US Coins

Violet and blue Matte Proof 1914 cent realizes $6,000

Heritage’s March 14 to 16 Dallas Signature Auction realized many surprisingly strong prices across a broad spectrum of collecting categories, including for top-grade Lincoln cents.

Matte Proof Lincoln cents are a tricky area for collectors. They can be identified by their velvety surfaces, squared off rims and bold details, but they also can be easily confused with circulation strikes.

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The Matte Proof Lincoln cents were struck between 1909 — the first year of issue — and 1916, with rumors of clandestinely produced 1917 issues persisting. 

Leonard Albrecht wrote of the diagnostics of Matte Proof 1914 Lincoln cents in the October 1983 issue of The Numismatist and his close study is indispensable to collectors today. He observed two die states on the obverse: the early die state with a die chip above the first 1 in the date, die polish above WE and around LIBERTY. On later die states there is heavy die polish — showing up as raised vertical lines — under Lincoln’s chin. 

The offered cent was graded Proof 67 brown by Professional Coin Grading Service, although the colors are much more varied, with violet undertones and rich blue seen on both sides. The strike is bold as one would expect for a Proof coin, and the surfaces are pristine, consistent with the grade. It sold for $6,000 on March 14.

The next day, another example with similarly striking purple-blue color graded PCGS Proof 66 brought $3,240.

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