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(April 23, 2013) BRISTOL, Virginia—VDB Coins today announced the brokering of the sale of the finest known PCGS-certified set of 1964 SMS coins in a private transaction. The five-piece coin set, containing one each of the 1964 SMS cent through half dollar in the finest grade certified by PCGS, traded hands in February 2013 for $151,200, including commission, from seller David Schweitz to an anonymous Western collector.
“This same set was recently offered in a major auction where the reserve price was not met. But our client was intensely interested in the set. We have studied this coin series in depth and knew David Schweitz owned the set. All three of us are keenly aware that this is the most desirable set in existence of these underrated, extremely rare 1964 SMS coins. We feared the set might be broken up and sold off individually. My client and I made an offer to David, and we reached an agreement that was a win for each of us,” said VDB Coins proprietor George Huber. “My client intends to hold onto this finest known set intact for many years to come.”
The consecutively numbered 1964 SMS set includes: Lincoln cent MS68 Red PCGS, one of two so graded; Jefferson nickel MS68 Full Steps PCGS, one of six submissions; Roosevelt dime MS68 PCGS, one of three; Washington quarter MS68 PCGS, the only one so graded; and a Kennedy half MS69 PCGS, the sole finest at PCGS.
“We are pleased that we were able to conclude this transaction with VDB Coins and their client,” said Schweitz. “We obtained this set a few years ago from dealer-collector Jesse Lipka, who recognized the sets as something special when they started appearing at Stack's auctions in 1993. Jesse aggressively cracked out and resubmitted numerous pieces to PCGS over a period of a decade or so; as a result, the certified populations are inflated. These coins are far rarer than generally thought, particularly the half dollars. We believe they are among the rarest U.S. coins from the second half of the 20th century.”
“The 1964 SMS coins are unknown even to many seasoned numismatists,” said Huber. “They have a surface texture unlike any other U.S. coins. There are more mysteries posed than facts known about them. All five denominations show dies that are extensively and haphazardly polished, apparently an intentional texture created by the Mint. The coins show little of the reflectivity of proofs, being rather satiny in appearance, but their squared-off rims, incredible strike sharpness, and excellent preservation identify them as coins that were created and preserved for some special purpose. Perhaps they were experimental coins struck for the 1965-67 Special Mint Sets, as Stack's theorized (hence the name), but for the most part they look very little like those later issues. And the silver coins are on 90% silver planchets, not the 40% silver composition of the 1965-67 issues.”
Schweitz added, “These coins are still considered 'modern' and are listed in the 100 Greatest Modern U.S. Coins, but next year will be their 50-year anniversary. As the stigma of 'modern coinage' recedes and these 1964 SMS coins are increasingly recognized as the true rarities they are, we believe this finest-certified 1964 SMS set could someday be worth a half-million dollars.”
Huber said, “We are keenly interested in developing a complete roster of all surviving 1964 SMS coins to determine their exact rarity as closely as possible. We invite anyone who owns examples certified by PCGS or NGC to contact us at to send us certification numbers, at a minimum, and images if they have them. We will be publishing the roster and some coin images on our www.VDBCoins.com website.”