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Community Voice Responses (February 12, 2019)

From the Jan. 18 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:


Would you prefer the bronze 1943 cent as a gift to the 1885 Trade dollar?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

Having sold a 1943-P “BRONZE” Lincoln Head cent in MS-61 RB (PCGS) in December of 1999, I would rather own an additional example for a “gift” as opposed to an 1885 Trade Dollar even though only FIVE are known to exist.

The legendary 1943 “BRONZE” cent has been ever so popular, advertised for decades in comic books, magazines and periodicals since its inception. Countless school children and hopeful adults have continuously gone through their pocket change, tenaciously searching innumerable bank rolls (even to this very day) as they dream of finding such a numismatic prize that has eluded all but a fortuitous few.

The “BRONZE” 1943-P piece I mention above had the distinction of being the very first small cent to ever sell in excess of $100,000.00, a world record at the time! The current confirmed record for a “BRONZE” 1943-dated Lincoln cent is the lone esoteric Denver-minted piece, graded MS-64 BN (PCGS), which sold for $1.7 million in 2010

Another memorable small cent sale includes the esoteric 1958-P Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln cent in PCGS MS-64 RD, which brought a whopping $336,000.00 in 2018! For the record, that very same coin was initially sold by me in the 1990s, and it was the first one ever attributed and graded by third-party graders. Its sale price then was a respectable $25,025, and I later liquidated it for the owner on Sept. 5, 2000, for a record $57,500.00!

Only THREE 1958-P DDO-1 cents have thus far been discovered, two less than the iconic 1885 Trade Dollar, of which an NGC-graded PR-66 (the finest-known example) just recently sold at auction for a record $3.96 million!

Though certainly a legitimate, exciting rarity in its own right, the enigmatic 1885 Trade Dollar has not received such ongoing respect and publicity as generated by 1943 “BRONZE” cents.

Sam Lukes
Visalia, Calif.

For myself, a Trade dollar may be preferable. As for the 1943 bronze cent, more rare to pose for collecting. At least I can “type” it better, for sure.

Gary Kess
Sherman, Texas

I would take the cent myself...

Wesley Ellis
Portland, Ore.

Both the 1943 cent and 1885 Trade $1 are wonderful, remarkable coins. But if I could have one, I’d pick the 1943 copper cent. It has a better history and is more interesting.

Ginger Rapsus
Chicago, Ill.

Although the 1885 Trade dollar is the more visually impressive coin, its origin, like the 1913 Liberty Nickel, is spurious. I would prefer the 1943 cent, a mint error that is both legitimate and iconic.

Martin Mettee
Ellicott City, Md.

From a purely financial perspective, the 1885 Trade dollar would be anyone’s choice. The 2019 “Red Book” shows the Trade dollar within the Top 250 Auction Prices realized. The 1943 Bronze Cent doesn’t crack the 250 list.

Of course, the US Mint shows no record of the 1884 or 1885 Trade dollar having been produced. It does, though, admit the bronze cent made it out to the public.

I’d personally prefer the #1 ranked 1794 dollar at $ 10,016,875

Steve McGowan
Algonac, Mich.

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