Helen Seto of Michigan turned up a very unusual government issue mint set that contained two 1970-S cents. To make it even more interesting, both cents contained a strong repunched mintmark variety listed by the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America as RPM-001.
It is also listed in my book (co-authored with Brian Allen), Strike It Rich With Pocket Change, as VCR#3/RPM#1. We list it with a value of about $12.50 in uncirculated grade but brilliant uncirculated examples that fall into the MS-64 to MS-65 range can go for over $25 each. The variety shows a strong S/S North.
While the variety in itself isn’t of any great value, it is extremely unusual to find two 1970-S cents in a mint set much less two that have this repunched mintmark. It is the first I’ve ever heard seen. Cherry pickers often look for the 1970-S/S cents while they are dismantling the sets for the half dollars. These are often sold in bulk to telemarketers that need them for Kennedy half dollar sets.
The 1970 mint sets were split up into two individually packaged subsets, which were delivered together in a white envelope by the San Francisco Assay Office. The subset that contains the two cents normally contains one for San Francisco and one for Philadelphia; a San Francisco Jefferson nickel and a Philadelphia minted dime and quarter. It also contains a plastic Mint medal, which indicates that the coins contained in this half of the set are from the Philadelphia Mint and San Francisco Assay Office.
In reality, the medal functions more as a “hole-filler” in the space that is normally occupied by a half dollar. However no half dollars were minted in Philadelphia that year.
The other subset to this mint set contains all the Denver issues from the cent through half dollar. These sets are the only source for the low-mintage 1970-D half dollars since none was released into circulation.
These sets also contain a number of different doubled-die reverse dimes and quarters from Denver, which should be checked. Interestingly, Mike Diamond, President of CONECA, recently obtained a 1970 mint set that included a thin 1970-D quarter that was struck on a quarter planchet processed from dime stock – another first. What other surprises might these sets hold for those who take the time to look?
Ken Potter is the official attributer of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling. More information on the clubs, or how to get a coin listed in the Variety Coin Register may be obtained by sending a long, self-addressed envelope with 58 cents postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076, or by contacting him via e-mail at KPotter256@aol.com. An image gallery may be viewed at www.koinpro.com.