The finest set of Lincoln Cents ever assembled is set to go under the hammer in a series of auctions by GreatCollections in early 2023.
The core 150 coin set includes all coins issued from 1909 to 1958 with different mint marks and all of the major varieties. Known as "Red Copper", the collection formed by Stewart Blay has won almost all of the top Registry Set awards for Lincoln Cents for the past 20 years.
The collection is graded by Professional Coin Grading S ervice (PCGS) and every coin from 1909 to 1934 has CAC approval, as well as most later dates and all Doubled Dies.
Some of the highlights include the finest 1909-S VDB example, graded PCGS MS-67 RD CAC (it is the lone example with CAC approval) and single finest 1911, 1911-S, 1915, 1917-D, 1917-S and 1919-D. Many of the coins have never appeared on the market since PCGS launched in 1986.
For 1919, the example is the only wheat cent ever graded PCGS MS-69 RD CAC. The coin is pristine, as if it was specially minted and handled only with gloves since it left the coin press at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. It is a miracle any Lincoln Cent exists in this condition.
In Doubled Dies, there is no comparison. Aside from the tied-for-finest 1955 Doubled Die, graded PCGS MS-65+ RD CAC, the collection includes the finest 1958 Doubled Die, one of only three known in all grades, graded PCGS MS-65 RD CAC.
The Doubled Dies also includes the single finest 1969-S Doubled Die, graded PCGS MS-66 RD CAC. Those three are considered the key to the Doubled Die series, and each are valued at over $100,000 each.
The owner, Stewart Blay, painstakingly purchased each coin one at a time by attending coin shows around the country and hunting down the best of the best.
"I am not even sure a single page press release about Stewart’s collection even touches the surface to explain the importance of his coins. I expect spirited bidding across the board, from not just Lincoln collectors, but also from those interested in major rarities, such as the 1958 Doubled Die and even type collectors for the 1919 graded MS-69 RD CAC," said Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections.
Russell continued "even those not graded numerically as the finest, the coins have amazing eye appeal and appear conservatively graded. Stewart has been considered the expert in this series for decades and quality was his priority when acquiring coins for his set."
John Albanese, president of CAC said, "The well-known collector who put this together over the decades studied the quality of each coin very carefully, and showed patience in waiting for the very best of each date to appear on the market – in some cases, this meant waiting years for the right coin. It is likely we will not see another Lincoln Cent collection of this caliber in the future."
Bidding on the Red Copper Collection will start at $1, as all coins are being sold unreserved over three weeks of auctions at GreatCollections, with bidding to end on January 15th, January 22nd and January 29th.
Highlights from the Red Copper Lincoln Cent Collection
- 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67 RD CAC
- 1909-S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1910-S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1911 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-68 RD CAC
- 1911-S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66+ RD CAC
- 1912 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1913 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1913-D Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66+ RD CAC
- 1914 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1914-D Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66 RD CAC
- 1915 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-68 RD CAC
- 1915-S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66 RD CAC
- 1917 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-68 RD CAC
- 1917-D Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66+ RD CAC
- 1917-S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66 RD CAC
- 1918 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-68 RD CAC
- 1919 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-69 RD CAC
- 1919-D PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1922 Lincoln Cent No D PCGS MS-64 RD CAC
- 1923 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-68 RD CAC
- 1924 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1925-S/S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-65 RD CAC
- 1927-S Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1928-D Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-66+ RD CAC
- 1932-D Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1947 Lincoln Cent PCGS MS-67+ RD CAC
- 1955 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die PCGS MS-65+ RD CAC
- 1958 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die PCGS MS-65 RD CAC
- 1969-S Lincoln Cent Doubled Die PCGS MS-66 RD CAC
- 1974 Lincoln Cent Struck in Aluminum PCGS Proof-68 CAMEO
Aside from being on view at the December PCGS Members Only Show Las Vegas and January FUN Show, the Red Copper Collection is available to view at the Irvine, California headquarters of GreatCollections by appointment. To view high quality images and register to bid visit www.greatcollections.com or call 1-800-442-6467.
GreatCollections, the official auction house of the American Numismatic Association, specializes in auctioning certified coins and banknotes, handling transactions from start to finish. Since its founding in 2010, GreatCollections has successfully auctioned over 1 million certified coins, making it one of the leading certified coin companies in the United States with annual sales in 2021 exceeding $235 million. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections, is a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatists Guild and member of the National Auctioneers Association. For more information about GreatCollections, visit www.greatcollections.com or call 800-442-6467.