By Ron Brown
I like the United States cent coin. Over the years, I have had the distinct pleasure of cherry-picking many Lincolns. But the real treat is when you find something not yet listed and identified as a new variety.
It was and still is my habit to pick up any coin I see lying around on the ground. I even will take the cent coins in the short change box at registers and replace them with larger denomination coins in my quest for Lincoln varieties. From experience, I seem to find most at gas stations for some reason, where it appears the customers simply throw away cents, but the fun is in the hunt.
In my early years of collecting, I made the mistake of thinking that certification houses would assess coins like these and send them back to me with a grade and variety attribution. Of course, all I got was a slabbed grade and my disappointment – unless the coin was already a known variety and one that the certification service recognized. This early education helped me eliminate a lot of my coins I had set aside through the use of the many books, articles, and web pages available to the coin collector. But it could not identify them all.
From collecting, I had in my collection for some time coins that had odd or suggestive details that I deemed worthy to be set aside for later examination. These heretofore unknown coins sat undisturbed for years in my safe with the intent of one day running them down via expert analysis. A 1977-D Lincoln cent is one such example – a fortuitous pickup on a local sidewalk.
I was an avid fan of the Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties, and from the bios within it I made contact with the late J.T Stanton, who referred me to Mike Ellis, the then editor.
I must say, it was a bit worrisome in the request to send possibly valuable coins to a stranger and money for the pleasure of doing so, but Mike Ellis made the process absolutely painless. He was very knowledgeable, having been a certification grader and a variety specialist. He was also very affable.
I sent Mike three coins. Two are for a future article. For this one, the important one was a 1977-D Lincoln cent.
The 1977 Denver cent appeared to be an obverse doubled die, and Mike mentioned that he would like to send it on to Dr. James Wiles for further study.
As it then happened, both would attend/instruct at the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar in Denver 2017, so the coin was sent to Dr. Wiles, who would bring it with him to Denver to return it and discuss his findings with Mike.
The findings were as follows: Dr. Wiles – “This can occur in both the multiple and singe squeeze hubbing methods, though predominately in the latter. I did indeed like the coin and it is the only 1977-D DDO known”. 1977-D MS 64 New Listing: UVC-3384 DMR-002, DDO-001, 1-O-VIII, stage A, EDS, PUP “Y” in Liberty
In the Lincoln cent series for the year 1977, this is the only Doubled-Die Obverse discovered so far and recognized by CONECA from any mint that year.
It is my hope that this coin, given it is the only Lincoln DDO for the year 1977, will be considered worthy for inclusion in the Cherrypickers Guides should a new edition come to fruition.
Ron Brown has an avid interest in U.S. coin varieties of all denominations, coins of Canada, and decimal New Zealand. He is a member of the Southwest Georgia Coin Club – Albany, CONECA Member Number 6033, and ANA Life Member 6168.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
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