Most Stunning Lincoln Cent Ever

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by WingedLiberty, May 21, 2011.

  1. illini420

    illini420 1909 Collector

    Back then proofs didn't come in fancy holder or even encased in plastic. You could either buy them from the Mint in person or have them mailed to you. In either case, the coins were simply wrapped in tissue. This tissue is what cased the awesome toning you see on many early proof coins, including matte proof Lincolns.

    Back then you had a few options for buying U.S. proof coins. You could get the matte proofs in what was called a "minor proof set" which came with just a penny and a nickel (the non-silver coins). No limits on ordering them back then, but based on the mintages apparently they weren't too popular. The earlier minor sets were 8 cents each plus postage (only a 2 cent premium over face!!!). At some point the cost increased to 12 cents per minor set plus postage (around 1912/1913 I think).

    You could also order sets of the silver coins. And the proof gold coins could be ordered in sets or individually. Not much premium over face value was required for the silver or gold coins either, but back then, even a few dollars over face was quite a bit of money.

    In 1909, to get all of the proofs you would have had to order 3 minor sets during the year. One to get the 1909 proof IHC, one to get the 1909 VDB matte proof and one to get the 1909 (non-VDB) proof. I don't think the Mint sold sets that included multiple cents, but I imagine collectors could have purchased them all at the time upon request.
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  3. Coinguy56

    Coinguy56 Member

    Great post Illini. Yes, the MPL's were issued in some kind of tissue (I believe it was Sulfur) and that was the root cause of some of the toning you see today. Some MPL's were stored for a long time in the tissue and the sulfur toned it over time and it produced some wild colors. While some MPL's were taken out of the tissue and preserved, but most of them were stored in the tissue that they came in, so that's why Full Red MPL's command sooo much more than Brown or Even Red-Brown coins. But some MPL's I've seen with toning would probably command a premium BETTER than a Full Red coin, just because that coin has some truly beautiful toning and eye appeal.
  4. WingedLiberty

    WingedLiberty Well-Known Member

    Fantastic Thread Charmy. I learned some things and ended up buying the book. Thanks for posting this!
  5. WingedLiberty

    WingedLiberty Well-Known Member

    I'm looking for some vote casting!

    I pretty much decided to send back the raw MPL and buy one of these two PCGS graded coins, but which one?
    Which one of these two Matte Proof Lincolns do you like the most? (which would you buy?)

    Price = $1400

    Price = $1750

    They are both graded PCGS PR64.
    The 1912 was graded Red-Brown and the 1910 was graded full Red.
    The 1912 is $350 cheaper than the 1910 (so you can factor that in).

    Pros for the 1912:
    - The 1912 had a lower strike mintage than the 1910 (2372 vs. 4083)
    however the certified populations between the 1910 and 1912 are similar (around 600 or so)
    - Better colors than the 1910 ... Tri-colored ... I think the red, gold and purple color could drive a premium
    - I love colored coins ... and colored MPLs are the ones that sell (which is good for holding value)
    - Saves $350 over the 1910
    - Is priced right at the PCGS price guide price for an "average" coin of that grade. No premium attached.

    Pros for the 1910:
    - An affordable RED MPL, who would have thunk it.
    - Red MPLs are rare
    - Nice strike
    - I like the way the date "1910" pops (more than the "1912") on the coin (the "1910" is bigger and sharper)
    - Amazing luster
    - I suppose this might be considered bi-colored in a subtle sense with the Red and Gold.
    - Lincoln looks lit up (almost like a cameo) with the gold tones
    - The seller who can see the coins in hand thinks the 1910 is the best one (really striking)

    Cons for 1910:
    - The sharp and distinct upper border to the gold pattern around the wheat stems is a bit odd looking, wish it blended more
    - I have heard that buying Red copper is a risk because all copper tends to turn brown over time
    - No wild deep colors (purples)
    - Costs $350 more than the 1912
    - The 1910 is priced $500 over the PCGS price guide price, while the 1912 is priced right at the price guide price. The seller told me he added a premium on the 1910 because he thought it had a lot more visual appeal than the 1912.
    - Note that the scratches on the back of the 1910 are on the holder, not the coin
  6. illini420

    illini420 1909 Collector

    If you really want a nice Matte Proof Lincoln Cent, I'd wait until you can attend a major coin show where you may be able to see several in person before you make a purchase decision.

    But if I had to choose between those two (and assuming there's a return policy in case I didn't like them in hand as much as I liked the photo), I'd take the 1912. Mostly because that 1910 is not a full red cent based on that photo... it definitely looks red-brown to me. You say red matte proofs are rare, which is somewhat true, but this one doesn't appear to be one of those full red examples, regardless of what the label says.
  7. WingedLiberty

    WingedLiberty Well-Known Member

    Hey Illini, Thank you so much for the vote and feedback. Yes the dealer offers a full money back return privledge. I know that this particular dealer struggles with the photos. Here is another shot of the 1910. I admit that I can't say I fully understand why PCGS grades something the way they do, and I bet if most people submitted a coin 3 times, they would get 3 different grades. The good news is for the 1910, the difference in PCGS list price between a 64RB and a 64RD is only $150 (the tightest premium for a RD over a RB MPL in the whole series). So at least, we are not talking about a huge difference in price if the 1910 was truely a RB (which it could be right now ... or may become over the next 10 to 20 years as the coin slowly ages). I agree that seeing a coin in your hand is the only way to determine if you truly like it, so a rock solid return policy is a must. By the way, the dealer told me the photo below does not do the coin justice, but might give another view of the color.


    It is sort of amusing though. I try to buy something raw and i get the advice ... "don't buy anything raw, buy something graded by PCGS, the premier coin grader". Then when I look at PCGS graded coins I get the advice that ... "the assigned grade and/or color is wrong". I guess that is what happens when you look at something that is an art and not a science. It's sort of what the guy that was selling the raw matte proof was telling me about TPGs and why he swore them off. This certainly is a difficult area of numismatics.
  8. Exchequer

    Exchequer Buffalo Hunter

    Before I read your pros & cons list, I picked the 1912...then your list confirms it. What jumped out at me about the '10 was the gold tone on the reverse is not too looks like a stain.

    Would like to see an image of the '12 without the harsh light on Lincoln's shoulder area, and more even lighting on the top half of the coin.
  9. Merc Crazy

    Merc Crazy Bumbling numismatic fool

    I wouldn't buy either, but that's just me... I want PQ coins for my money and neither of those scream PQ to me.

    Also, I just wanted to add, I should have Todd take some pics of me, I'm sure he could make me look real good even though I'm not made of metal. :p
  10. WingedLiberty

    WingedLiberty Well-Known Member

    Hey thanks for the feedback and votes!

    I just wanted to add that the person I am buying this from is Brian Wagner, probably one of the premier Matte Proof Lincoln dealers and experts in the U.S. He has acquired and sold many of the top MPLs. Follow this link for a view at all the wildly colorful MPLs that have walked through his doors

    Most of these coins sold for between $10,000 to over $100,000 (way out of my price range)

    So Brian had 3 MPL's in my price range. And I narrowed it down to these two. He told me the 1910 is by far the better coin and looks stunning in hand. He said it really pops and the photo doesnt begin to do the coin justice.

    Earlier today, I couldn't decide so I posted the above and thought I would get some other opinions.

    Then later today I thought I would buy both, look at them both in hand, then decide. But after looking at the photos for longer and thinking about his words, I was swayed to just buy the 1910 and examine that one. He said if I dont like the coin I can send it back for a refund. It's funny but the words he spoke to me on the phone were "Trust me, buy the 1910". Pretty strong words for a man of his experience with MPLs.

    As a final opinion, I emailed the photos to Todd at, probably the premier coin photographer in the U.S., and asked him w[FONT=&quot]hich of these two coins would produce better more striking pictures after he worked his magic with the camera. A great photo is so critical to show off a Matte Proof Lincoln at it's finest. He was in his car and used his phone to take a gander .... he told me that at first glance he thought the 1910 was better.[/FONT]

    So those are two really expert votes for the 1910. In any case, the check is in the mail, and I will let you all know what I think of the 1910. If I dont like the 1910, I can always send it back (and try the 1912).

    Thanks again for your feedback and opinions!

    I would say one thing though. I also really like the 1912 -- I LOVE the reverse of the 1912 with the color. I dont really like the coloration pattern of the 1912 obverse though (looks sort of blotchy). If the front of the 1912 looked more like the back, I might have bought that one. Bottom line is, it's definitely hard to choose just one.
  11. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    I'm not into toning, but I think you have the BEST one.
  12. Coinguy56

    Coinguy56 Member

    @Marshall: That 1912 is not mine, it's a registry coin. What I was saying, is that is my favorite MPL that I have seen but do not own. The 1910 RB posted on the first page is mine, not the 1912. I would pay some big bucks to buy this 1912, I favor this over the 1909 VDB PR-67 RB.
  13. WingedLiberty

    WingedLiberty Well-Known Member

    coinguy and marshall ... i made the exact same mistake!

    that 1912 is stunning

    so by the way, on the 2 MPLs i posted above and that I was considering buying. I finally decided not to buy either one ... the 1910 wasnt colorful enough for the money and I didnt like the obverse on the 1912 (the reverse was great tho) I dont think i will be able to find a matte proof i really love in my price range ... oh well.
  14. jim50

    jim50 Member

    very nice now you need to start a set..Jim
  15. Coinguy56

    Coinguy56 Member

    Now that would be VERY ​expensive!
  16. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot there is no spoon

    Not a chance. Strike not strong enough and the rims aren't nearly square enough.
  17. WingedLiberty

    WingedLiberty Well-Known Member

    Boy, what a difference two years makes! Two years ago I made a pretty much clueless OP (opening post) to this thread. Now I feel like one of the top 20 or so (perhaps) players in the Matte Proof Lincoln realm and was able to acquire all of these beauties for my MPL collection. It's amazing what you can learn by just hanging around the various coin forums. Two years ago I had never even heard of a Matte Proof Lincoln.

  18. blu62vette

    blu62vette Member

    Not to mention all your coins beat your OP coin!
  19. Sliderguy

    Sliderguy Member

    Simply Marvelous :)
  20. WeirdFishes

    WeirdFishes Active Member

  21. robec

    robec Junior Member

    I tried several times over the years to buy that coin, but the owner will never, ever budge. He did say that IF​ he ever did it decide to sell it would be priced comfortably in the $10k-$20k range. For that reason alone, I doubt it will ever sell.
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