And it is a scam when a seller makes a claim “Could this V.D.B. end roll wheat cent be a 1909-S V.D.B.?” The image to the left is a screen capture of an auction that entices bidders with this language and they’re not the only seller partaking in this appeal to people’s sense of gambling.
These sellers try to make themselves appear honest and the fortunate soul that bought a hoard of bank wrapped cent rolls with silver coins, Civil War tokens and possible key dates on the end. Then to add more flare and possible value they use EF in their listing title and description and an EF 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln cent is worth at least $1,500.
If the coin is not a 1909-S V.D.B and is just a 1909 V.D.B. then the value of the coin is around $5 and the silver Barber Dime is around $2-$3 then you have 48 coins that are 99.9% common and circulated Lincoln Cents. So the roll is worth at maximum $10 and chances are less than that.
However this particular roll sold for $48. If the seller honestly thought a 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln Cent was in the roll then he just lost, at a minimum $450 because he sold the roll for a mere $48. It just doesn’t add up and that’s the angle you should be thinking about when you’re tempted to bid on one of these rolls.
I realize there could be something good in these rolls because the seller says so and shows when some winning bidders have found key date coins. What must be noted is that these “discoveries” happened over a three year period, and only a few people found a good coin amongst the thousands the seller has sold. So the seller obviously allows a key date or two to be found when his profits allow them to.
Also it doesn’t add anything when they claim there’ some BU (brilliant uncirculated) examples inside when all price guides base their BU wheat cent values on certified coins, in other words, when you see values for wheat cents in MS65 or higher they have been sold as third party graded coins. The reason is that raw and common wheat cent’s are sold for much less than already graded and slabbed examples because they’re difficult for most people to agree on an exact grade.
Scroll through eBay’s sold BU Wheat Cents auctions to see just how much you can get for the few common BU examples you might get in a roll. It’s not as much as the seller want’s you to think.
Other questions you should be asking yourself before you bid, “Are the coins damaged, scratched or cleaned on the other side?”, “What about the rest of the coins in the roll?”. It could be that there’s some low MS (mint state) wheats to make the roll appear better to the buyer, but most BU wheat cents add very little value to a roll and usually don’t bring the premium you might think.
Wheat cents where produced in the billions so there’s plenty to go around and plenty of high grade examples, so this makes it easier to find them in rolls. Sellers make a killing selling unsearched rolls and you should realize that 99% of these rolls have common and low grade coins inside. In addition, there’s no way to know for sure if the coins were not searched before they were wrapped or searched and re-crimped.
Indian cents are not much different in value post 1882 or they must be in a higher grades to realize much more of a premium than BU wheat cents. Furthermore, the silver coins and tokens in some of these rolls are common and low grade as well, with the silver being worth melt and the tokens not much more than higher Indian Cents.
You have a better chance of finding a variety in solid date BU rolls then finding a key date in these so-called unsearched rolls. So my advice is not to bid on these rolls, let them sit with the seller, and move onto auctions that show you the exact coins you’re bidding on. In the mean time, you will eventually find a honest dealer or seller that will sell you rolls they haven’t searched and will be honest about the rolls they’re selling.