Searching pocket change for error coins can be fun and profitable, but searching whole rolls of uncirculated coins can sometimes turn up real treasure! Variety coin expert Ken Potter reports that a Michigan collector, Michael Tremonti, found a BU 1969-S doubled die penny while searching through a 50-coin roll of uncirculated 1969-S cents! The coin has been sent to PCGS for grading and encapsulation, and according to previous auction prices for a Mint State 1969-S doubled die obverse, Tremonti's lucky find is worth at least $44,000 and maybe as much as $100,000 or more depending on the grade it gets. Potter estimates that the number of known specimens of this 1969-S doubled die penny is only about 25 coins.
Potter was so excited about this find that he sent out a news release about it, in which he relates how he learned of this amazing find. Potter says that when Tremonti first called him, he was very skeptical. "I was unaware of Tremonti's level of expertise, so I just assumed the find was one of the exceedingly common examples of strike doubling encountered on this date. This date (along with the 1968-S and 1970-S cents) is the most notorious for this form of doubling damage occurring on Lincoln cents. I advised him of this but he shrugged it off as not being what he found. As I talked to him further he seemed to be knowledgeable with the subject. It seemed that for once there was a possibility that one of the folks making the common claim of finding a 1969-S doubled die cent might have actually done so. To my surprise, the coin turned out to be a beautiful brilliant uncirculated example of this rare variety."
As often happens when a certain coin gets a lot of press coverage, the demand intensifies and the coin rises in value. To this day, the major 1969-S doubled die obverse cent drives higher prices at auction than its contemporaries which actually display comparable doubling, such as the major 1972 doubled die obverse cent (although the 1969-S is believed to be quite a bit rarer.) What Tremonti's find makes clear to all of us is that there are still lots of very valuable error and variety coins waiting to be found, whether you are checking your pocket change or searching through rolls of original bank wrapped coins. As I like to put it, "Are you sure you didn't spend a $30,000 penny for your lunch yesterday?"
Rare Coins in Pocket Change - Suggested Reading
- Top 10 Most Valuable Error Coins Found in Pocket Change
- List of Major Lincoln Memorial Die Varieties
- Find Rare Coins in Pocket Change in 8 Easy Steps
- Insider Secrets to Getting Rolls of Coins From Banks
Note: This version corrects some facts from an earlier version, the corrections for which I would like to thank Ken Potter. Potter provided further information about the source of the lucky roll of coins, too, and it seems Tremonti doesn't recall when or where he bought the roll. Tremonti is a regular cherrypicker who often buys rolls at coin shows so he can search them for die varieties. For additional information about this coin, please read Potter's original 1969-S penny news release.