Collectors should note that a near-perfect Deep Cameo Proof 1970-S Lincoln cent, certified PR-69 RD by PCGS with a US bunting flag label, is currently being auctioned by GreatCollections. At the time of publication, the highest of 71 bids stands at $3,303.00 USD. This lot has been viewed 406 times, and 32 GC members are tracking the sale. Interested bidders should be advised that three days remain in the auction that closes on Sunday, March 20, 4:26:52 PM Pacific Time (7:26 PM Eastern).
One of the key varieties of Lincoln Memorial cent, not only is the 1970-S Small Date a relatively scarce variety and one of the most collectible, but this particular coin is also one of only three examples graded PR-69 DCAM, and there are no registered examples of a higher grade. While the auction record of $18,400 for a PR-69 DCAM was set in a January 2005 sale, the last piece of this grade to be sold in 2020 was auctioned in March for $6,600. As a significant condition rarity, this particular piece stands as one of the pinnacles of Memorial Lincoln cents for any astute collector of modern American coinage.
As befitting the grade, this coin is practically flawless with no notable scuff marks and retains virtually 100% of its mint luster. Additionally, this example has also been preserved in its original brilliant red coloring and has no traces of diminished color, natural or otherwise.
Due to the usage of two separate types of dies in 1970 at the San Francisco Mint, there are two main varieties: Small Date and Large Date. The Large Date variety is more common, and of the total mintage of 2,632,810 Proof cents in 1970, it is estimated that between 10% and 15% are of the Small Date, or High 7, variety. This means that approximately 250,000 to 300,000 1970-S Small Date Proof coins were struck.
There are two main ways to distinguish the Small Date and Large Date varieties. The most well-known method is to compare the heights of the numerals. On the Large Date variety, the seven is situated slightly lower and is not even with the top of the other digits. The second and perhaps easier method is to examine the word “LIBERTY”. On the Small Date variety, it is generally weakly struck, and on the Large Date variety, it has a stronger strike with more definition. Not all examples of the Small Date variety have a weakly struck LIBERTY, but all Large Date examples feature a sharply struck LIBERTY.
The obverse of the 1970 Lincoln cent was designed by Victor David Brenner and appears largely as it did when the type was first minted in 1909. The main difference between the 1976 obverse and the 1909 version is the location of Brenners’ initials, V.D.B., which were added under President Abraham Lincoln’s bust in 1918 after their removal from the reverse in late 1909. The date 1970 appears to the right of Lincoln and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears above the president. Beneath the date is the “S” mint mark. On the left of the 16th president is the word LIBERTY.
Frank Gasparro designed the 1959 Lincoln Memorial reverse that replaced the original 1909 Brenner wheat stalk design (the Wheat cent). Gasparro’s initials FG appear on the lower-right side of the Lincoln Memorial. Below the edifice and along the rim are the words ONE CENT, while the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA run along the top half of the reverse along the rim. Between the top of the Lincoln Memorial and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscription is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The edge of the 1976 Lincoln Cent is smooth or plain and without reeding, as are all other Lincoln cents.
As mentioned above, the top bid in the GC auction is $3,303 (USD) at the time of publication. To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.