By CoinWeek ….
On Sunday, August 23, bidding ends on GreatCollections.com for this 1944-D/S Lincoln cent, graded MS-67 RD by PCGS and approved by CAC.
Almost 431 million Lincoln cents were struck in 1944 at the Denver Mint, and out of that number thousands of repunched, overstruck (D/S) mint marks are known to have made it into circulation. The official Red Book Guide Book of Lincoln Cents gives an estimate of 500,000 such coins extant.
And of the 1944-D/S overstrikes known to exist, there are two varieties: the “S High” and the “S Low”. The underlying San Francisco mint mark is situated higher on the coin and is therefore easier to see on an “S High” specimen but both are more or less as popular as the overpunch in general. These varieties may or may not be acknowledged on the certified holder label depending on when the coin was graded. The current example appears to be of the “S High” variety but it is not identified on the label.
PCGS reports just three coins certified as a fully red (RD) MS-67, with one graded higher at MS-67+ RD. The only auction record listed by PCGS for an MS-67 RD example is for a specimen that sold for $35,250 USD (including buyer’s premium) in September 2019. This is, in fact, the record price for a fully red 1944-D/S in any grade.
For more auction results, you can search through the GreatCollections Auction Archives, with records for over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years.
At the time of writing, the starting bid for this major variety Gem is $34,000.
Background of the Wheat Reverse Lincoln Cent
The Lincoln cent (1909 to present) has been a favorite of collectors for many decades. It was the first circulating U.S. coin to feature the likeness of a real person: 16th president Abraham Lincoln, one of the most beloved presidents in the country’s history. First released in 1909, the Lincoln cent was issued in time for the centennial of Lincoln’s birth.
With few exceptions, millions (if not billions in more modern times) of Lincoln cents have been produced every year. Combined with its low face value, it is a coin that almost anyone can collect, including kids. Yet the series also features enough rarities and varieties both major and minor to hold the interest of the serious numismatist.
The first year of the design includes the issues that prominently display on the reverse the initials of the designer, Victor D. Brenner – which caused controversy at the time of release, even though designers initials had previously been placed on U.S. coins. Because those initials were subsequently removed (and then reinstated in a less conspicuous location on the obverse in 1918), the 1909 V.D.B. and 1909-S V.D.B. cents are considered a separate type.
Lincoln cents were made of a bronze alloy in most years, with a couple of variations during the years of World War II. Because copper was a critical war material, cents in 1943 were produced on zinc-coated steel planchets. That resulted in the inadvertent creation of two Lincoln cent rarities, the first being the copper cents dated 1943, and the second being the steel cents dated 1944. From 1944 through 1946, cents were produced from reused shell cases, whose bronze composition was nearly identical to the original issues minus the tin.
Millions of business strike Wheat Lincoln cents were produced almost every year of the type’s run (1909-1958). Collector interest in the type grew slowly, not taking off until the low-mintage 1931-S was extensively publicized, along with the advent of collecting boards in the early 1930s.
Frank Gasparro designed the 1959 Lincoln Memorial reverse that replaced the original 1909 Brenner wheat stalk design.
On the obverse, Brenner’s portrait of Abraham Lincoln depicts the President from the shoulder up. Lincoln is dressed in a period suit and is wearing a bow tie. At the top of the design, wrapping around the rim is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”. “LIBERTY” appears behind Lincoln’s neck, on the left side of the coin. The date appears slightly lower, in front of Lincoln’s portrait, on the coin’s right side. The mint mark “D” is below the date.
On the reverse, two sheaths of wheat wrap around the right and the left side of the coin. At the top of the design, the motto “E ·PLURIBUS · UNUM” wraps around the rim. ONE CENT is inscribed in large letters, sans serif, the bottom arm of the E extends beyond the arm at the top. The middle arm is recessed. Beneath, in the same font, but smaller type: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The edge is plain.