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The story of lot 403 – Sorry this set is not for sale.Updated: Rest of the story

17 posts in this topic

This past weekend I had noticed a link on the message board to an auction on Proxybid, out of curiosity I went to the site, registered for the auction and started to browse the listings.


After a while I noticed a set of BU / Proof Lincoln Cents, 1937 to 1998, the description said it was mostly completed. The picture in the auction showed a blue three ring binder full of pennies in 2x2 holders. I went ahead and bid on the auction, winning it for $81.00, plus the 15% buyers fee and shipping.


Today I got the set in the mail and started to look through it. What I found I never expected.


As I opened the folder I could see bright red pennies, starting with the 1937 Philadelphia strike, going along each and every spot was filed with the regular issue P, D &S that you would expect, as I turned to the next page I could see more bright red pennies, and the gleaming Steel Cents of 1943. I noticed a spot next to the 1955 where a coin had been, was it the 1955 Doubled Die? I will never know, someone had removed it; turning the pages more I found the same empty spot next to the 1972.


Still I thought what a set, and I began looking closer, this was no ordinary set. Someone had taken a lifetime to collect these pennies, I looked closer and found the clean crisp writing of the dates and mint marks in the earlier years, I noticed that over the years the staples had changed type, for a few years in the late forties and early fifties he used a date stamp made for collectors that had the mintmarks on them, I saw that he had carefully marked the 44’s and 45’s as Shell Case cents, in the 60’s he started to include the Proof cents for each year.


Then in the mid 80’s I noticed that the writing was not as crisp, his hand was a little more shaky, the dates written on the coins not a smooth as previous years, each year getting a little more distorted, once in a while I would notice in the early 90’s a fingerprint hear and there, 1997 was missing all together, then 1998, you could barley read the writing on the holder, his hand no longer able to write clearly. And the set ends. He had included some extras on the last page, a nice BU 34, and a few others.


Over the next hour I started to realize just how much work he had put into this set, always trying to put together the best he could get. I began to wonder about this person, and how he must have treasured his set of pennies. I would imagine that he passed not to long after putting in his last cent and wondered if there was anyone that would ever appreciate his work.


Well Sir, I never meet you, but as I write this the hair on the back of my neck is standing on end, my eyes are beginning to water, and I want you to know, I appreciate your set, and I will never sell it. I can only hope that when I go someone will get this set and feel the way I do about it. I will pick up where you left off, and keep each coin together in the set. Your work was not in vain.


Lot 403… Is not for sale.




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It's one thing to imagine the history behind a coin or a collection, and something entirely different to have something tangible. Very cool story!

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What a wonderful story, and it looks like that collection ended up in the right hands.


Great story TexasT ,and i am sure the previous owner-collector has a big ol smile on their face. :applause: (thumbs u

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I thought I would share a response I got to this from across the street


And now for the rest of the story ...


Imagine my surprise when I read Tex's story about this set of coins since I was the person that handled the consignment of these coins along with the grading and lotting of all of the coins in this particular auction. I contacted Tex after seeing this post and told him that I would be giving an update to the story.


The owner of the coins was a gentleman that passed away earlier this year at age 77. I was contacted by an older brother of his whom I know well about liquidating his collection, of which the auction items were just a portion. After seeing Tex's post, I printed a copy for his brother who was obviously moved by it. I then asked if I could respond with a brief synopsis of his life as well.


Bobby was born in 1930 in Minnesota where he attended school through high school until joining the Navy. During his stint in the Navy, he fell off of the wing of a Corsair and suffered head trauma that affected him for the rest of his life. Later on, he ran delivery routes for a local food manufacturing plant until he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which ended his days making deliveries. He moved into the plant and ended up as the head purchaser before retirement.


He and his wife lived in an apartment above a dairy that ended up burning down in 1974. (Several of the coin lots in the auction were fire-damaged coins.) His wife divorced him shortly after the fire and he never had any children. The MS eventually took its toll, and he spent many years in a wheelchair. He also had many heart problems and heart attacks over the years.


I had the pleasure of meeting Bobby, but never really got to know him. His coin collection was very ecclectic ranging from over 6,000 wheat cents to bags of common coins, silver & gold bullion, gifts that were given to him over the years, and other strange items that always seem to be found in collections. He was also taken advantage of by some very unscupulous dealers over the years as there was a large collection of key date coins that were all fake or altered dates/mintmarks. We have been unable to locate any sales records to determine where he got the coins from, unfortunately.


Of all the items in the collection, the collection of cents that Tex refers to was the only thing that I would describe as something that was worked on for a long time, so it was probably where he started and he continued over time, even when he could afford better items for his collection. The cent set was actually split into two parts - the one Tex has and another collection of proof-only cents from 1938-1990 which I bought out of the auction. It was in an old black binder that was falling apart, so I put both halves into two binders for the auction. If I kept the old binder, I'll send it to Tex if he wants to keep it all together.


By the way, there was no 55DD in the set (I suppose he kept the place holder just in case), but there was a 72DD #1 in there. It was sold as a separate lot in the auction. He did have two 55DD's but they were part of the counterfeit coins.


Hope this helps to put some perspective behind the story.




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I just looked at the pictures you included ATS, perhaps you can take the time to enter them here also, I'm sure the others would enjoy them as much as I did.


To bad about the key dates that turned out to be bogus...things like that have been going on for years and years and sometimes only found out when a collection changes hands.


Thanks for taking the time to post this kind of story...and then to have a follow-up to close the loose ends is classic.


Welcome to the forum Texast



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What a great, moving story of the history of a lincoln coin set!!! This is not something I'll forget in the near future. Your are quite lucky to own that set at any reasonable price. Congrats on a neat purchase.

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