1955 Lincoln Cent. FS-101. Doubled Die Obverse. MS-65 RB (PCGS). CAC. Delicate golden-olive toning blends with dominant orange-apricot and reddish-lilac colors on both sides of this vivid example. The softly frosted surfaces have survived the passage of time with no more than a few trivial blemishes. Solidly in the Gem Mint State category, this lovely coin is well suited for an advanced Lincoln cent set or a specialized collection of 20th century U.S. Mint error coinage.If numismatists and non-collectors alike are asked what is the most famous error or variety of American coin, odds are the 1955 Doubled Die Obverse would be among the first mentioned. When the dies for the 1955 cents were being produced, one was given two blows from the hub, but the second blow was out of register, causing the devices to show up as two distinct impressions, most plain in the lettering and date. Despite the clear doubling on the die, it went unnoticed and the coins were pressed into service. To compound the original error, the dies were placed roughly 5% out of normal alignment with each other, a subtle and often overlooked feature of all genuine specimens. About 40,000 cents were struck before a Mint employee noticed the defect and removed the die from service and had the coins currently in a hopper behind the press destroyed. However, only about 20,000 pieces were in that bin; roughly 24,000 cents had already been removed and mixed into several bags with coins produced from other presses. The Mint figured that little notice would be paid and sent them out to the Federal Reserve Banks for distribution. The sacks of coins with the 1955 Doubled Die cents went primarily to Boston, as well as Western Massachusetts and the towns of Endicott, Johnson City, and Binghamton in New York State. Among these, a number became "cigarette pack" cents; a pack of cigarettes cost 23¢, so two cents would be placed in the cellophane wrapper with the cigarette pack as change for a quarter. Initially the coins entered circulation unnoticed as the Mint had hoped, but soon the coins came to the attention of Q. David Bowers and Jim Ruddy of the Empire Coin Company in Johnson City. The rush was on and the 1955 Doubled Die Obverse cent became a numismatic legend. In a fascinating postscript to the story, in 2010 Richard Snow discovered an unquestionably genuine specimen with surface marks that bear the tell-tale signs that the obverse die was removed from the press to remove clash marks. This suggests that not only did the die enter use, but it was later removed, abraded to remove clash marks, then put back into service, even with the plainly visible doubling. Despite its fame, the 1955 Doubled Die Obverse still has some secrets to tell.While a number found their way into circulation, quite a few were retrieved before they could obtain much wear - the issue is seldom found below EF. Despite this, most extant Mint State specimens are either MS-63 or MS-64. Specimens at the Gem level are extremely rare and seldom encountered. Patience will be rewarded here with one of the few examples that have attained the prized Gem grade. From the D. Brent Pogue Collection. Earlier, from Heritages sale of the Madison Collection, January 2008 FUN Signature Auction, lot 2716.