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Newcomer shows us how it’s done

I tell myself that I don’t look through cents anymore because my old eyes just can’t handle the close work.


Is that a cop-out?

I am beginning to think it is as I report yet another find of valuable cent errors by someone who took the time to look.

This time, the error is a doubled-die 1995-D cent. Not only is the find significant, it is valuable. Because it is much rarer than the well-known 1995 doubled die, it can command a price of over $1,000 in the very top grades. The person who found it did not stop with one. She found seven. By doing so, she has something to teach the rest of us.

She is new to numismatics. She began just 10 short months ago. What attracted her to coin collecting? It wasn’t a book. It wasn’t a magazine. It was a very 21st century YouTube video.

She also did something unusual. She did not head to the local bank for rolls of cents to search. She went online and bought uncirculated rolls of cents of years that might yield valuable varieties.

How clever is that? It is so clever that it might just give a huge boost to the old concept of roll collecting. I can see a run on the 1995-D cents already.

According to Ken Potter’s story on Page 14, this newcomer can teach a thing or two to most hobby veterans. She divided her finds between two top grading services for authentication and grading. That is something many a grizzled old veteran collector has never done.

When she got the slabbed coins back, she sold some of them for significant money.

All of this occurred in just the span of a few weeks. She has put my lifetime of circulation finds to shame. I don’t recall finding seven of anything at once, let alone seven pieces that command hundreds or thousands of dollars of value.

What can she do for an encore? For her, the fun will come in figuring it out. More cent finds? Searches of other denominations? Assembling a set of Morgan silver dollars? All are possible. Her future is in her hands.

That’s one of the appealing aspects of collecting. We all can choose anything we want. I have been making choices for many years. But I should go back and revisit my decision to skip the lowly cent.

Clearly there is a richness to the denomination that we old-timers might be guilty of overlooking. There must be a reason why the last couple of years have revealed cent rarity after cent rarity. There is a rich vein of numismatic material to mine there.

Circulation finds are fond memories for many of us. The next generation is showing us over and over again that this activity belongs to the present as much as it does to the past.

Cents might be the door that many a new collector today will walk through, just as was true 50 years ago.

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

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