The 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent is a true rarity in gem condition, as basically all examples were quietly released into circulation, where they had to be retracted by the conscientious public. As such, there is a wide spread in both the certified population numbers and the values between the relatively common circulated examples and uncirculated examples, especially those with original Mint red coloration. The scarcity of examples with original red coloration is due in part to the original distribution of many pieces within cigarette packs, which contained chemicals that tended to tone freshly minted copper coins.
The finest known Red examples that have been certified by PCGS are 18 MS-65RD’s, a number which appears to be at least slightly influenced by resubmissions. MS-64RD’s are more available, with 140 examples graded by PCGS, but perhaps only 100 examples really exist, with the others being resubmissions as well. NGC, the other major grading service, has graded a single example as MS-66RD, the absolute finest known. Additionally, four examples have been graded in MS-65RD by that company.
In Red-Brown, PCGS has graded 5 examples in MS-65RB, with 179 in MS-64RB. These are not as difficult to find as RD examples but remain sufficiently scarce. NGC has graded a single MS-66RB, with an additional thirteen MS-65RB’s graded.
In Brown, the most available color designation for this popular variety, PCGS has graded 6 MS-65BN’s, with 183 examples graded one grade lower. Most uncirculated 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cents are graded MS-63BN, with a total of 368 examples graded by PCGS. Again, these numbers no doubt include some resubmissions, but judging by the number of auction appearances these appear relatively close to correct. 12 MS-65BN’s have been graded by NGC. As can be derived from the populations in MS-65, regardless of color designation, this coin is very difficult to find in gem.
The finest known MS-66RD, graded by NGC, sold for $50,019 in 2006, and the few PCGS MS-65RD’s that have recently been auctioned have already topped that amount, with one of the selling for an amazing $59,225 as far back as 2001, while recent sales have been around the $50,000 level. Red-Brown and Brown designated examples are more available, although gem Red-Brown examples still carry a price tag of approximately $15,000 or more. Nice circulated examples of the coin are relatively more affordable, with nice examples available for around $2,000 or less.