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1969 s penny value
1969 s penny value
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1969 s Penny Value

While it can be entertaining and beneficial to check your pocket change for error coins, there are occasions when true riches can be found by looking through rolls of uncirculated coins! Variety coin specialist Ken Potter claims that Michael Tremonti, a collector from Michigan, rummaged through a 50-coin roll of 1969-S Lincoln cents and discovered an uncirculated 1969-S doubled die penny.

Tremonti forwarded the coin to PCGS so that it could be graded and sealed. Potter predicted at the time that the value of a Mint State 1969-S doubled die obverse may reach as much as $100,000 or higher, depending on the grade it receives. Only 40 to 50 coins of this 1969-S doubled die penny are thought to exist, according to experts.

Die Expert in Variety The Coin is Authenticated by Ken Potter

Potter was so thrilled with this discovery that he wrote a press release detailing how he found out about it. Potter adds that he was highly dubious when Tremonti first contacted. “Being ignorant of Tremonti’s degree of experience, I simply assumed the discovery was one of the incredibly frequent instances of strike doubling seen on this particular date.

“This variant is among the most well-known for the double damage that occurs on Lincoln cents, along with the 1968-S and 1970-S cents. I told him this, but he dismissed it as unrelated to what he had discovered. He seemed to know a lot about the issue as we continued our conversation. For once, it appeared as though there was a chance that one of the people claiming to have discovered a 1969-S doubled die cent could actually have. I was shocked to see that the coin was an exquisite, brilliant uncirculated example of this uncommon kind.”

The 1969-S DDO’s past Cent for Lincoln

The history of the 1969-S doubled die cent is infamous. When it was discovered in 1970, two con artists had attempted to profit from it by creating fake 1969 doubled die cents. Potter claims that the fact that counterfeiters were producing phony 1969 doubled die pennies at the same time as a real mint defect with the same date surfaced was just a strange coincidence!

According to a Coin World article (July 8, 1970, p. 1), Ceil Moorhouse and Bill Hudson made the initial discovery of the coins. Moorhouse’s coin originated from a quantity of five rolls that he obtained from The Bank of America from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Agents from the Secret Service confiscated it right away, thinking it was one of the fake coins. Later on, the coin was returned to him by the Secret Service as authentic.

Perhaps not understanding the importance of the “S” mintmark, the U.S. Secret Service started seizing all specimens under the money counterfeiting statutes, including the authentic 1969-S specimens. The U.S. Treasury Department needed some time to clean up the mess and give the real specimens back to their owners. Regretfully, it was stated that the US Treasury Department destroyed a few authentic 1969-S pennies because they were fakes.

As is customary when a coin receives a lot of media attention, demand increases and its value rises. Even though the 1969-S doubled die obverse cent is rarer than its counterparts, including the major 1972 doubled die obverse cent, the 1969-S continues to command higher auction values.

Tremonti’s discovery shows us all that there are still a ton of extremely valuable error and variety coins out there that are just waiting to be discovered. Errors can still be discovered whether you are going through rolls of original bank-wrapped money or looking through your pocket change. “Are you sure you didn’t spend a $30,000 penny for your lunch yesterday?” is a question that has been asked many times.

1969-S Die Values Were Doubled

In the end, PCGS designated the 1969-S penny under discussion as Red MS-64. For MS-64 Red, this coin is tied with one other specimen. On January 10, 2008, it brought $126,500 at a Heritage auction. One further coin in the best known condition is rated MS-65 Red and brought $16,500 at auction when it was last sold in January 1996. We don’t know where it is right now. More recently, a March 2018 Stacks Bowers auction saw the sale of another MS-64 Red specimen for $126,000.

In March 2018, Stack’s Bowers sold a coin rated Red MS-64 by PCGS for $126,000. The very fine (VF-20) lows graded coin brought $9,900 when it was auctioned by Sotheby’s Auction House in December 1998. When this coin goes up for auction, it will always fetch top money, regardless of its condition.

Furthermore, it is commonly known that Chinese counterfeiters produce excellent imitation 1969-S Doubled Die Lincoln cents. You should be aware that there’s a considerable chance the coin you’re buying from an unknown coin dealer or eBay seller is a fake. Make sure the coin dealers you buy from are certified by an independent grading agency and only purchase coins from reliable sources.

Note: Ken Potter added details regarding the origin of the fortunate coin roll. Tremonti doesn’t seem to remember where or when he purchased the roll. Tremonti is a frequent cherrypicker who frequently purchases rolls at coin shows in order to look for die variations. Read Potter’s original 1969-S penny news release for more details regarding this coin.

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