After last month’s article some questions were asked regarding Lincoln cent pricing. The MS-64 price of a 1914-D cent came into question with differences of up to $5,000 for the same grade, the simple answer is color and eye appeal. Again it was asked about the 1955/1955 DDO cent in MS-64 and in this case the reason remains the same, but the difference is even greater as it approaches 50 percent. The 1955 DDO is an interesting item for many reasons not the least of which is its clearly doubled date and legends. It was discovered very early after release so few worn examples exist. I have handled at least several hundred of these over the years and seen perhaps a thousand. I have never seen a naturally circulated example below very fine. Most will grade EF-40 to AU-55. Uncirculated coins are common for the issue, but color is a very big factor in value. In the mid 1950s cigarettes were typically 19 cents a pack in vending machines. Vending machines were very basic then and could not give change the way modern machines do. The vending company would often include change inside the sleeve covering the pack consisting of a penny and a nickel, so a quarter could be deposited and a proper sale made. Now you may have already figured out that most of the 1955 DDO cents wound up in those packs. Based on what the Surgeon General has told us, cigarettes contain tar and nicotine along with other active ingredients, all of which affect the color of shiny bronze.
This was perhaps the only time in history when it paid to smoke. This is why grading services often return this date as questionable color because they just cannot tell.
In regard to common date gold issues, recently the premium in circulated to low grade Mint State issues had dropped dramatically. That premium has now begun to rise and in some cases significantly, which is a probable sign for a strong active fall market developing. The August ANA show in Chicago should be a good indication of that as well. Most major dealers and collectors come together there.
The $2.50 Indian gold has come down in several grades and probably should be bought at current levels as I believe strong demand will develop in the fall. Another item of note is the $10 Indian, which traditionally had a big premium to the Liberty, but is now just a small percentage over them. It almost feels as though someone is keeping a lid on these. Could JP Morgan Chase be manipulating this market, too?