Rare MS-68 red Lincoln, Wheat cents

1918 1945 lead

Copper coins are prone to spotting, so it’s unusual to see exceptionally well-preserved cents more than a century old. Stack’s Bowers’ March 26 Rarities Night session included a 1918 Lincoln cent graded Mint State-68 red by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $31,200. It is one of just three in this grade at PCGS from a mintage approaching 300 million, and it features rose-red color, a bold strike, and extraordinary eye appeal.

A few lots later, a 1945-D Lincoln cent graded MS-68 red that is also tied with two others as the finest at PCGS sold for $9,600. The cataloger noted, “Both sides are intensely lustrous with a satiny finish that is as bright, smooth and fresh as the day of striking,” and the high quality is especially remarkable given some of the issues the Denver Mint experienced in producing coins during World War II’s final year.

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