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E-Newsletter responses 3

From the Oct. 25 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

If you had the money, would you pay $100,000 for a rare 1969-S doubled-die cent?

Here are the answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.


Dave, in a word, never. I would pay $30,000 for the piece at this time, if I had the dough, but never $100,000 at this time. Maybe 20 years from now I would go $100,000. Coins now are heading the way of much of the other commodities in this country.  The greed factor has set into the national population at warp speed.

Coin collecting for the past 40 years up until about three years ago, had enjoyed a mellowing type of increase in prices yearly. This is good for the hobby and sales of coins for dealers. Now that the idiotic, foolish way of buying has set in (which involves outrageous and wreckless spending), coin collecting might just be due for a good fall. Gold and silver have sharply risen just as they did in 1980, and that made coin collecting peak in popularity for a while, during that time. Consequently, prices of coins were up sharply (but not crazily and astronomically as now), 27 years ago, but then subsided. 

Today?s prices are even more inflated due to maniacal hype of everything in this country and the end result is going to spell disaster, unless the psyche of the collecting community decides it is high time to act in a more responsible and sedate manner. 

Ron Feuer
Charlotte, N.C.

 

If I had the money, I would pass on that finest known 1969-S doubled die, thanks but no thanks.  For the price that the 1969-S doubled die is likely to fetch, I could put together a remarkable set of English gold.  Say a half dozen really nice five guineas of Charles II, plus some proof gold from the reign of George II.  Am I a spoil-sport?  Let?s just say that I?m into old coins a ?historical artifacts?, not modern coins as a dubious ?investment?.

Bob Olson
Springfield, Ill.

I been collecting rare coins for over 25 years and I would never pay $100,000 for the 1969-S  doubled-die Lincoln cent. My reason is that there are too many other rare coins that are a better investments. For the $100,000, you can purchase a 1927-S Saint-Gauden in Gem BU condition. Also for $37,000, a 1916 Standing Liberty quarter in MS-65FH and for $24,500, a 1911-D Quarter Eagle in MS-63. This of course is my own opinion; others may think the 1969-S doubled -die will have good potential in the future market, but you can never know?

Sam Chan
Cupertino, Calif.

Not that this is a silly question, but I wouldn?t buy a 1969-S doubled-die cent. Even if I had that kind of money for coins, I?d much rather spend it on real treasures like a $4 Stella or Pan Pacific set of gold and silver.

To me this is just so much hype by dealers that use it for publicity.

Sanford Mazel
Altadena, Calif.

I don?t consider a doubled-die coin to be anything but a minor curiosity. It is just an error and not a true rarity.  I would not collect them unless they were priced like common errors such as a clipped planchet or BIE coins. 

Malcolm Johnson
Vista, Calif.

Yes, I probably would if I was fortunate enough to be wealthy enough. When you are a ?collector? sometimes the cost of an item to complete your endeavor is second place to the enjoyment you will receive from having it to just look at every now and then.  

Carlisle Langley
Hallsville, Texas

I would not buy this cent even if I could afford it. It is not for coin hobbyists but for rich investors.

Edward Majzlik
Dearborn, Mich.

Absolutely I would buy the newly found ?69-S! The big secret in understanding coin collectors is that we are absolutely compulsive. We want to ALWAYS ?upgrade? our collection in the never-ending search for the Top Pop. Add to that the high rarity factor, and it is a dream come true. It just means working a little (or a lot) harder at my ?occupation? to pay for the excesses of my favorite ?vocation.?

Rickey Smithberg
Las Vegas, Nev.

The recently found 1969-S Lincoln cent doubled die is outstanding, yes. But, who in their right mind would pay more for something like a late-date Lincoln cent as opposed to a truly awesome, early American rarity? How many 1909-S Lincolns would $100,000 buy, for instance? Better yet, wouldn?t that money buy a high-grade 1799 large cent … or several?

I, for one, understand that there is far too much hype in numismatics about modern coinage in super-high grades. The various grading companies, slabs in general, and unknowledgeable speculators make this sort of scenario a complete farce and are ruining what used to be a hobby. Throw in some rich folks with too much money on their hands and not enough sense to match, and we?ve lost it altogether.

Furthermore, once a higher grade specimen is found ? and it probably will be once people start scrambling now for these rolls ? that particular coin will be worth less. The buyer will likely get burned. Yet, even if he or she makes a profit or at least doesn?t lose anything on it, the point here is that this sort of money would buy truly great coins that NOBODY would argue are not worth it.

David C. Egeland
Linn, Mo.

Yes I would, if I had the money available! Wouldn?t give it a second thought and I would purchase it.

Willie J. Bush Jr.
Cincinnati, Ohio

I cannot see me buying the coin at that price. I?m sure there are collectors who would buy it. I am not one. It might be wonderful to own the single most highly graded example of a given coin, but a Lincoln cent dated 1969? With my luck, the day after I purchased that coin someone would show up with a bag of 1,000 Mint-fresh examples they had been using as a doorstop until they saw the coin mentioned in their local newspaper. In a coin, I would rather invest in a nice example from the time of Thomas Jefferson?s presidency than Richard Nixon?s.

Ken Wahlman
Gloucester, Va.

No, I?d speed a lot less and get a very nice 1955 doubled-die obverse and the rest of the keys.

John Friend
Sun Valley, Calif.

No, anyone who would pay $100,000 for this coin is an idiot! And, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I?d like to sell him!

Bob Klippstein
Greensboro, N.C.

I wouldn?t pay a hundred grand for a penny. I don?t care how rare it is.

Frederick Leiserson
Yuba City, Calif.

I have collected coins for over 50 years and still have my set of Lincoln cents (through 1972, including the ?22 plain, the ?55 doubled die and other curiosities).

At the $100,000 level, there are hundreds of FAR more historically and numismatically significant coins than the ?finest known 1969-S doubled-die Lincoln cent?. The only valid excuse anybody would have for agreeing to pay such a price for this coin would be as a high-stakes gamble ? hoping that there is a bigger fool out there who would turn his $100,000 into $100,000++. What sets a speculative price of $100,000 on this coin in the first place? Simple ? greed has no limit.

Would I buy this coin for $100,000?  Absolutely not ? not now, not ever.

John D. Wright
Saint Joseph, Mich.

No, I would not buy such a cent. I?m not big on die variations, or error coins. Hence, I would spend my make-believe hundred grand on some late 1700 copper and silver coins, and some great gold coins such as a $4 Stella, among others.

Robert H. Ball, Jr.
Detroit, Mich.

I would not pay any kind of money for a doubled die.

Jose Manuel Silva
S. Joao do Estoril, Portugal

I may be a numismatist but if I had $100,000 that I could spend on a penny, I would much rather spend it by donating the money to my local food kitchen. It would do a lot more good feeding the homeless than adding one more cent to my collection.

Roland C. Gauvin
Cumberland, R.I.

While it?s an interesting coin, and a business associate of mine bought the finest know example at the pre-ANA sale in Milwaukee and had the chance to view the coin up close and personal, it?s not my cup of tea. I could think of a lot of places to put 100,000 before choosing a Lincoln cent doubled die.

Michael P. Schiller
Allouez, Wis.

As a 53-year-old numismatist I have to ?put my two cents in.?

I have a broad range of interests in American coins up to 1958 for copper and 1964 for silver. I do save any cents up until 1982 for the copper.

As for modern coins, I do purchase silver proof sets every year and last year a proof 2006 Buffalo one-ounce gold, as well as two proof 2001 Silver Buffalos.

I think most modern U.S. coins are quite ugly, unlike the masterpieces of 1916 and earlier.

If I had $100,000 to spend on coins, I would buy an MS 1916-D Mercury dime, 1916 Liberty Standing quarter, the finest Draped Bust dollar I could find and as many Saint-Gaudens $20, MS-65s from the money that was left.

Let the folks who buy 1969-S doubled dies, and also the idiots who pay thousands for super high grade modern Lincolns live in their industry, hype glass houses.

I would love to see the Mint issue a 2009-S, V.D.B. copper proof Lincoln cent with wheat reverse (sold at a premium), and also a zinc business strike, before they retire the cent completely.

Jeff Terflinger
Oakland, Calif.

The money is not the issue, it is the rarity and market ability of the rarity. There are rarer coins and varieties than this coin, but the market is not there.

For example, I own an 1877-S Trade dollar MS-62 that is a lazy ?S? die variety and one of only five known examples in any grade. I would be hard-pressed to sell it for $100,000 even if it was the highest grade known.
So the answer is NO, I would not buy this coin for $100,000.

Edward T. Arrich
Coldspring, Texas

I would never buy any coin that had an unknown amount in circulation.

Jay Greenspan
Pioneer, Calif.

I?m a dealer and I?d buy it for $100,000. It?s the finest known and a true rarity.

Ira Stein
Fairport, N.Y.

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