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Key Date United States Small Cents

By Edited Apr 17, 2016 3 0

Key Date United States Small Cent

Key date United States small cents will inform the reader of the rare dates within the realm of small cent production by the United States Mint. Collecting these coins has become a global pastime and the prices for these rare dates has risen dramatically within recent years.

United States cents were first produced in the year 1793 for circulation to the public. The small cent arrived on the scene in 1856 with the striking of a minute amount of pattern coins with a flying eagle represented on the obverse and a wreath on the reverse. An estimated 2,000 examples were struck and, today, finding one of these is very unlikely due to the fact that most are known to be already in collections.

The cent collections being assembled presently by collectors will not include the 1856 flying eagle, as this is considered a pattern coin. None were issued for general circulation and, due to this fact, they are not considered part of any set, with the exception of a set of pattern coins.

Omitting error coins the first true key coin in the small cents of the United States will be the famous 1877 Indian Head cent. This coin had a very short mintage of only 852,500 examples and relatively speaking within a series of coins minted in the millions, the 1877 presents a formidable challenge to collectors trying to obtain an example in any grade.

The next small cent to make the grade would take us to 1909 when the last of the Mohicans so to speak was struck with an S mint mark. 309,000 of these were minted during the last year of the Indian head and are extremely hard to come by in high grades today. Low grade examples are still available, however even a G-4 coin will cost hundreds of dollars.

Besides the low mintage numbers, this year is the last year so it holds an extra appeal as all collectors like to have the first year of a design and the last year. When the production of small cents changed to the Lincoln wheat cent later in 1909, collectors immediately started to hoard this last Indian Head cent. They were right to do so as they are now very expensive coins.

United States Lincoln cents will not disappoint the key date collector, as there are plenty of rarities within this series. Starting with the first year they were produced, Lincoln cents have been avidly collected and are now appreciating at a rapid rate. Collecting key dates has become an activity also shared by investors.

With the invention of the Internet and the advance in communication technologies, the coin collecting world has seen an increase in numbers. We have also experienced a rapid decline in the amount of available examples for all key date coins. This is because there are many more people trying to acquire a dwindling commodity.

In 1909, Lincoln cents were produced with the designers initials on the reverse below the wreath. They were also produced without these initials. The key for this year has the initials as well as an S mint mark on the obverse below the date. Making the 1909-S-VDB, the next key in the small cents of the United States. 484,000 were produced and most high graded examples are priced above $5,000. This coin makes completing a set of Lincoln cents a costly experience right from the first year.

The next key date coin within the series is the 1914-D. This coin was minted in Denver, Colorado and carries the D mint mark on the obverse below the date. With a mintage of only 1,193,000 it is a short run within the Lincoln cents.

Caution should be taken when considering any 1914-D cent as many have been altered from 1944-D coins. The space between the 1 and the four will be too large on the fake and authentication is recommended.

In 1922 a die was inadvertently made without the D mint mark. Cents were produced exclusively at the Denver mint for this year and all were supposed to bare the D mint mark. One die had the D polished off with time and that's how this rarity came to be. It is known to collectors as the 1922 plain. A similar example shows a weak D and this variety is worth substantially less then the missing D.

The 1955 double die is an error coin that was produced when the hub used to make coins was double struck, creating a doubled image through out the obverse of the coin. This variety is well known to collectors and demands high prices whenever an example hits the market.

Many semi key coins exist within United States small cents. Values of these coins is available on an updated daily basis from PCGS. This is a numismatic grading company that runs coin facts. They are also available for certification, authentication, encapsulating and designating a grade to your coins.

eBay will offer thousands of small cents at auction every day. Picking coins to buy should involve price guides and knowing how to grade. the chance of making a profit when you decide to sell will rely on these factors.

Collecting key date United States small cents is a hobby that spans the world. Filling sets within a coins design can be accomplished with focus and investment. Research is recommended before you start any set. You should know what you're doing before showing up at a coin store or bidding online. Many collectors starting out will buy first and research later and lose money when they try to sell.



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