Stephenson’s to auction single-owner estate collection of silver, gold and rare US coins, Oct. 23

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Featured: Complete sets of US large cents and Indian Head cents; gold proof American Eagles

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Before offering someone a penny for their thoughts, it might be wise to examine the penny first. Even a humble one-center can be worth a fortune if it’s the right type, like the 1943-D Lincoln penny that sold for $1.7 million in 2018. Coin collecting is one of the world’s most popular hobbies and a favorite category with Stephenson’s Auction’s nationwide bidding audience. The next chance to go coin-hunting at Stephenson’s, whether for fun or investment, comes on Sunday afternoon, October 23rd, at the company’s sale of an estate collection from Bucks County (suburban Philadelphia). 

1986 United States Liberty Coins. West Point and San Francisco Mint. In fitted box. COA. Estimate $400-$600
1986 United States Liberty Coins. West Point and San Francisco Mint. In fitted box. COA. Estimate $400-$600

The 322-lot in-gallery sale features many US large coins, silver coins, gold coins, albums, and more. For those who cannot attend in person, all remote forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.

An unusual buying opportunity presents itself in Lot 201: a complete set of US large cents, contained in two books. The first official mintage of the large cent was in 1793, and its production continued until 1857, when it was officially replaced by the modern-size one-cent coin known as the “penny.”

Large cents were minted in Philadelphia of nearly pure copper, or copper as pure as it emerged from smelting, without any deliberate addition of other metals such as occurs in bronze. The large cent was minted every year from 1793 to 1857 except 1815. When the United States declared war against Great Britain in 1812, coinage was affected. Because of the wartime embargo against shipments, the mint could not obtain any new copper planchets, which were imported from Britain, to strike new coins. The mint made do with the supply of planchets it had on hand and struck coins into 1815. After the war ended that same year, the mint immediately ordered new planchets. There are several theories, but no one really knows why no large cents were issued with an 1815 date. The complete set of large cents in Stephenson’s sale is offered with a $3,000-$6,000 estimate.

Picking up the chronology where large cents left off, the auction includes a book containing a complete set of United States small cents, produced from 1857 through 1909. It includes Flying Eagle cents from 1857 and 1858. The lot’s pre-sale estimate is $250-$500.

Some very appealing gold coins will cross the auction block. A 1987 set consisting of two proof uncirculated gold American Eagles – one weighing 1oz and the other weighing 1½ oz – comes in a fitted box with a Certificate of Authenticity. The pre-sale estimate is $2,000-$3,000. Lots 61 and 62 each contain a 1986 1oz proof uncirculated gold American Eagle. The estimate for each of the two is $1,500-$2,000.

Other gold coins of note include an 1836 $5 Half Eagle coin, estimate $400-$800; a 1928 Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle coin, estimate $300-$600; and a duo consisting of California gold coins from 1855 and 1857, estimated at $200-$400.

A complete book of Mercury dimes, covering the full range of production from 1916 through 1945 comes in a green album with a cover image of Liberty. The Mercury dime, which has an image of Liberty wearing a winged Phrygian cap on the obverse and an axe and olive branch on verso, contains .07234 ounces of actual silver, struck on a 90% pure planchet. The pre-sale estimate for the complete book of dimes is $500-$1,000.

This brings us back to our original thought about the not-so-humble penny, calling attention to Lot 112, a 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent in uncirculated condition. “VDB” – for Victor David Brenner, designer of the Lincoln cent – appears on the reverse side of the scarcest of Lincoln pennies, which are surpassed in rarity and value by only those Lincolns that display mint errors, double-die strikes, etc. The value of the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent in Stephenson’s sale has risen in value dramatically since its creation 113 years ago. The coin is expected to attract a winning bid in the vicinity of $1,500-$3,000.

Stephenson’s Sunday, October 23, 2022 Single-Owner Estate Coin Collection sale will be held live at the company’s gallery, starting at 2 p.m. ET.  Remote bidders may participate by phone, live online through LiveAuctioneers or by leaving an absentee bid. Goods may be inspected at the gallery on auction day from 12 noon till 2 p.m. Stephenson’s Auctioneers’ gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton (Bucks County, metro Philadelphia), PA 18966. For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail [email protected]. Visit Stephenson’s Auctioneers online at View the auction catalog online at

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