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Old errors lurk in your cent change

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A 1960-D Small Date over Large Date is $50 or more in circulated grade.

For the first time in history the United States Mint has put a “P” mintmark on Lincoln cents. While searching change for the new cents from Philadelphia, remember the denomination also has many error coins that can still be found in circulation.

By calling attention to the cent to mark the 225th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Mint, the Mint itself is promoting the collection of these circulating error coins.

It’s impossible to show all the errors that can still be found in circulation, but I’ll give you a few to whet your appetite.

Our first coin is the 1960-D Small over Large Date, which also happens to sport a nice Repunched Mintmark. In circulated grades it can fetch $50 or more while uncirculated pieces can go for hundreds of dollars depending on grade. The Cherrypickers Guide (CPG) lists them at $100 to $600 from AU to top MS-65 pieces.

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From the top, the famous Doubled Die obverse 1969-S cent. Less well known is the doubling on the 1971. If you see Liberty doubled, it could be hundreds of dollars, over $1,000 if uncirculated. The 1982 Doubled Die reverse shows up in UNITED STATES. It sells for more than the better known 1983 Doubled Die Reverse cent.

Second on our hit list is the 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent. One of these was found in 2006 not to far from where I live in Michigan and sold for $126,500 in a Heritage Auctions sale in 2007. The coin is downright rare with maybe 35 or so pieces known but it seems that every so often somebody finds one in circulation.

Next is the 1970-S Doubled Die cent. This is another rarity that sells in the three figures even in circulated grades and up to $18,000 for MS-65 according to CPG.

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The 1970-S Doubled Die shows strong doubling in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

Jump one year to 1971 and searchers can find Doubled Die obverses that show up in circulation from time to time. The last two I sold went for $1,200 and $1,500, respectively, in uncirculated grades but circulated pieces can easily fetch three figures.

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The 1984-D Doubled Die at top that has doubling in the ear is well known. Less well known is the 1988-D cent, center, with similar doubling. Because copper-plated zinc was introduced for cents in 1982, if you find a 95-percent copper planchet, you have a winner when it is dated 1983-D as this is.

A rather recent find despite its age is the 1982 Doubled Die Reverse cent. Not as spectacular as its cousin the well-known 1983 Doubled Die Reverse it sells for much more due to its rarity up into thousands of dollars.

While you’re at it check all 1983 cents for weight. If you find one that weighs 3.1 grams, it is most probably struck on a planchet intended for the early part of 1982 before the Mint changed over from solid copper alloy planchets to copper- plated zinc cents that weigh 2.5 grams. These have been found on cents from both mints with one from Philadelphia fetching over $23,000 in a Heritage sale. Copper planchets are are also known on 1989-D and 1990-D cents.

While the 1984 Doubled Ear cent is well-known, having been discovered in the year of issue, they can still be found in circulation as can the aforementioned 1983 Doubled Die Reverse.

An equally interesting coin is the 1988 Doubled Ear cent. This one is quite rare and an easy sell if found.

Two coins you especially want to look for are the 1992 “P” and “D” cents that have a reverse with the letters AM of AMERICA positioned very close together almost touching at the base. Only a small number of both are known and they can sell in the thousands of dollars.

Also look for the 1999 cents with the AM of AMERICA spread wide apart. These coins sell in the hundreds of dollars for uncirculated specimens and even around $50-$75 for circulated examples. The same error can be found on 1998 and 2000 dated coins but are worth less.

Finally, do not ignore recent date cents. The 2015 Doubled Die Obverse is a really neat variety that can bring in a few extra dollars. I see them offered in Numismatic News frequently for about $100.

There are hundreds of other valuable varieties to search for that can be found listed in Strike It Rich With Pocket Change that can be purchased directly from F+W Media for under $20.

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On 1992 “P” and “D” cents, if you find the letters “A” and “M” in AMERICA close together like this, the coin could sell for thousands of dollars. Nearly all coins have wide spacing.

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Wide spacing between the letters “A” and “M” is the rare version on the 1999 cent. The doubling on the 2015 Doubled Die is not strong, but if your eyes are good and you spot one, you have a piece that retails for $100.

 

Ken Potter is a frequent contributor to “Numismatic News” and a co-author of “Strike It Rich With Pocket Change” An educational gallery can be found on his website at http://koinpro.tripod.com.

 

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

 

More Collecting Resources

• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.

• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.

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