By CoinWeek ….
During their upcoming U.S. Coins Signature Auction, held in conjunction with the 2024 Winter FUN Show, Heritage is offering a rare example of the extremely popular 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Lincoln cent.
What Makes the 1969-S DDO Lincoln Cent so Valuable?
First discovered in 1970, there was some controversy concerning whether or not the Doubled Die 1969-S Lincoln cent was even real.
Coin dealers Roy Gray and Mort Goodman had created counterfeit Doubled Die Obverse 1969 (Philadelphia) Lincoln cents using industrial equipment and sold 2,900 of them for $92,000 to a collector to distribute. When the pair asked this same collector to drop 85 examples of their illicit handiwork into circulation in the Washington, D.C., area, the collector surrendered the “coins” to the United States Secret Service. The investigation of Gray and Goodman turned up evidence for a much broader counterfeiting scheme, and the two were sentenced to years in federal prison.
So when coin collector Cecil Moorhouse found his DDO in a roll of pennies from the San Francisco Federal Reserve that he got at his local Bank of America branch and reported it to Coin World in July 1970, the Secret Service seized the coin, believing it to be another of the Gray and Goodman fakes. It was, of course, determined to be a genuine doubled die error by the United States Mint and later returned to Moorhouse. Another collector named Bill Hudson is credited with independently discovering a genuine example around the same time.
This wasn’t, however, the only genuine 1969-S DDO the Secret Service had found in their hunt for counterfeits. Unfortunately, they had disposed of the ones they found before the Mint verified the Moorhouse coin, making a rare error coin even rarer. Out of the less than 100 that PCGS believes may have been produced, it is estimated that only a few dozen survive today.
As of the time of writing, PCGS reports only 11 grading events certified Full Red across all grades. The cent being offered on January 11 is one of four graded MS63RD, with seven examples in higher grades and the solitary top-pop coin being certified MS66RD (for their part, NGC reports three grading events for the coin, with an MS65RD as the sole top pop). This 1969-S DDO Lincoln cent has a brilliant red color with original luster, though there are several surface marks and a spot on the obverse near Lincoln’s tie. Nevertheless, it is the dramatic and very sharp naked-eye doubling on the obverse that is the showstopper here. Heritage last sold this coin at their Whitman Expo U.S. Coin Signature Auction in March 2009, where it garnered $86,250 USD.
Below is a video that presents the coin in three dimensions of movement:
At the time of writing, the high bid on this 1969-S DDO Lincoln cent is $30,000.
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