The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 41, October 13, 2019, Article 21


I enjoyed an article published this week by Josh McMorrow-Hernandez on the CDN Publishing site. It's about popular varieties of the Lincoln Memorial Cent. As a collector born the year before the Memorial Cents appeared, I've always been more of a Wheat Cent guy. Those are the coins I pushed into the holes of my blue Whitman folders as a kid. But of course time marches on, and collecting Memorial Cents today can be just as interesting. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Lincoln Memorial Cent reverse Lincoln cents are arguably the most popular United States series around (shhh… don't tell Morgan dollar enthusiasts I said that). Lincoln pennies are plentiful in change jars, coin folders, and five-gallon buckets from Bangor, Maine to Los Angeles, California, and beyond, and they're perhaps the most widely collected American coin, even among coin collectors overseas in foreign lands. Countless collectors love Lincoln cents, and they're often seeking well-known rare wheat pennies such as the 1909-S VDB, 1911-S, 1914-D, 1924-D, and 1931-S. Then there's the famous 1922 "plain" cent, a rare Denver-minted issue that due to some die retooling appears sans "D" mintmark. Finally, we have the 1943 bronze cent, 1944 steel cent, and 1955 doubled die cent—the two former of those being six-figure transitional errors and the last serving as the most famous doubled die variety in numismatics.

But what about Lincoln Memorial cents? Like their "wheat ears" predecessors, Lincoln Memorial cents are now also an obsolete series, having been first struck 60 years ago in 1959 and retired in 2008. The subtype was replaced in 2010 by the Union Shield type reverse. Dealers have seen an onslaught of pre-1982 bronze cents come in by the bucketful in recent years, as the numismatic community recognizes the potential value these bronze cents have, especially if melting them for their copper content becomes legal again. With current metal prices, bronze Lincoln Memorial cents struck through early 1982 boasts about 2 cents of intrinsic copper value.

But there's so much more to love about Lincoln Memorial cents than their potential bullion payout. While there may not be any major regular-issue rarities among the Lincoln Memorial cent series, there are many varieties that are worth much more than their bronze value—some pieces trade into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars apiece.

Here's my favorite of the group, but see the article for the full list. -Editor

1969-S-Double-Die Memorial Cent 1969-S Doubled Die – Eclipsed by the 1955 doubled die cent in popularity but not in rarity or price, the 1969-S doubled die easily claims the top spot as the most valuable Lincoln Memorial cent. Fewer than 100 authentic examples are believed to exist (far fewer than the 10,000 to 15,000 surviving 1955 doubled die cents). While extremely rare, 1969-S doubled die cents have appeared, even in recent years, in the most ordinary of places, including an unemployed woman's 1995 discovery of the coin in pocket change and the variety's 2007 appearance in an unsearched roll of 1969-S Lincoln cents by collector Michael Tremonti. The rare variety has scored several five- and six-figure auction appearances in recent years, including the headline-worthy sale of an MS64RD specimen at an April 2018 Stack's Bowers auction in which the coin took a whopping $126,000. However, among 1969-S doubled die cents, RB specimens are more common; MS63RB specimens are listed in CPG at $60,500 while MS64RBs notch $90,800 apiece.

You know, for an obsolete series I'm still seeing quite a lot of Memorial Cents in my change. And many of them are bright red, like they're been hidden aware for years and only now coming into circulation. I'm in Northern Virginia. Are people noticing this elsewhere in the country? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Did you know about all 13 different Lincoln Memorial cent varieties? (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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