For decades, Sam Lukes has been the owner and operator of Sam Lukes’ Numismatics, located in the central valley of sunny California. He is also one of few individuals who transacted business with the legendary Fort Worth, Texas coin dealer, B. Max Mehl. Mr. Lukes remembers Mehl’s early offerings of uncirculated 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cents for $15.00 each! (Lukes considers himself fortunate, at the age of twelve, to find a nice circulated example from a bank roll).
Sam first became involved in numismatics at the age of eleven. Soon he was able to complete his favorite U.S. series, Buffalo Nickels, which were found in circulation. Over the years he has formulated complete uncirculated sets of Buffalo Nickels for many of his clients including the recently sold “Waterford Collection”. The overall PCGS grade for the entire set of sixty-seven coins was an amazing MS-64.9 + and all were sharply struck!
Recognizing the potential popularity of variety and error coins long before their inclusion in such books as Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins and The Cherrypickers’ Guide by authors Fivaz and Stanton, Mr. Lukes’ inventory was sure to offer, then as now, such unique anomalies from nearly every United States series. He has sold an extremely rare 1958-P Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent in Mint State Red on more than one occasion and the finest known 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent in MS-65 Red. He was also outbid for the lone, very controversial 1959-D “Wheat Back” reverse Lincoln Cent and has since been offered two other Philadelphia minted “Wheat Back” reverse 1959 cents, neither of which have been confirmed.
In December of 1999, Mr. Lukes was very fortunate in acquiring a truly esoteric, numismatic classic, an uncirculated 1943-P “Bronze” Lincoln Cent. At one time it had the distinction of being the very first Lincoln Cent to break the $100,000. barrier. It sold for $112,500., a pittance of its actual value today. (Serious offers will be considered from anyone interested in purchasing this extreme rarity). Although the coin has been authenticated and graded as MS-61 Red-Brown by the prestigious Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Sam is of the opinion that it is undergraded. Thus far, it is the only “Bronze” cent still exhibiting some original red coloration within brown surfaces. All other examples struck from the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints including the sole Denver issue, are in varying shades of brown.
Dealing in everything from Colonial Coins thru rare gold and currency, Sam has been involved in some very memorable and exciting experiences. One in particular involved his formulating a complete set of $20 Saint-Gaudens double eagles for a customer. When the collection was 98% complete, the client enquired if Mr. Lukes might know the whereabouts of a 1933 $20 Saint to add to his collection. (With the exception of one example deemed legal to own, all other 1933 Saints are subject to government confiscation). Knowing of an example rumored to be offered in Zurich, Switzerland, Sam was assured by his client that he would “make it worth your while” if Sam would procure the elusive treasure. Sam’s immediate response was: “There isn’t enough money in the world for you to offer which could compensate me regarding my freedom.”(On July 30, 2002, the only 1933 $20 double eagle which is legal to own, sold for a world record $7.59 million at a New York auction)!!!
Sam Lukes’ record sales re certain rare coins have been highlighted in such numismatic publications as COINage Magazine, Coin World, Numismatic News, etc. as well as on radio, television, and newspapers. He has been interviewed by Maurice Rosen for Rosen’s prestigious newsletter, The Rosen Numismatic Advisory and was also interviewed by newspapers and COINage regarding his comments pertaining to the Fifty States Quarter Program before its inception.
Sam has also shared his vast numismatic expertise with fellow numismatists and has contributed educational information appearing in Q.David Bowers’, A Buyer’s and Enthusiast’s Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents and has written a chapter in the award winning book, The Authoritative Reference on Lincoln Cents by John Wexler and Kevin Flynn and other publications. He has also given spirited presentations before civic organizations.
Sam Lukes’ Numismatics specializes in buying and selling all denominations of rare United States coins and currency including varieties and errors. Your “want lists” are especially encouraged and we also accept certified and non-certified rarities offered on consignment. We do attend major coin shows and auctions and we have scouts parading the bourse floors representing us in our absence.