CentSearcher's Blog

29 Sep 2020

The making of the 1960 small date

Coins-United States | CentSearcher

Hello everyone! I recently acquired two of the semi key date 1960 small date in mint state, and was fascinated by them and there history. I have not posted in a while so I thought I would discuss what I know about this coin. So without any further introduction, let's get started!
1960 was only the second year for the new memorial reverse design, yet a major variety already made its appearence. The lower minted small date variety was the original die for that year, though it was replaced before the end of February. The Philedelpia mint discovered that the zero in 1960 was too small, which can cause the interior to break away in the die, which will then result in the numeral to fill in. Certain 1930 D lincoln cents and 1960 Jefferson nickels were recongnized for this mint error. The large date quickly took the place of the original die and no word of the transition was said. But before long the difference was discovered and many small date varieties were hoarded. For that reason they are easy to obtain in mint state. The rush to collect the small date cents continued on to 1964. It was recorded that some $50 face value bags of the small dates sold upwards to $12,000. The Denver mint did not make the replacement until later in the year, so that the Denver minted small dates were almost just as common as the Denver minted large date.

It is estimated that 2,075,000 of the philedelphia small date varieties were minted, which is almost as few as the infamous 1909 S. The other 586,405,000 of the cents minted at philedelphia that year were struck with the large date die. Other than a wider and larger zero, there are several other ways to recognize a small date from a large one. The top of the 1 on a small date is level with the top of the 9 in 1960, while on the large date the 1 is lower. Moving over to the 9, the higher end of the nine is more curled inside on the large date. The small date's 9 is more bent outwards down to the base of the 9. The last very distinct difference between the two is in the six. The two tips of the six on the small date is closer together, while on the large date they are more spread out. After some practice, it will just take a short glance at a 1960 to distinguish the two.

Typically it can take several decades for a lower mintage date to be recognized as a key date, though the 1960 small date, now 70 years old, can still be found at a very low price in mint state. The ones you see in the photos I got for $2.75 each. But this isn't keeping me from putting together a set of 12 or so to have for the future. I recommend that you grab a few now while they are cheap, and you will be glad you did. Another example of this is the 2019 W lincoln cent. The buisness strike version had less minted than the key date of the series, the coveted 1909 S VDB. Right now they go far about $15, but hold onto a few for a few decades and you will be surprised.
Before I close, I would like to share with you that I have opened a small coin buisness on ebay. All profit I make from sales goes to adding to my personal collection. As of right now my coin shop only has a few listings, but be sure to check it out for they are among the lowest prices out there. Here is the link:https://www.ebay.com/usr/19dean77
That is it for today, and stay tuned I believe my next post will be on the history of the 1909 VDB. Thankyou for reading, and keep on collecting!
Your fellow Numismatist, Timothy



Level 4

the 1960 small/large date D/D is my personal favorite! I love to collect them. remember, always search the small date varieties when searching for this error! I now have 6 of them! including 3 from circulation!


Level 4

Great blog. My grandfather gave me a 1960 small over large date with D over D too. A really cool error.


Level 5

Also, I wanted to mention.... thanks for this blog, I am not going to keep an eye out for the different varieties. Cheers, NM


Level 6

Very informative! Thanks for an enjoyable blog ; )


Level 6

Good blog. You described the difference very well. Along with great illustrations. Good job. Thanks.


Level 6

I remember how hot the 1960 small date was in 1968 when I started collecting. All us Kids were looking through our change to find that elusive prize, never did find it and ended up buying both the P and D at the Coin Shop at South Hills Village. Great Memories, thanks for the blog.


Level 7

Sun summed it up. I have rolls of the the 1960's . Your always going to find something.! There always red. I love the 60's. Big dates small dates DD. The works. Thanks for the information.

A very noticeable difference can be seen, and I'm glad such a low-mintage coin is so cheap in a great grade.


Level 5

I love the 1960 cent. I have an uncirculated roll of each which I have never opened. A friend saved them and gave them to me back in the mid 70s. He was an older guy I worked with when I was in high school and college. He had no family and didn't have a lot of friends, but he was a nice guy and a friend who was so knowledgeable about coins. So a shout out to James, I always valued our friendship and miss you still. Thanks CC, you have reminded me of so many good memories and I do truly love the 1960 variety one cent coin. Great Blog!


Level 5

I always found the 1960 cents interesting

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Good job, very informative!


Level 5

Love it Tim! Cant wait for the next one! I have a 09 s vbd.


Level 5

Very educational on the 1960 cent. I don't own any of the small date. I don't see the value increasing more than typical inflation. Just to many of them and probably not a lot of interest for them. Nice blog on the difference.

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