Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 17

Lot 149

Lincoln Cent. 1943-D. PCGS graded MS-64 Brown Copper. Lincoln Cent Struck on a Bronze Planchet. (Actually, called "French Bronze" a composition of .95 copper and .05 tin and zinc). Accompanied by a PCGS ID #82712 and certification #50035362. A very choice uncirculated specimen, sharply struck throughout, with smooth and lustrous chocolate brown surfaces that glimmer as the coin is turned. We note small flecks of zinc imbedded in the reverse field (as struck), possibly this arose from zinc dust and debris from the zinc-steel coins that had preceded it through the coining process. This further attests to the genuineness. A prime opportunity to acquire this absolutely unique example, probably the most famous error in all of numismatics!

"For many years after the war, rumors persisted that the Ford Motor Company would give a new car as a prize to anyone turning in a genuine 1943 bronze cent (usually called '43 copper cent')."

Walter Breen goes on to report that "In early 1947, a Dr. Conrad Ottelin reported discovering a bronze 1943 cent (The Numismatist 6/47, p. 434); this coin either has not become available for authentication, or else has not been connected with Ottelin's name. However, a few weeks earlier, Don Lutes, Jr., then aged 16, found one in change at his high school cafeteria (Pittsfield, Mass.), and I had the pleasure of authenticating the piece when it came to my attention in 1959. It was one of the first to achieve nationwide publicity, the other being Marvin Beyer's, also recovered from circulation (about 1958). Rumors of four-and-five-figure prices followed, but the first public auction of a 1943 bronze cent did not actually result in the coin's changing hands until 1974"

It was not until years later that a single 1943-D copper cent, the present coin offered, entered the market place (see the pedigree below). The coin was authenticated by ANACS with certification #E-8256-C and graded by NGC as Mint State 64 Brown

It has been 7 years since this coin last entered the market place and with the immense growth of interest in numismatic errors, we expect this coin to once again achieve a new record price.
Estimated Value $100,000-UP.
From Superior's May 27,28, 1996 Sale, lot 536 which sold for $82,500 (a record price at that time).

Lot 148

Lincoln Cent. 1943. PCGS graded MS-61 Brown Copper. Lincoln Cent Struck on a Bronze Planchet. Accompanied by a PCGS ID #82709 and certification #50035361. From Superior's October 1-3, 2000 sale where it was adequately described as follows:

One of Approximately 20 Known. The Marvin Breyer-1958 A.N.A. Specimen. Since the year of its manufacture, the copper 1943 cent has been a coin that has intrigued collectors and non-collectors alike. The coin offered in this lot is one of the first two discovered. it is a pleasing Uncirculated example with even greenish-golden brown color that exhibits glossy luster over each side. It appears to be completely uncleaned and tarnish-gree, has excellent detail and perfect rims.

Rarities abound in American numismatics but two of the most are the 1943 bronze and 1944 steel cents. Because copper was a strategic metal during the second World War, efforts to find a replacement eventually resulted in adoption of steel with a thin coating of zinc. "Fortunately for some few collectors, but unfortunately for the peace of mind of Mint bureaucrats," reports Walter Breen, in his encyclopedia of United States coins, "at the end of 1942 some bronze blanks were left over in a hopper attached to one of the cent presses, and a least 40 were struck by accident early in 1943, being mixed with a normal production run of steel cents, and managed to leave the Mint undetected. Considering the enormous coinage orders that had to be filled, inspection had to be cursory."

Breyer's coin (the present offering) went into the 1958 ANA Convention auction - only to be withdrawn at the last moment, resulting in loud protests as the auctioneer's book reportedly contained bids well into five figures.
In the years since, over a dozen others have been authenticated.
Estimated Value $60,000-UP.
From Superior's Oct. 1-3, 2000 Sale, lot 4146 (realized $60,375.00). This is also the specimen that appeared in the 1958 ANA Convention Auction Sale "A Festival of Coins" cataloged and sold by Abe Kosoff, lot 2055.

Lot 1827

1879 Pattern Dollar. Silver, reeded edge. Judd-1608. Pollock-1804, High Rarity-6. The "Schoolgirl" Garrett Coin. NGC graded Proof 65 Premium Quality. Clearly one of the finest known of this superbly executed pattern silver dollar by George T. Morgan. The obverse is toned with mottled gold and green near the borders while the reverse is toned a lilac hue with deeper gunmetal blue at the borders. Rather well struck for the issue, and similar to the Eliasberg coin, although it appears that this specimen may have a sharper strike on the eagle. The rarity of this pattern is on par with its beauty, NGC and PCGS have graded a combined 6 pieces, with the best grade awarded to 3 different coins as PF-65 by NGC. These include the Eliasberg example, the present coin, which is the Garrett example and one other specimen. Dr. Judd noted in his pattern book that some examples of J-1608 had been cleaned, greatly diminishing their value in todays sophisticated marketplace. Back to the NGC Population Report, another example is graded PF-64 by that service, for a total of 4 coins by that service. PCGS has only graded two specimens of J-1608, one as PR-62 and another as PR-63. This present specimen resides in an old NGC holder, and we wouldn't be surprised if it is graded higher in the future. Currently tied for the finest known with two others, this one boasts a better strike than the similarly graded Eliasberg specimen, and as such certainly has claims to the coveted status of Finest Known of this legendary pattern issue.
Given the certified population of this pattern is holding at a mere 6 coins, we feel that it may actually be a rarity-7 level, with fewer than a dozen known in all. Of course no records exist of the actual mintage, and we are limited to Population Reports, the detailed listing of specimens in the Pollock reference and the occasional auction appearance to provide census information.
As numismatic scholar Q. David Bowers said when he cataloged this coin in the Garrett Sale (3/80:1056) "Of all pattern silver dollar designs, the 'Schoolgirl' ranks high in the esteem of collectors." Later, when cataloging the Eliasberg coins for the May, 1996 sale Bowers states "Today the 1879 'Schoolgirl' dollar stands as what many consider to be the capstone of the United States pattern series or, at the very least, among the top several American coinage motifs." We and many others agree, the seductive beauty of this Schoolgirl pattern challenges the limits of the English language, and simply must be viewed to be fully appreciated by connoisseurs.
Mint Engraver George T. Morgan designed both the obverse and reverse dies for this pattern. For the obverse Morgan chose a youthful Victorian girl with solid features, a regal nose and chin, similar in appearance to the portrait of the lady on Morgan's silver dollar of 1878. She sports a ribbon in her hair, the top of the ribbon states LIBERTY, and the ribbon ends are tied loosely below her ears. Her hair is long and wavy, her only other adornment are pearls around her neck. This design seems to be unique to Morgan, although elements were borrowed from his new silver dollar of 1878, and other pattern issues from 1877 as well.
For the reverse, Morgan may have found inspiration from Titian Peale's drawings of a defiant eagle seen in The U.S. Mint and Coinage by Don Taxay on page 173 and pattern half dollar of 1839 by Christian Gobrecht. Morgan improved the design with a more stylized defiant eagle facing left, first seen in his half dollar pattern issued in 1877 (J-1512, P-1676). It is important to note that Morgan's reverse design was later employed on the 1915-S Panama Pacific Exposition Quarter eagle commemorative. It appears that the reverse design was likely the inspiration behind then Assistant Engraver's John R. Sinnock's 1918 Illinois Commemorative half dollar reverse as well, although no specific evidence has been located linking these aside from the similar pose of the eagle and position of his wings.
A foremost rarity in all grades, and seldom offered except when major collections are sold. This coin will no doubt become the centerpiece of a major pattern collection. Note that this particular coin has been auctioned only twice before, once in each century! If these auction appearances continue at this glacial pace, you may not get another chance to purchase this 'Schoolgirl' until 2101 or later!
Note: We have personally inspected the Eliasberg coin and the Garrett example we are offering is finer in grade.
Estimated Value $75,000-UP.
Ex: W. E. Woodward in August 18, 1883 (this coin was only 4 years old then!), next sold in Bowers & Ruddy's Garrett II Sale, 3/27/1980:1056 at $105,000.

Lot 1736

Russia. 1½ "Family" Ruble (10 Zloty), 1836 (St. Petersburg). Sev-3182; Dav-286C; Cr-172.4. Variety without name or letters under neck. Bust of Czar Nicholas to right. Reverse: Portraits of the imperial family, without circles. Engraver's name missing. The rarest of all family roubles only a few are known. NGC graded Proof 62.
Estimated Value $25,000-UP.

Lot 1833

1871. Extremely rare nickel and silver proof set struck in copper! Eight pieces, Three cent nickel through Seated dollar. This set includes the following coins, each of which grades PR-65 Red and Brown or better; Three cent silver J-1047, P-1181, R-7; Three cent nickel J-1045, P-1179, R-7, Shield nickel J-1056, P-1191, R-7; Seated half dime J-1071, P-1207, R-7; Seated dime J-1087, P-1223, R-7; Seated quarter J-1102, P-1238, R-7; Seated half dollar J-1117, P-1253, R-7; Seated silver dollar J-1151, P-1293, R-7. An extraordinary set which came to us from an old time collection. The coins are evenly matched and show faded red slowly toning over to brown. A few show minor specks, but all are highly appealing and extremely rare. Most of the individual coins are represented by one to three in the population reports, and it is likely that these are high rarity-7 coins with less than 5 known of each in copper. Certainly a magnificent pattern set and worthy of the finest collection. Lot of 8 coins.
Estimated Value $35,000-UP.

Lot 2211

1857. Kellogg & Humbert gold bar No. 895, 97.89 ozs gold at .903 fine, value at time of issue $1,837.39. A monumental and very desirable example from the S. S. Central America shipwreck. This bar is from Mold KH-04, and this particular bar is plated on page 444 of Bowers A California Gold Rush History. The winner of this lot will receive the owners deluxe leather edition of this important reference work by numismatic scholar Q. David Bowers.
The surfaces show the usual minor bubbles from casting the molten gold, and we note a particularly deep bubble just below the second 9 in the weight. The lower right corner has been chipped away for assay purposed by the makers, as has the upper right corner on the back of the bar. As with other bars from these makers, the serial number #895 is stamped on the otherwise blank back of the bar. The front of the bar shows a few scratches and surface hairlines, but they are not that distracting. An impressive large bar that would be the center of any numismatic gold collection.
Estimated Value $100,000-UP.

Lot 1899

$2.50 Capped Bust. 1806, 6 over 4, B-1. Stars 8 X 5. NGC graded MS-64. Here is a monumental example of this scarce die variety which is apparently the very finest known of the variety. The surfaces are well preserved and we note the original mirror like fields remain intact in the protect areas where no handling or friction has disturbed this delicate surface area. The color is a rich golden yellow hue, and no toning is seen. There are minor and faint adjustment marks down Liberty's cap and head on the obverse. As usual the reverse is not fully struck at the central area, with parts of the shield, neck and wing lacking some definition.
NGC has graded only 1 coin this high, this specimen, and one other as MS-63 below, with a few more below the choice grade. PCGS has graded two coins as high as MS-61, with none higher. Thus, we can logically conclude that this particular example is very likely the finest known of the variety. A faint die crack connects stars three to eight, and the tops of LIBERTY. A splendid opportunity for the advanced numismatist.
Estimated Value $75,000-UP.

Lot 2212

1857. Kellogg & Humbert gold bar No. 548, 69.72 ozs gold at .893 fine, value at time of issue $1,237.02. A delightful example from these assayers of the California Gold Rush era. The bar itself is an even yellow gold in color, and the surfaces are well preserved. It was cast from mold number KH-03 in the Bowers Gold Rush History book and is plated on the bottom right corner on page 431. Of note is the fineness of this bar, which at .893 pure gold is very high for native California gold, which was usually found well below this fineness. The lower right corner has been chipped off for assay purposes, as has the lower left corner on the back of the bar. Also we note the control number 548 in a different font is located on the back as well. On the face of the bar, the normal bubbles are seen in the surface from the original pouring of the molten gold into the mold. In addition, a few minor scratches can be seen through GG of KELLOGG and into the surrounding fields, perhaps from the violence and tumbling as the S. S.Central America sunk in the hurricane in September of 1857.
As noted in Bowers the Kellogg & Humbert bars are amongst the most numerous of the bars recovered from the wreck, however, both Kellogg and Humbert were very important participants in the California Gold Rush history, and many coins were known from their partnership. With the recovery of the gold from the Central America wreck, numerous bars were also found, much to the delight of many collectors today.
This bar comes with the special leather edition of Q. David Bowers A California Gold Rush History and the new owner will doubtless spend many hours discussing the epic tales of the discovery of gold in California, and the tragedy of the loss of life on the Central America wreck. Truly a fantastic historical relic which will be the centerpiece of an advanced collection.
Estimated Value $75,000-UP.

Lot 2123

$10 Liberty. 1900-S. PCGS graded MS-67 Eliasberg. An absolutely remarkable specimen. Boldly struck throughout and as fresh as the day it was minted and put away. The mint luster is amazing, satiny and undisturbed, while glowing with full mint bloom color. Strictly uncirculated 1900-S eagles are rare, and auction records report a frequency of not much more than one per decade. This superb gem stands alone as the finest known. PCGS population reports this one example (PCGS # 8746) .
Estimated Value $35,000-UP.
The United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy Galleries), Oct. 27-29, 1982, lot 822. Formerly believed to be from the John H. Clapp Collection, 1942. Earlier from the United States Mint, Oct. 1900.

Lot 1896

$2.50 Capped Bust. 1796. No stars on obverse, B-1, R-4. PCGS graded EF-45. A lovely example of this sought-after issue. The color is a natural hazy gold color on the obverse, more coppery luster on the reverse where the design elements protected the lustrous fields. Struck with adequate force on Liberty, even better on the reverse which is crisp on all but the tail feathers. This is an early die state, with a full and complete lower curl on Liberty, most seen are struck later, after the die was lapped and weakening this curl. There is no trace of the obverse die crack at 9 o'clock. As always, the E of LIBERTY is weakly struck, this letter had the unfortunate location of being directly behind the eagle's large tail, and when these were struck, there simply wasn't enough metal flow to fill in both the tail and the E. Finding a 1796 quarter eagle that is sharply struck is about as easy as locating a 1796 quarter with a full head on the eagle!
Historically speaking, the 1796 quarter eagle is very important. First off, the 1796 quarter eagle is the first coin to employ the heraldic eagle reverse, which would become standard on all silver and gold issues from 1798 to 1807. In addition, this was the first coin struck to reflect the admission of Tennessee into the United States, and the reverse displays 16 stars, one for each of the states then in the union. Curiously, this is the only precious metal coin struck by our country that didn't employ obverse stars, and this didn't occur again until the 1836 Gobrecht dollars were coined. This is also the first year of issue of the denomination, following close on the heals of the 1795 eagle and half eagle.
The dies are thought to have been engraved by Robert Scot, and show hasty preparation. Note how the 6 is squeezed into the drapery lines of Liberty, and the reverse shows unplanned execution as well, with stars planted wherever space allowed above the eagle. For some years the cap on Liberty was thought to be a slaves cap, or Phrygian cap (Liberty cap) of Roman times. A letter from Samuel More, Director of the Mint to Thomas Jefferson on February 14, 1825 seems to settle the matter (see Breen's Encyclopedia, pages 518-19) which states the cap was "taken from life, and considered a model of good taste of the fashion of the time" and was not intended to represent a cap of freedom or slaves cap. Jefferson responded to Moore's letter stating that Liberty had never been a slave, and therefore a slaves cap would not have been proper. In following years the cap disappeared from Liberty on gold coinage in 1834, silver (other than the dollar) in the late 1830s, where the cap moved to the pole until 1891. The cap returned on the Morgan silver dollar in 1878 and on half dollars again in 1916, perhaps reflecting the "good taste" of the fashion of later periods as well.
A classic example of this rare coin which boasts a mintage of a scant 963, of which perhaps ten percent survive most of which are in circulated grades. An impressive example for the true numismatist, and one that has been an expensive rarity for over 100 years (PCGS # 7645) .
Estimated Value $30,000 - 40,000.
From the Benson collection and purchased from an unknown source (probably Ira S. Reed or James MacCallister) around 1945 for $500.

Lot 159

Lincoln Cent. 1959-D The Unique Wheat Ears Reverse! MS-60+. Brown. This coin has created quite a bit of controversy in the past, and it's time the allegations and innuendo get laid to rest. For some reason, the few independent grading services who have examined this coin can't seem to decide on its genuine status, although no one can define any reason to consider it counterfeit, they also won't render an opinion to support the coin as a genuine mint product. Hence, the opinions of most remain that no decision can be made on the coin unless further tests are conducted.
The known history of this unique cent begins in 1986. A retired police officer named Leon Baller advertised in his local Walnut Creek, California newspaper that he would purchase rare and unusual coins. A local coin collector saw the ad and contacted Baller about an unusual 1959-D wheat reverse cent that he had found, and Baller soon arranged to meet with him and then purchased the coin for $1,500. Baller sent the coin to the United States Department of the Treasury for authentication in early 1987. Jim Brown, a forensic lab authenticator for the Department of the Treasury examined the coin and found no indication that it was counterfeit. The coin was returned to Baller on February 7, 1986 with a letter signed by Richard M. McDrew, Special Agent for the Department of the Treasury. The letter states as follows:
"Enclosed is your United States 1¢ coin, dated 1959-D, with wheat reverse. This coin was microscopically examined by our Forensic Services Division in Washington, D.C. and it is their opinion the coin is genuine."
Baller eventually sold the coin to Heritage Rare Coin Galleries in 1987. The cent was then sold to a private collector where it remained until recently.
The current owner of the coin is a business syndicate whose members' names have not been disclosed, and their representative is Larry Choate, a Southern California collector. Choate took the bold move in 2002 to resubmit the coin to the Department of the Treasury and Secret Service for a more comprehensive review of the 1959-D wheat cents authenticity. Choate realized that if the coin was considered a counterfeit, it would be seized and destroyed. In addition, Choate took the risk that the coin was produced at the Denver Mint but illegally spirited out, and could be seized on those grounds as well. Frankly, the Department of the Treasury has a checkered list of such seizures, and only a few coins have been seized over the years. It is important to note here that this coin will not be confiscated as the Treasury Department has returned the coin twice to the owner after reviewing the coin and returning it as genuine. It is also considered legal tender by the Treasury Department.
The most recent and very public seizure was the 1933 double eagle which the Government seized and wanted to destroy in a mindless bureaucratic fashion. Mercifully for collectors, the original owner of the 1933 double eagle was Egypt's King Farouk, and he obtained an export license which allowed him to take the coin with him out of this country to Egypt. After protracted litigation, the government and owner of the coin, British dealer Steve Fenton, agreed to have the coin sold and the proceeds would be divided. Thus, the Farouk 1933 double eagle would be the only currently "legal" specimen that could be obtained. Rumors have long swirled that other 1933 double eagles exist in private collections, but the Government claims title to any that may be in private hands and they would be seized if found as Government officials have publicly stated. This unique rarity just sold for $7,590,020. at auction in July 2002.
In recent years a bonanza of mint "errors" have turned up in collectors hands. Some of these have included error commemorative gold coins which were so mistruck as to not fit into the government holders. Another example would be the recently released Sacagawea/Quarter mules, or even the 1964 Peace silver dollar. Rumors persist, and in some cases these coins would be seized if they appeared at public auction. Normally, years after the original production, the probability of seizure seems to drop, and the seizure cases normally involve coins that were illegally removed from the mint where the perpetrators can be rounded up and jailed after due process, as the coins were simply not just normal production errors which escaped into circulation.
These distinctions are important, because if a coin is seized, it is seldom returned and any value paid for the coin would be lost. Under such circumstances, the Government goes after the mint employees involved, and many have been arrested and prosecuted for these crimes.
Getting back to our 1959-D cent, Choate knew that he was taking a big risk by submitting this coin back to the United States Secret Service, as it could be seized if it was determined to be a counterfeit, or illegally taken from the Denver Mint. However, after extensive examination by the United States Secret Service Office of Investigations Counterfeit Division a report was issued dated May 17, 2002, under their case number Log: 119-726-FY2002-018. This report, which of course accompanies this lot, states as follows:
"Exhibit Examined Q1 One 1959-D Lincoln cent, bearing the wheat reverse, described on the subject letter."
"Background: From 1909 until 1958, the United States Mint cent bore a portrait of President Lincoln on the obverse and two curved stylized heads of wheat on reverse. In 1959, the design was changed to bear the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse."
"Results of Examination Physical and microscopic examinations were conducted on the submitted Lincoln cent (Exhibit Q1; see figure 1). [photo of obverse and reverse].
Page 2:
"Optical and scanning electron microscopic examinations conducted on the submitted coin (Exhibit Q1) revealed that the coin's obverse does not exhibit any indications of alterations to the date or surrounding field (see figure 2). [two scanning electron micrographs of the final 9 of the date are included, the first is enlarged 180 times, the next is enlarged 200 times].
Below these photos the report continues: "Enlargements show no indications of alterations--metal shows smooth transition from numbers to the field. An alteration at these magnifications would be evident by tool mark striations or seams with solder or glue. Alteration from within the coin (embossing) would result in less defined numerals and disturbances on the surface of the numerals."
The report goes on:
"Further, the edge and rim of the submitted coin (Exhibit Q1) was examined for evidence of seams or alterations that would suggest that the submitted coin was a composite of a 1959-D obverse with a separate wheat reverse (see figure 3)." "Figure 3: Micrographs of the rims of the submitted coin (Exhibit Q1)" show the obverse rim near the W of WE, and the reverse rim near a wheat ear and are magnified 60 times. Below the micrographs the Report states: "Enlargements show no indications of alterations or seams. The metal shows smooth transition from the field to the rim and then to the edge. An alteration at these magnifications would be evident by tool mark striations or seams with solder or glue."
Page 3 continues:
"No evidence of manipulation or alteration to the edge of the submitted coin (Exhibit Q1) was observed (see figure 4)." "Figure 4: Optical micrograph of the edge of the submitted coin (Exhibit Q1)" which shows the edge of the coin and concludes: "Enlargements show no indications of alterations or seams in the edge. The metal appears undisturbed, as does the oxidation (toning). An alteration at these magnifications would be evident by tool mark striations or seams with solder or glue."
The Report next examines the die polish lines as follows: "The submitted Lincoln/wheat cent (Exhibit Q1) displays prominent die polish (raised striations in the field, but absent in the raised devices) on the obverse and reverse (see figures 5 through 7). During the course of examination, the subject coin was compared to one 1959 cent and two 1959-D cents that had similar die polish on the obverse. No significant differences in the appearance of the polish were observed." Two greatly enlarged micrographs of the field and ERTY follow: "Figure 5: Optical micrograph of the die polish on Exhibit Q1 and Figure 6: Optical micrograph of the die polish on Exhibit Q1."
Page 4 continues: Figure 7: Optical micrograph of die polish on the reverse of submitted coin (Exhibit Q1)" with a very large micrograph of the central reverse which shows die polish lines in the field.
The Report continues: "Nondestructive physical examinations conducted on the submitted coin (Exhibit Q1) revealed that the coin is consistent in mass, diameter, and thickness of genuine 1958/1959 cent coins. Additionally, surface measurements by energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy revealed that the coin is consistent in elemental composition with genuine 1958/1959 cent coins (see table 1).
"Table 1: Composition, diameter, thickness, and Mass of Exhibit Q1
Exhibit Cu(%) Zn & Sn (%) Diameter (mm) Thickness (mm) Mass (g)
Genuine* 95.0 5.0 19.05 1.58 3.11
Q1 ~95 - 97 ~3 - 5 19.1 - 19.2 1.5 - 1.6 3.09
*The numbers presented in this row are the Mint specifications for genuine 1947-1962.

Given this evidence, the Report goes on:
"Although the submitted 1959-D Lincoln Cent (Exhibit Q1) exhibits the wheat reverse, instead of the Mint specified memorial reverse, the submitted coin exhibits physical characteristics, such as device detail, metal flow, die polish, thickness, diameter, mass and composition, consistent with genuine 1958/59 Lincoln cents. Further, the submitted Lincoln/wheat cent does not exhibit any indications of alterations to the date or evidence of edge alteration, indicating that the submitted coin was a result of combining two genuine coins. Additionally, no characteristics associated with counterfeit coins, such as tool marks, file marks, raised metal or unusual oxidation ("toning") were observed."

Page 5 begins:
"In the absence of any evidence that the submitted 1959-D Lincoln/wheat cent (Exhibit Q1) is not consistent with having been manufactured by the US Mint, the coin was determined to be a genuine mule cent."
The page continues with remarks which discuss the way the coin was handled, and the fact that it was returned to the owner, and the Report was signed by Marc J. Surrency, Counterfeit Specialist and Approved by Anthony M. Chapa, Special Agent in Charge.

In another specialized reference work, The Authoritative Reference on Lincoln Cents by John Wexler and Kevin Flynn, the authors devote 3 pages to this coin. They note that in 1993 this coin was submitted to the ANA for authentication. Michael Fahey, the examiner at the ANA "could find no evidence of it being counterfeit. However, because there was no evidence the Mint could have produced it and it is hard to conceive how this could happen accidently. Since only one specimen has ever been found, the ANA returned the coin with a "no decision". J.P. Martin, chief authenticator for the ANA, said that when he examined the coin he could not find any evidence that the coin is counterfeit, but also stated that his gut instinct is that the coin is not genuine." J.P. Martin followed up with a letter which is quoted at in full in the Wexler Flynn reference, and we quote the relevant portion here "All in all, the attention given to the die as shown by the die polish is the most bothersome. I challenge any readers to match the shown die polish to the 1959-D obverse or the wheat reverse. Though this piece appears to be suspicious, no absolute technical condemnation can be made. Especially without a comparison example from the same dies. For this reason, the coin was given a "No Decision" by American Numismatic Association Authentication Bureau. This was circa 1993. Since that time, J. P. Martin has left the ANA to be one of the founding partners of the ICG grading service.

J.P. Martin here touches on what will likely resolve the questions swirling about this controversial coin. In 2002 when Larry Goldberg discussed the coin with Rick Montgomery, he said that if other Lincoln cents of the 1958-D reverse and 1959-D obverse dies were submitted, there is a better chance the mule coin could get graded. Given the obvious die lines on the present mule specimen, it should only be a matter of searching to locate matching dies to both the obverse and reverse! It is very unlikely that new dies were used just to coin this one specimen, and the dies were very likely normal production dies which happened to be available when the new reverse was being adapted by the mints.

Okay, let's do some simple math. Walter Breen states in his Encyclopedia that die life for Lincoln cents produced during this period was around 700,000 coins per die (page 233). Mintage for 1958-D cents (it being reasonable to assume the reverse die would have been a 1958-D) was 800,953,000 divided by 700,000 coins per die equals approximately 1,145 dies. Now, let's do the obverse die, 1959-D mintage was 1,279,760,000 divided by 700,000 equals 1,828 obverse dies. Well, while daunting, the task at hand is not insurmountable! Examining circulated coins will not work (I tried that), as the die lines quickly disappear after limited circulation. Thus, this endeavor will best be completed by purchasing bags and bags of 1958-D cents (about $5 per roll of 50 coins) and bags and even more bags of 1959-D cents (about $1 per roll) and quick examination of the coins will hopefully produce an exact match to the unique die lines seen as a signature on this coin. Matching the two dies from regular issue coins to this mule piece will prove that the coin was struck from genuine Denver Mint dies, and given the absolute assertion that the coin is genuine by the United States Secret Service Counterfeit Division it would be hard for anyone to refute the coins authenticity. Once the dies are matched up, we are confident the grading services will have to certify and grade the coin as a genuine Mint product.

How did this coin come about? It is very difficult to imagine that somehow just one slipped out and got into circulation, although anything is possible given the massive production of coins each year at the Mint (stranger things have happened). It was more likely made during a quiet moment at the Denver Mint, under similar circumstances to the one known 1943-D copper cent, a special striking as it were, not unlike dozens and dozens of other famous rarities produced during the last 209 years at the various United States mints.
Valuing this unique cent is virtually impossible. We feel confident that it will bring less than the similarly unique 1933 double eagle at $7,590,020. Perhaps it will bring a price similar to the unique 1943-D copper cent, which realized $82,500 way back in 1996 at a Superior Sale, or the more current example of the extremely rare 1943-S copper cent which was NGC MS-61 Brown which realized $115,000 in our February 2000 Sale.

For those out there in coinland who have the time and inclination, the dies could quite possibly be matched up just from the photos in the Wexler Flynn reference, or from the photos in this catalog, prior to the auction of this coin in September. If there isn't time, it is likely the matching dies could be found and the coin resubmitted with the additional evidence and a copy of the Treasury Report.

In particular, please note the die lines which should be easy to match up when compared with other mint 1958-D and 1959-D cents, on the obverse look for the die line which connects the lower loop of the B in LIBERTY to the upper half left side of the upright of the E. The reverse is very easy to identify, there is a long die line from the middle serif of the F in OF up to the center of the upright of the E in CENT. Also, we note two or three parallel die lines extending down at an angle from the left wheat ear near the top. These are very clearly visible on the coin under magnification, and are also seen in excellent detail on page 335 of the Wexler Flynn reference book.

While controversial, this coin seems to be turning the tide in its favor with the Treasury Report, and with a little research, could soon be die linked to other existing 1958-D and 1959-D cents, which will likely lay the controversy to bed, and the coin can finally be accepted by the grading services and other experts in the Lincoln cent series.

As the controversy still swirls around this mule, the major grading services have chosen NOT to grade this coin as of yet. Nevertheless, we feel that if someone took the time to locate other examples of the obverse and reverse dies which were used for normal production coins, combined with the more thorough Secret Service Authenticity Report of 2002, there would be a better chance that the coin may get graded in the future.

The property is not guaranteed to be authentic, and is marketable as is, and can not be returned.
Estimated Value $25,000-UP.

Lot 2142

$10 Indian. 1915-S. NGC graded MS-65. One of the very finest graded of this rare date, with splendid luster and a sharp strike on all the finest devices. The fields are sublime, and show no annoying contact marks. NGC has graded only 2 this high, with 2 graded higher.
Estimated Value $37,500-UP.

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