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Better dates pushed 1954 cent out of spotlight

At $17.50 in MS-65, the 1954 Lincoln cent currently looks to be a bit better than many other Lincoln cent dates from the 1950s. However, it is hard to use the grading services to show that it is less available than other Lincoln cents from the same time. Even if the coin comes back as an MS-65, it is financially pointless to have them graded since the price of grading is more than the coin is worth.

The possibility that the 1954 might be better than some other dates of the period would be due to a number of factors, some of which may also apply to other Lincoln cents.

There is a very traditional reason why the 1954 might be better, and that is a mintage of 71,873,350. While that total does not sound especially low, it was well below average for a cent in the 1950s.

The 1954 would not attract much if any attention as there were lower mintages, although only a couple. The 1949-S had a mintage of more than 64 million and the 1955-S was also lower at 44,610,000.

The 1955-S enters into the picture because in the 1950s the Lincoln cent was the most popular collection with many young collectors. As a general rule with the Lincoln cent, San Francisco dates tended to be lower mintage. As a result, there was a significant focus on any S-mint Lincoln cents. Rolls of mixed dates from San Francisco sold for much higher prices than rolls from Denver or Philadelphia, and it was just natural that between two Lincoln cents with basically the same mintage, the one from San Francisco would receive more attention than the other.

The 1955-S was heavily hoarded as it had the added advantage of being what everyone thought was the last cent produced in San Francisco. That fact alone would have probably cut into the amount of saving of the 1954.

By 1954, collectors and dealers were all excited by the 1950-D Jefferson nickel with its record low mintage for a Jefferson nickel of 2,630,030. It was rising rapidly in price and it could not be found in circulation in any numbers, which seemed to suggest it was going to go to even higher prices.

With everyone trying to acquire the 1950-D, that left relatively little money for other new issues such as the 1954 cent. Moreover, as is seen in the other mintages, even if there was money for things like rolls of dates other than the 1950-D Jefferson nickel, those funds were not likely to be spent on the 1954 Lincoln cent even if it looked to be slightly better than most Lincoln cents of the time.

Besides, if anyone needed a 1954 Lincoln cent, they could be found in the year proof or mint sets. However, it should be pointed out that the sales of such sets at the time were very low with the combined total being less than 300,000. So realistically, there are potentially no large supplies of the 1954.

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