By CoinWeek …..
A brilliantly “target toned” 1953-S Lincoln cent certified MS-65 BN by NGC with a green CAC sticker is being auctioned by GreatCollections. At the time of publication, the high bid stands at $1,150.88 USD, underscoring the premiums some collectors are willing to pay for remarkable toning.
Struck towards the end of circulating coinage production at the San Francisco Mint, 1953-S Lincoln cents are not generally the highest-quality cents produced at that facility. Its equipment aging and its premises too small to accommodate the necessary upgrades, the Mint suspended coining operations in San Francisco after 1955. Many 1953-S Lincoln cents were lightly struck by over-polished dies on inadequately prepared planchets, resulting in a number of technical problems common to later-date S-mint Lincoln cents according to David Lange’s The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents. Spotting, streaking, and discoloration problems are common, according to Lange’s book.
Astute Lincoln cent collectors typically focus on Red cents in top grades with strong eye appeal or some other distinguishing quality, but certified populations of Brown 1953-S Lincoln cents are considerably smaller than Red specimens from the same date. To date, NGC has only certified 17 1953-S Lincoln cents Brown.
Additionally, there is a market of serious collectors for a coin with this kind of unusual, premium quality toning. An MS-65 BN Lincoln cent is not a rare coin (181,835,000 were struck), but the toning that the current example sports sets it apart from its more common brethren.
“Target toning” refers to coins with concentric circles of toning that resemble a target at an archery or gun range. Strong, brightly colored, natural target toning is rare and attracts the interest of serious collectors, even for coins that might not otherwise do so. Bright blue, red, orange, yellow, and purple rings of toning surround Lincoln’s bust on the obverse against the Brown backdrop identified by NGC’s grade.
Its reverse is also toned, with a circle of electric blue clinging to the edge, though it does not sport the same “target toning” as the obverse.
As mentioned above, the top bid in the GC auction is $1,150.88 at the time of publication. Fifty-four bids have been recorded, the page has been viewed 417 times, and 33 GC members are tracking the sale. To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.
GC is offering a number of other 1953-S Lincoln cents in higher grades, MS-66 and 67 Red, that have not attracted bids anywhere near the target toned example covered here. Only one of the other offered 1953-S Lincoln cents has a top bid above $100, at the time of writing, for an example certified MS-67 by PCGS. The other 1953-S cent top bids are all currently under $50 – a fraction of the top bid for the target toned example discussed above.
The sale closes at 4:26:52 Pacific Time on October 31.