NGC Registry

Collection Manager >

Modern Lincoln Memorial Varieties

Category:  Varieties
Owner:  Cellgazer
Last Modified:  11/26/2019
Set Description
A collection of the most popular and interesting varieties, including doubled dies, missing or prepunched mint marks. Also wide vs. close "AM" in those years when the proof vs. business strikes had different reverse letter spacing.

Set Goals
To obtain the finest NGC graded examples of these varieties....

Slot Name
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
View Coin 1969 Doubled Die Obverse Cent UNITED STATES 95% copper 5% zinc 1C 1969 S DOUBLED DIE OBV FS 101 NGC MS 63 BN 1969-S 1C Doubled Die Obverse, FS-101, MS63 Brown NGC. Die doubling is plainly visible on the date, LIBERTY, and IN GOD WE TRUST. PCGS estimates that only about 30 examples of this variety are known, and it is ranked second in Schechter and Garrett's 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins, third edition, surpassed in importance only by the 1975 No S proof dime. They write: "It is definitely the most valuable Lincoln cent variety and among the most rare." Discovered in 1970, the variety was initially declared a counterfeit by the U.S. Secret Service, however, the Service later reversed its position when it was confirmed that the variety was a genuine Mint error. In the decades since, the Doubled Die's popularity has ballooned among collectors, compounded by the fact that few additional examples have ever been discovered.

This unworn piece displays satiny chestnut-brown surfaces with deep copper-orange undertones. There are no significant abrasions, although the rich patina slightly subdues the luster, preventing a finer numeric grade in the eyes of NGC. A pleasing example of this important modern rarity. (Variety PCGS# 37994, Base PCGS# 2921)

From Heritage Auctions #1300 lot 3027
View Coin 1970 S Doubled Die Obverse Large Date Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1970 S DDO LARGE DATE FS-101 NGC MS 64 RB The 1970 S Doubled Die Obverse 1 is
probably the third rarest ddo known
after the 1958 ddo 1 and 1969 S ddo 1.
Considering the existence of the 1970 S
small date, it is safe to assume that rolls
of 1970 S have been adequately
searched for varieties.
View Coin 1970 S Small Date Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1970 S SMALL DATE NGC PF 69 RD One of the most difficult to discern (if not to obtain) varieties. Rare in high grades, there are only 3 better than this example according to NGC Coin Explorer.
View Coin 1971 S Doubled Die Obverse Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1971 S DDO FS-102 NGC PF 67 RD Strong doubling in "In God We Trust"... part of an interesting run of doubled die obverses from the US mint - '69 to '72
View Coin 1972 Doubled Die Obverse Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1972 DOUBLED DIE OBV NGC MS 67 RD This strongly doubled die is one of the most visually dramatic varieties in the Lincoln Memorial cent series. It caused a sensation when it was first discovered in 1972 and collector interest has never faded. The entire obverse is fully doubled, with the doubling clear both on the legends, IN GOD WE TRUST and LIBERTY, and on the date. Each element shows a slightly offset replication of itself. The variety was created when the die that struck the coins was produced, and it received two misaligned impressions of the design from the hub. The doubling was then struck on each coin in the same way.

Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott; Bressett, Kenneth; Bowers, Q. David (2011-03-04). 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 959-963). Whitman Publishing. Kindle Edition.
View Coin 1981 S Type 2 Proof Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1981 S TYPE 2 NGC PF 69 RD ULTRA CAMEO Identified by their S mintmark, cents from the San Francisco Mint have always been popularly collected. For early dates, knowing the shape and position of mintmarks is a useful tool for authenticators, allowing them to discern fakes from genuine examples. For later-date coins, mintmarks are looked at enthusiastically by variety hunters who search for repunched or otherwise unusual mintmarks. Styles and changes of mintmarks over the years are also well-studied. For example, we know that six different S-mintmark styles were used on Memorial cents between 1959 and the end of the series in 2008. Of all the mintmark styles, there is just one that was only used for a single year, and only for part of that year at that: the Clear S, or Type 2, mintmark used on the Proof 1981-S Lincoln cent. By 1979, the punch that imprinted the S mintmark onto dies had filled, becoming an amorphous blob. It was replaced by a clearer, sans serif version, which was used to make Proof coinage for part of 1979, all of 1980, and on into 1981. By 1981, however, it was clear that this punch, too, was wearing and beginning to fill. A new punch, a modest refinement over the previous version, was used to create dies for Proof 1981-S cents for the remainder of the year. This mintmark is referred to as the Clear S or Type 2 mintmark, while the earlier version is called either the Filled S or Type 1. Distinguishing the two types requires a touch of familiarity with the characteristics of both mintmarks. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the letter-top of the upper portion of the mark. On the Filled S (Type 1) variety, the letter-top is curved. On the Clear S (Type 2), the top of the letter is a flattened shelf and terminates in a rounded bulb. Magnification is helpful in making this determination. For the Clear S version, the ends of the letter should be distinct from the loops of the S, but this is not always the case, and mintmarks that are slightly filled can be found for this version. Probably because of the limited nature of the improvement, a more squat and traditional serif S was put into use in 1982, making the 1981-S Clear S cent the only Lincoln cent to use this Type 2 mintmark. Initially, the only way to get this cent was as part of the 1981 Proof set. The set was a big seller because the Susan B. Anthony dollar, included in the set, was not issued for circulation that year. Slightly more than four million sets were sold. Roughly one out of every six sets is said to contain a Clear S Lincoln cent, putting the estimated mintage of the variety at about 600,000. Although this does not make it truly scarce, it remains sought-after and widely collected. It is also still possible to pick out unattributed examples from original Proof sets. Finally, one should pay attention to the mintmark on Susan B. Anthony dollars, too, because a 1981-S Clear S dollar (number 58 on this list) is also worth a pretty penny.

Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott. 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 3230-3236). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.
View Coin 1983 Doubled Die Reverse Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1983 DOUBLED DIE REV NGC MS 67 RD My mother thinks people are crazy who buy pennies with mistakes. "They should just throw them out in the street" I think she said. Don't tell her that I bought this.
View Coin 1982 Small Date Zinc Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1982 SM DT ZINC NGC MS 68 RD 1982 marks a year of transition for the Lincoln cent, and it also offers a unique opportunity for the collector. Since the changeover to the new material occurred after production of the cents had already begun, both bronze and zinc-core planchets were used in 1982. In addition to the change in metal composition, two different hub design styles were also used to produce coins of both types. These differences are what are referred to as "Large Date" and "Small Date" varieties.
View Coin 1984 Doubled Die Obverse Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1984 DOUBLED DIE OBV NGC MS 68 RD The 1984 Doubled-Die Obverse Lincoln cent has a nickname that is also the key to its attribution—sometimes it’s called the “Doubled Ear Lincoln cent.” Rather unusually, the doubling of this coin appears almost exclusively on the bust of Lincoln, instead of on the lettering that surrounds him. It is so dramatic that the doubling creates a fully duplicated and well-spaced earlobe beneath Lincoln’s full ear. Doubling can also be seen on Lincoln’s beard, giving him a full double chin and a rather portly appearance. Variety expert Ken Potter notes that the widest doubling is seen on Lincoln’s bowtie, although this feature usually gets less mention. The discovery of this coin mirrored that of the 1983 Doubled-Die Reverse cent (see number 31), with both being found in large caches. Because these two coins appeared in consecutive years, it seems natural to compare them. Since the variety’s discovery in 1984, experts have speculated that the 1984 Doubled-Die Obverse is more common than the previous year’s Doubled-Die Reverse. A large find by a single coin dealer, believed to number 2,000 pieces, contributed to this thinking. Over time, certification reports have yielded additional insights, and it now appears that the two coins are of comparable rarity, with about 4,000 examples of each known to collectors. Compared to its 1983 counterpart, the 1984 Doubled-Die Obverse does not exhibit severe planchet flaws nearly as frequently. Many of the problems that the Mint experienced beginning in 1982 in creating Lincoln cents from a copper-layered zinc-core planchet were resolved by 1984, and therefore spotting and corrosion are less severe on this issue. As a result, higher-condition examples are much more plentiful, and the average grade of this cent is a full grade point higher than for the 1983 variety. Hence, at any given grade level, the 1984 issue trades for much less than the 1983, although overall interest level and availability are again similar. Both coins are considered requirements of a complete set of Lincoln Memorial cents. It is also very important to note that there are other collectible doubled-die obverses for this date, although the doubled-ear variety described here is by far the most valuable of them. One of the major pitfalls of variety collecting is that less-frequently collected varieties have significantly lower values, and, at one point or another, most variety collectors mistakenly purchase a coin that they believe is more desirable (and therefore more valuable) than it actually is. When purchasing this coin, especially when the example has not been attributed by a major grading service, make sure that the coin is indeed the doubled-ear example described here. Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott; Bressett, Kenneth; Bowers, Q. David (2011-03-04). 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 2834-2855). Whitman Publishing. Kindle Edition.
View Coin 1999 Wide "AM" cent UNITED STATES 1C 1999 WIDE "AM" NGC MS 65 RD While the precise purpose of these changes is not 100 percent clear, whether it might have been for either aesthetic reasons or to improve die life, the Mint experimented with different letter positioning on the reverse of the Lincoln cent throughout the 1990s. The most notable of these changes were adjustments to the spacing of the letters AM in AMERICA. In 1993, all coins had a “Close AM” reverse, with the letters nearly touching. This reverse was used for almost all business-strike (circulation-issue) coins until the end of the series in 2008. A reverse style with more spacing between the letters, the “Wide AM” reverse, was used for nearly all Proof issues from 1994 to 2008. The compelling feature of these hub changes is that they were not followed with perfect consistency, and variations exist. In 2001, die-variety expert John Wexler found a circulation 2000 Lincoln cent with a Wide AM reverse, the version intended for Proof coinage. Shortly thereafter, a 1998 Wide AM Lincoln cent was also found. Both were discovered in roll quantity, and, although not common, they are available. Sometime later, the 1999 Wide AM Lincoln cent was found to fill in the gap. Today, only about 500 examples are known and they are by far the rarest of the Wide AM circulation Lincoln cents of this era. Subtle and delicate hub variations of this type are usually not collectible because they are too minor to be noteworthy or interesting. These varieties, however, are noteworthy and interesting for two clear reasons. First, the difference in letter spacing is very easy to see. Reference coins for both the Wide AM and Close AM configurations can always be found from previous years’ issues for comparison. Second, one hub style was used for Proof coinage, while the other was used for circulation coinage, suggesting to some that the wrong die or hub was used accidentally. To add to the intrigue of these coins, Proof coins also exist with the Close AM reverse for the 1998-S and 1999-S issues. In other words, the business-strike-style reverse was used to make Proof coins. Enthusiasts will seek to complete the set of all reverse types for both Proof and Mint State issues. In the case of the Proof issues, the 1999-S is more common than the 1998-S, while the opposite is true for the Mint State issues. It isn’t known how many 1999 Wide AM Lincoln cents were made. Reverse dies can strike many hundreds of thousands or even a million Lincoln cents for circulation. The challenge with circulating Lincoln cent varieties is that if they are discovered well after their time of mintage, they become widely distributed and very difficult to find in quantity. While the number of known 1999 Wide AM Lincoln cents will certainly increase from today’s levels, it’s uncertain that a huge cache will ever be found. Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott; Bressett, Kenneth; Bowers, Q. David (2011-03-04). 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 2106-2129). Whitman Publishing. Kindle Edition.
View Coin 1990 No S Proof Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1990 NO S NGC PF 69 RD ULTRA CAMEO The 1990 No S Lincoln cent is a Proof coin struck at the San Francisco Mint missing the obligatory and otherwise standard S mintmark. This omission had occurred several times in the past, including at least three times on the Roosevelt dime and once on the Jefferson nickel. This issue is the sole Lincoln cent missing its mintmark and represents the last time to date that such an omission occurred on a Proof coin. The first detail makes this coin especially coveted, while the second tells a particularly fascinating story. Lincoln cents are collected by a large and enthusiastic group, a fact that makes this coin, the only Lincoln cent of its kind, very desirable. All collectors of Proof Lincoln Memorial cents want one. It also turns out that the coin is very rare, much rarer than many expected (more on that to follow), which makes it rather expensive, trading for as much as $7,000 in the highest grades. All of these cents were issued in Proof sets and Prestige Proof sets—versions of the Proof set that included a Proof 1990-P Eisenhower commemorative dollar. In 1990, a Proof die struck approximately 3,700 cents, which is the estimated mintage figure of the 1990 No S Lincoln cent. When this coin was discovered not long after the Proof sets were issued, the U.S. Mint confirmed the error and announced that they had recovered and destroyed 145 examples. For this reason, the net mintage figure of this variety is often reported as 3,555. The total number of Proof sets issued in 1990 was nearly 2.8 million. To date, only about 250 examples are known, less than 1/10 the number thought to be struck. The discovery rate is so low that some numismatists suggest that many fewer than 3,555 ever actually left the Mint.
The question remains as to how such a coin could have been produced in 1990. Preparing a Proof die requires that the die be chrome-plated, polished, and, in 1990, sandblasted by hand to create the frosted design elements. A number of Mint employees handled and inspected the die without, apparently, noticing the missing mintmark. Another detail adds more intrigue to the story of this coin, as, starting in 1985, the master dies used to make dies for Proof coins included the S mintmark. When such errors had occurred previously, most recently in 1983, mintmarks were still being added by hand to individual dies, making this type of error more likely. Furthermore, Lincoln cent dies without mintmarks in 1990 would all have been clearly intended for the production of circulating coinage. In the case of the 1990 No S cent, it appears that a die intended to strike circulating coinage was treated and used to strike Proof coins at San Francisco. There are certainly still discoveries of these coins to be made. Most commonly, they are found in the Prestige Proof set, and the prize of finding one is significant. Additionally, a doubled-die nickel and a doubled-die quarter can be found in 1990 Proof sets (numbers 60 and 51 on this list, respectively). The prospect of finding one of three valuable varieties makes sets of this year irresistible to modern-coin specialists.

Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott. 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 1075-1079). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.
View Coin 1992 D Close "AM" Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1992 D CLOSE "AM" NGC MS 63 BN On the reverse of this aptly named variety, the letters AM in the word AMERICA are close together, nearly touching. What makes this noteworthy is that all Lincoln cents produced from 1959 to 1991 had a comparatively broad spacing between these two letters. The design change was planned for release in 1993, and indeed all 1993 Lincoln cents, both Proof and Mint State issues, are of the Close AM variety.
The year 1992 marks a transitional year. All 1992 Proof coins are of the normal Wide AM variety, as are nearly all the currency-issue coins. But a very small number of 1992 cents from both Denver and Philadelphia are known to have the Close AM reverse. Fewer than two dozen Denver Mint examples are reported, and only two 1992 Close AM cents from the Philadelphia Mint are known. The rare Philadelphia variety carries a catalog value in excess of $10,000.
While the payoff from finding a 1992 Close AM would be akin to winning the lottery, the odds of finding one are slim. In 1992, more than 4.6 billion cents were struck in Philadelphia, and another 4.4 billion were struck in Denver. If a single full die-run known. The rare Philadelphia variety carries a catalog value in excess of $10,000.
While the payoff from finding a 1992 Close AM would be akin to winning the lottery, the odds of finding one are slim. In 1992, more than 4.6 billion cents were struck in Philadelphia, and another 4.4 billion were struck in Denver. If a single full die-run were used to strike each coin, the chance of finding a Close AM may be on the order of 1 in 10,000. Based on average attrition rates, probably fewer than 60,000 survive from each Mint. To find one, you need to be deliberately looking for it.
That said, this variety isn’t too hard to spot, and magnification makes the hunt a bit easier. To help with the attribution, there is a second clear difference that distinguishes the Close AM from the Wide AM variety. On a Close AM coin, the designer’s initials, FG, are spaced farther away from the lower right side of the Lincoln Memorial. On the Wide AM variety, the G nearly touches the monument. It’s worth confirming this diagnostic as well if attribution is ever in doubt. Of course, since most coins prior to 1992 are Wide AM and most coins dated after are Close AM, it’s very easy to have coins of both reverse types for comparison.
The reason for all these minor design changes was never explicitly revealed by the Mint. They were likely aimed at improving die life to make the coin easier and more economical to produce. As numismatic author David W. Lange has noted in his Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents, beginning in 1992 such changes as this became a nearly annual occurrence, but most were imperceptible. The most noticeable of the changes has been this repositioning of the AM. Since all the 1993 cents, both Proof and Mint State, are of the Close AM reverse variety, many have speculated that the 1992 Close AM coins were struck as a test run before the change was implemented on full-scale production. Adding further credence to this theory, tests appear to have been conducted at both Mints producing these coins, Philadelphia and Denver.
For circulating Lincoln cents, the design appears to have been an improvement, as the Close AM reverse remained in use until the final year of the Memorial reverse design in 2008.

Excerpt From: Scott Schecter & Jeff Garrett. “100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins.” Apple Books.
View Coin 1995 Doubled Die Obverse Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1995 DOUBLED DIE OBV NGC MS 69 RD n late February 1995, Felix Dausilio of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a 47-year-old school custodian who had been collecting coins for only three years, made a very important discovery. Examining coins from just two rolls of Lincoln cents, he spotted an example with doubled lettering. Although he had not been collecting for very long, he knew exactly what he had found: the first 1995 Doubled-Die Obverse Lincoln cent. The first weekend in March 1995, the coin was displayed at a major coin convention in Atlanta, Georgia, and word spread throughout the numismatic press. Because the coin’s discovery came 40 years after the most visually dramatic Lincoln cent doubled die, the 1955 variety, numerous comparisons were made, further helping to cement the status of the coin among collectors. And then, the national media caught wind of the story, and a number of articles appeared throughout local and national newspapers, including, famously, a front page mention in USA Today. The Associated Press ran a wire story and Dausilio appeared on a Hartford, Connecticut, television station. The nation was captivated by a Lincoln cent that could be found in pocket change and carried a collector value of more than a hundred dollars. The coin was created, like all doubled dies, when the hub used to create its die rotated between impressions. All examples struck from this obverse die show identical doubling on the design elements. The 1995 Doubled-Die Obverse Lincoln cent shows a clearly doubled and nicely separated impression of the word LIBERTY and slightly less prominent doubling on the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST. From all accounts, it seems likely that a full production run of cents was struck from this die, with typical die life exceeding 600,000 coins. In 1995, the media attention created a frenzy, and collectors began furiously searching for 1995 Doubled-Die Obverse Lincoln cent coins. Surprisingly, they were found in significant numbers. Dealers and collectors probably rounded up more than 50,000 of them from original rolls. In a sense, it is fortunate that so many examples of these cents have been preserved, making it a popular and findable variety. Sometimes, exciting discoveries prove too elusive to become collectible. In this instance, high-grade pieces, even MS-68 Red examples, can readily be found, allowing this major variety to become a requirement for a complete set. Virtually all serious collectors of Lincoln Memorial cents will include a 1995 Doubled-Die Obverse in their collection, assuring its long-term desirability. This coin also continues to garner publicity as one of the most interesting coins that can be found in circulating coinage, although with one billion cents produced each year, the statistical likelihood of finding one in your pocket change is still remote. Having interesting varieties in circulation is one of the essential recruitment tools of numismatics, and this coin helps to meet that need. While there are certainly more valuable error coins in circulation, this coin got large amounts of publicity and remain well regarded.

Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott. 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 2621-2627). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.
View Coin !998 S Close "AM" Cent UNITED STATES 1C 1998 S CLOSE "AM" NGC PF 70 RD ULTRA CAMEO Proof coinage is struck purposefully for presentation purposes and not for use as money in circulation. Both historically and presently, the goal of Proof coinage is to showcase a nation’s coinage both to demonstrate artistry and to show off the technical capabilities of the Mint. Proof coins are made using a controlled process, with considerable attention paid to each step of their production. Specially prepared blanks receive multiple blows from a coinage die that has been treated to render the design in the best possible way. Proof coins are then sold in sets that include Proof versions of all coins struck during a given year. Because of the careful scrutiny they receive, there are relatively few collectible die varieties of Proof coins. The few that do exist seem to have slipped through the cracks without explanation, suggesting that an error occurred at the Mint. This last point plays a major role in collectors’ fascination with Proof die varieties. This is especially true of a curious die variety found on some Proof Lincoln cents from 1998, the Proof 1998-S Close AM Lincoln cent. For one year, 1993, the reverse of all Proof Lincoln cents showed the letters AM in AMERICA nearly touching. This was part of a subtle design modification meant to improve die life (a cost-saving measure) and was put into use on both Proof and circulating coins. In 1994, the design modification was retained for circulating coins, but the Wide AM reverse, which showed the letters more widely spaced, was resumed for all Proof Lincoln cents until 1998. The 1998-S Proof Lincoln cent can be found both ways—with either widely or closely spaced letters. Finding both is not easy. Only a few hundred Proof 1998-S Close AM Lincoln cents are known from the 2,086,507 total coins produced. The vast majority of that total is of the Wide AM variety. Some research suggests that as few as 15,000 Close AM coins, less than one percent of the total mintage, were struck in 1998. No one knows for sure why the variety exists. One popular theory is that a hub used for creating dies for circulation coins was used; the die then received special preparation for coining Proof coins. This variety is thus sometimes referred to as having the “circulation-style reverse.” The quality and appearance of the coin’s finish is no different from a regular Proof, but the arrangement of the reverse letters is the same as that seen on circulating coins. Without explanation, the variety was created again in 1999, and a 1999-S Close AM Proof Lincoln cent also exists. It’s about four to five times more common than the 1998 version, though. Additionally, a typo in a widely used variety reference suggested that a 2000-S Close AM cent also exists. None have yet been reported, and the variety guide has since been corrected, but this original mis-listing is occasionally replicated and quoted.

Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott. 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 2363-2369). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.

Purchase raw in proof set and submitted to NGC March 2019
View Coin 2000 Cheerios Promotion Cent UNITED STATES 1C 2000 CHEERIOS PROMOTION NGC MS 66 RD Not a die variety, but somewhat of an oddity as they came in a cereal box (in lieu of a proper toy). The lucky Cheerios customer received a Dollar coin with a Prototype reverse, today worth thousands.

To follow or send a message to this user,
please log in