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That cent could have been mine

Most every collector has daydreamed about finding something like a bronze 1943, 1943-D or 1943-S cent in their change even though they knew the odds were stacked against them.

Cents in 1943 were made of steel.

The bronze versions are rare errors where the wrong planchet somehow ended up in the coining press.

Finding one would have been very rewarding.

The finest known 1943-S bronze cent sold for $1 million in 2012. It was graded MS-62 Brown by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

However, because they are so rare, it is far easier finding one in an auction catalog than in change.

That kind of puts a barrier between it and the experiences of an average collector.

There are just six bronze 1943-S cents known. One of them, a PCGS Secure AU-55 example, will be featured at in the Heritage Auctions official Florida United Numismatists sale Jan. 6-11, 2016, in Tampa. It is from the Sorensen Collection.

Will the buyer of this particular rarity have personal memories of hunting for cents to fill his or her Whitman albums?

Will he or she have once daydreamed about finding such a rarity as most of us collectors once did?

I hope so.

It will make it all seem more personal.

We just take it for granted that buyers of America’s great coin rarities have a deep numismatic interest. But anyone who can afford to buy an 1804 silver dollar average collectors consider to be not really one of them.

A coin like an 1804 dollar is just not part of the typical coin finds experience.

Perception might be different when considering the sale of a bronze 1943-S cent.

It is the kind of coin that routinely passed through the fingers of most collectors now living.

It is the kind of coin that most circulation finds collectors can easily identify with.

I know I do.

That perhaps will make the sale of this particular coin a little bit more meaningful to average collectors. It can be more than just seeing the addition of another buyer’s name to a list of previous owners of a famous coin rarity.

I hope so.

That sense of personal connection is so important for the enjoyment of coin collecting.

Though I won’t be the buyer, I look forward to seeing the cent sell when I attend the FUN show.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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