespread hobby agreement on these claims will be vital before the 1943/1942-S Lincoln cent should be listed in standard price guides as an overdate. Overdates tend to bring higher prices than normal coins of the same date. If the cent is widely confirmed as an overdate and makes it into price guides, do not be surprised if the coin starts selling for more than it has been as the FS-101 doubled die variety. If it ever makes it into the set registry listings maintained by Numismatic Guaranty Co. and Professional Coin Grading Service, expect prices to rise even more.
One thing is certain, though.
Collectors and dealers will be searching through collections and inventories for additional examples. It helps that the coin has long been identified as a doubled die variety and has been included in collections as such. The experts will be able to look at additional coins for evidence that further supports the overdate claim or debunks it.
Start searching, and let us know what you find.
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