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    1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln, PR67+ Red and Brown
    Highest Graded, Finest Ever Offered Publicly
    CAC Gold Label, Ex: John Story Jenks

    1909 1C VDB PR67+ Red and Brown PCGS Secure. CAC Gold Label. This 1909 VDB Lincoln cent certified PR67+ Red and Brown PCGS, with the added CAC Gold Label, is a legendary coin among aficionados of matte proof Lincolns. It is the sole finest certified example of the matte proof 1909 VDB cent, numerically the single finest to ever appear at public auction, and a coin of simply spectacular beauty, as well.

    Adding further to its credentials, the present coin traces its pedigree to the monumental collection of celebrated Philadelphia merchant and numismatist John Story Jenks (1839-1923). The 1921 sale of Jenks' collection was the magnum opus of numismatist Henry Chapman's long career, and perhaps the most notable numismatic auction ever held in the United States.

    This coin was the subject of a well-publicized March 2010 trade at $235,000 from an anonymous collector to the present consignor, owner of the McCullagh Collection. Brian Wagner of Brian Wagner Rare Coins, a specialist in matte proof Lincolns, represented the buyer, and the seller was represented by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics. A press release issued by PCGS stated, "This is to date the highest price ever paid for a regular-issue business strike or proof small cent, including Flying Eagle, Indian Head and Lincoln cents."

    PCGS' CoinFacts website currently shows two submissions in PR67 Red and one in PR67 Red and Brown, making the current PR67+ Red and Brown piece the single highest-graded example of the issue regardless of color designation, although only by the Plus margin. There are three PCGS submissions in PR65 Brown, the top for that color designation.

    The two PR67 Red 1909 VDB cents are currently shown in the #1 and #2 Lincoln Cents Basic Set, Matte Proof (1909-1916) Registry Sets, the collections of Thomas Irwin and Stewart Blay, respectively.

    This "pop 1/0" PR67+ Red and Brown cent is the capstone and star of the McCullagh Collection Registry Set, a complete collection of Red and Brown matte proof Lincolns currently ranked as "The Number One Finest Set of All Time" - Colorless Matte Proof Lincoln Cents (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014) and #5 on the Lincoln Cents Basic Set, Matte Proof (1909-1916) Registry Set. The coin's owner writes simply that this coin is "the most beautifully toned MPL [matte proof Lincoln] ever!"

    And that is an assessment with which we completely agree. This piece truly is a joy to behold. Generous daubs of rose-pink dominate the upper hair and forehead of Lincoln and a bit of the reverse around the T in CENT, ceding to light sandy-orange colors accented with glints of jade throughout the fields and the remainder of the devices on each side. The fine matte texture is completely pristine and unperturbed throughout, complementing the full proof strike and squared-off inside rims. There is absolutely no trace of carbon, contact, or any other distraction. This piece appears quite close to the Red designation, and is certainly the most extraordinarily preserved and attractive example of the 1909 VDB proof that this cataloger (GH) has ever seen. The added CAC Gold Label on this coin adds yet another interesting layer of desirability that multiple bidders will no doubt consider. In awarding CAC endorsements the firm does not consider Plus grades, but the CAC Gold Label means that CAC considers the coin to be undergraded, and at least a PR68 Red and Brown. The implications of this piece potentially trading at that grade level are obvious. Furthermore, the CAC population report shows this to be the only Lincoln matte proof of any date certified PR67 Red and Brown (Plus grades are not shown at CAC) to have gained the CAC Gold Label.

    As far as we can determine, this is the single finest graded 1909 VDB Lincoln cent to ever appear at public auction, a coin with simply enormous potential. Population: 2 in 67 (1 in 67+) Red and Brown, 0 finer (4/14).

    Past Public Auction Records for Regular-Issue Small Cents
    To help gauge the final price that this lot might bring, we compiled a few of the past record prices for key-date regular-issue Flying Eagle, Indian, and Lincoln small cents offered at various public auction venues (ours and others, although we appear to hold the current records in these categories). This listing excludes: large cents (some of which have traded in excess of $1 million); private sales; and errors such as the 1943 copper cents and 1944 steel cents.

    Flying Eagle Cents
    1856 Flying Eagle cent, MS66 PCGS. $172,500. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 2010. Snow-3.

    Indian Cents
    1864-L on Ribbon cent, PR65 Red and Brown PCGS. CAC. $161,000. Pittsburgh Signature (Heritage, 10/2011), lot 3146.
    1877 Indian cent, MS66 Red PCGS. $149,500. Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2078, old green holder
    1877 Indian cent, MS66 Red PCGS. $149,500. (Different example), Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1569.

    Lincoln Cents
    1914 Matte proof Lincoln cent, PR68 Red PCGS. $126,500. Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/3008), lot 2249. Green-label holder, formerly in the Stewart Blay Collection.
    1926-S Lincoln cent, MS65 Red PCGS. $149,500. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3097.
    Pedigree is based on the March 2010 PCGS press release. Ex: John Story Jenks, one of two 1909 VDB matte proofs in the auction. This piece was reputedly part of a "silver proof set"; Jenks Collection (1921); the silver proof set was acquired from Stack's via private treaty by Eric Steiner, who resold the cent, in the early 1990s; Michael Ruben; Evan Gale, Aspen Park Rare Coins (around 1993-94); anonymous collector (1999); private trade arranged by Legend Numismatics representing the seller, and Brian Wagner, matte proof Lincoln cent specialist, representing the buyer; Jonathan Watkins/McCullagh Collection (PCGS Registry Set).
    From The McCullagh Collection.(Registry values: N4719)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 22KR, PCGS# 3301)

    Weight: 3.11 grams

    Metal: 95% Copper, 5% Tin & Zinc

    View all of [The McCullagh Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2014
    5th-9th Tuesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 26
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 16,271

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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