Legend Numismatics

HomeUS Coins1795 Liberty Cap Cent : A Collector's Guide

1795 Liberty Cap Cent : A Collector’s Guide

Three obverse dies and three reverse dies were used to strike 37,000 Lettered Edge cents with the 1795 date. Midyear, President George Washington authorized United States Mint Director Elias Boudinot to reduce the weight of the large cent from 208 grains to 168 grains. According to numismatist Walter Breen, this was done to reduce costs as by October of that year, a dollar’s worth of cents cost $1.22 to produce. The lighter, thinner planchet had a plain edge. Plain edge cents far outnumber lettered edge cents, perhaps 4:1 or maybe more (Breen thought 13:1). Experimental Reeded Edge cents (Sheldon-79) are great rarities, although they survive only in lower circulated grades.

* * *

Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-73

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-73. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-73. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

Widely spaced date. 1 nearly touches Liberty’s hair, while the 5 is spaced away from the bust. The ER of LIBERTY is positioned high in relation to the rest of the letters. Sylvester Crosby discovered this variety before 1883.

  • PCGS XF-45 #13470602: “The Foster Lardner Collection”, United States Coin Co., November 1914, Lot 26 – $135; Henry C. Hines, 1945; Dr. William H. Sheldon, April 1972; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr., February 1992; Eric Streiner; “The Wes Rasmussen Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 2005, Lot 3084 – $12,650. “The Walter J. Husak Collection”, Heritage Auctions, February 15, 2008, Lot 2075 – $32,200.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-74

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-74. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-74. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
  • PCGS MS-65RB+ #40323763: Virgil M. Brand; Carl Wurtzbach, 1935; Charles R. Mathewson, 1953; Dr. William H. Sheldon, April 1972; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr., February 1992; Eric Streiner; Jay Parrino; Superior, May 1999, Lot 1465 – $26,450. As PCGS MS-65RB #13470603. “The Walter J. Husak Collection”, Heritage Auctions, February 15, 2008, Lot 2076 – $207,000. As PCGS MS-65+RB CAC #40323763. “The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part I”, Heritage Auctions, September 17, 2020, Lot 10006 – $114,000. Regraded. Upgraded one half point. Predominately brown.
  • PCGS MS-64BN CAC #06781776: “The Harlan Page Smith Collection”, S.H. and Henry Chapman, May 1906, Lot 1081; Thomas Elder; Howard R. Newcomb; J.C. Morganthau and Co.’s sale of the Howard R. Newcomb Collection, February 1945, Lot 79; T. James Clarke; sold along with the Clarke Collection to R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, 1954; Duplicates from “The Naftzger Collection”, New Netherlands, November 1973, Lot 395; Andrew Hain to Charles E. Harrison, October 1974; Douglas Bird to Haig Koshkaria, February 1992. As NGC MS-64BN. “The Haig Koshkarian Collection”, American Numismatic Rarities, March 9, 2004, Lot 9 – $29,900. As PCGS MS-64BN #06781776. Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2008, Lot 1504 – $74,750; Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2014, Lot 2518 – $54,343.75. As PCGS MS-64BN CAC # 06781776. “The Joseph D. Osborne Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2020, Lot 4091 – $50,400. CAC Added. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-75

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-75. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-75. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

Rarity-3. Lettered Edge. Dies engraved by John Smith Gardner (probably others were, too).

  • PCGS MS-65+RB #32189853: Sotheby’s (London), October 1995, Lot 1395; Anthony Terranova; Lawrence Stack, by sale; acquired with the Lawrence Stack Type Set, by sale, en bloc, January 2003; “The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part V”, Stack’s Bowers / Sotheby’s, March 31, 2017, Lot 5101 – $223,250. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers. At least 50% red. Dark spot above hair. Die crack through 9.
  • PCGS MS-65BN CAC #32730157: R.W. Randall, New Netherlands, March 1973, Lot 42 $4,750; R. Tettenhorst, October 1995 private treaty to Jay Parrino; private treaty from Jay Parrino to Thomas D. Reynolds, June 1997; “The Thomas D. Reynolds Collection”, Goldberg Auctioneers, January 2016, Lot 53; “The B.S.T. Collection”, Legend Rare Coin Auctions, April 27, 2023, Lot 3 – $61,687.50.
  • PCGS MS-65BN #60114766: Stack’s, ca. 1948; Raymond Gallo, October 1960; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr.; “Edward H. Schwartz Collection”, Abe Kosoff, October 1961, Lot 89; Gene Reale, 1961; Louis Helfenstein; “The Louis Helfenstein Collection”, Lester Merkin, August 1964, Lot 6; F.E. Knoble; Lester Merkin’s sale of April 1970, Lot 421; C. Douglas Smith; Dr. Robert J. Shalowitz; Dr. Jesse Borden; Dr. Robert J. Shalowitz; Jim McGuigan; Auction ’87 – Superior, July-August 1987, Lot 1632; Jim McGuigan; Loren Barnett; Anthony Terranova; Tom Reynolds. As PCGS MS-65BN #60114766. “The ESM Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, August 6, 2020, Lot 1013 – $50,400. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers.
  • NGC MS-65RB #3166241-005: As NGC MS-65RB #339896-001. Heritage Auctions, January 7, 2010, Lot 2408 – $40,250.; As NGC MS-65RB #3166241-005. Heritage auctions, October 18, 2012, Lot 3098 – $82,250. Regraded.
  • PCGS MS-65BN CAC #22113336: Benjamin H. Collins; D. Thomas Hall, July 1897; Virgil Brand, September 1909; Charles R. Mathewson to Copley Coin Company,; unknown intermediaries; Dorothy Paschal, 1955; Charles E. Harrison; Haig Kashkarian; Jay Parrino, 1992; Superior Galleries, July 1993, Lot 12 – $14.850; Allan Kollar, Superior Galleries, May 2015, Lot 1014; American Numismatic Rarities, January 2006, Lot 22; As PCGS MS-65BN CAC #22113336. As PCGS MS-65BN #22113336. “The Madison Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2008, Lot 2669 – $80,500; As PCGS MS-65BN CAC #22113336. “The Jim O’Neal Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 25, 2013, Lot 4117 – $79,312.50. CAC added.
  • PCGS MS-65BN CAC #20343990: The C.T. Whitman Collection”, S.H. & H. Chapman, August 1893, Lot 831; “The John G. Mills Collection”, Chapman Brothers, April 1904, Lot 1246; S.H. Chapman; later, Dr. James O. Sloss, September 1958; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr., December 11, 1986; “The Herman Halpern Collection”, Stack’s, March 1988, Lot 109; Julian Leidman; Donald H. Kagin; Martin Paul; Superior, January 1989, Lot 3098; Martin Paul; Superior, February 1999, Lot 1997; As PCGS MS6-5BN #08880246. “The Essex Palm Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 2007, Lot 773 – $69.000; “The Joseph C. Thomas Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 30, 2009, Lot 2036 – $46,000. As PCGS MS-65BN CAC #20343990. Heritage Auctions, August 12, 2011, Lot 7015 – $80,500.
  • PCGS MS-65BN: Benjamin H. Collins; Benjamin H. Collins to Dr. Thomas Hall, July 13, 1897; Included when Dr. Hall Collection was sold intact to Virgil Brand, September 7, 1909; Virgil Brand Estate; Brand Estate to Charles R. Mathewson, 1955; Copley Coin Company, May 1955; Dorothy I. Paschal; Paschal to Charles E. Harrison, 1972; Haig Koshkarian to Jay Parrino, June 7, 1992; Superior, July 1993, Lot 12 – $14.850; Allan Kollar; Superior, May 2005, Lot 1014. As PCGS MS-65BN. “The Robert Michael Prescott Collection”, American Numismatic Rarities, January 3, 2006, Lot 22 – $74,750.
  • PCGS MS-64BN #13470604: Chapman Brothers, June 1906, Lot 546 – $40; “the Dr. George P. French Collection”,  B. Max Mehl, 1929 Fixed Price List, Lot 90 – $225; H.A. Sternberg; J.C. Morgenthau, April 1933, Lot 13 – $37; Carl Wurtzbach; T. James Clarke, 1950; Dr. William H. Sheldon, April 1972; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr.; Auction ’81 -Stack’s, Lot 1509; R.E. Naftzger, Jr., February 1992; Eric Streiner, January 1994; Chris Victor-McCawley, September 1995. As PCGS MS-64BN #13470604. “The Walter J. Husak Collection”, Heritage Auctions, February 15, 2008, Lot 2077 – $46,000. Husak Collection on insert; “The Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2014, Lot 2519 – $19,975. Pedigree research assisted by Heritage Auctions.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-76

Struck between December 28 and 31. 45,000 coins delivered on January 1, 1796.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-76B, Plain Edge

Sheldon-76B. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-76B. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

Rarity 1. Plain Edge. Struck during Elias Boudinot’s tenure after the cent’s weight was reduced to 10.89 grams to accommodate higher copper prices. The reduction in weight reduced the thickness of the coin, leading to the abandonment of edge lettering. Struck between December 27-31, 1795, and delivered on January 1. Additional coins struck in 1796 and delivered through March 31. Tip of the 5 touches portrait on obverse. L almost touches cap. ONE CENT on reverse is situated too high on the coin. In later die states, a large crack encompasses ICA.

  • PCGS MS-65+RB #81744234: Heritage Auctions, August 2, 2017, Lot 3886 – $76,375. Color around raised elements on the obverse and reverse.
  • PCGS MS-65BN #32189854: Allison W. Jackman; Allison W. Jackman Estate, 1917; “The Allison W. Jackman Collection”, Henry Chapman, June 1918, Lot 703 – $29; Henry Chapman; Dr. George P. French; “The Dr. George P. French Collection” to B. Max Mehl, by sale, en bloc, 1929; “The Dr. George P. French Collection”, B. Max Mehl, Fixed Price List, 1930, Lot 88 – $75; Henry A. Sternberg; J.C. Morgenthau & Company, April 1933, Lot 12 – $17; T. James Clarke; Dr. William H. Sheldon; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr.; “The R.E. ‘Ted’ Naftzger, Jr. Collection”, by sale, en bloc, April 1972; Eric Streiner, by sale, en bloc, via Stack’s, February 1992; Jay Parrino; W.M. “Jack” Wadlington Collection, by sale, April 1996; Richard Burdick, by sale, December 2008. “The D. Brent Pogue Family Collection, Part V”, Stack’s Bowers / Sotheby’s March 31, 2017, Lot 5102 – $51,700. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers.
  • PCGS MS-64BN CAC #25644762: As PCGS MS-64BN #06623056. Heritage Auctions, August 12, 2015, Lot 3924 – $22,325. As PCGS MS-64BN CAC #25644762. Heritage Auctions, December 3, 2015, Lot 3014 – $24,686.75. Regraded. CAC Added. Fingerprint apparently imparted below bust truncation to the right of 5.
  • NGC MS-63BN #3379477-005: Heritage Auctions, January 6, 2011, Lot 5421 – $16,100; Heritage Auctions, April 23, 2015, Lot 4921 – $15,275. Struck off center.
  • PCGS MS-63BN CAC #06698805: “The Charles Jay Collection”, Stack’s, October 1967, Lot 92 – $1,300; unknown intermediaries; Ed Milas; Jerry A. Bobbe; “The A.J. Vanderbilt Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, March 22, 2018, Lot 10006 – $20,400.
  • ANACS MS-63BN: “The Medio and Da Costa Gomez Collections”, Stack’s, June 2004, Lot 2161 – $5,462.50; “The Johnson-Blue Collection”, Stack’s, August 8, 2010, Lot 198 – $10,350.
  • PCGS MS-62+BN #18528653: Anthony Terranova, 1997; Heritage Auctions, August 3, 2012, Lot 5022 – $16,450.
  • PCGS MS-62BN #12772489: Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2008, Lot 1010 – $23,000.
  • PCGS MS-62BN #13470606: New England Rare Coin Auctions, July 1976, Lot 413 – $825; Gary Sturtridge (The House of Stuart, Ltd.); later, Vintage Auctions, February 1989, Lot 148 – $2,850; Julian Leidman; Superior, February 1991, Lot 675; Julian Leidman; Joe Dooley; McCawley and Grellman, January 1997, Lot 208 – $4,620; “The Stuart MacDonald Collection”,  Heritage Auctions, September 1997, Lot 5085 – $5,060; Thomas D. Reynolds; “The Wes Rasmussen Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 2005, Lot 3088 – $6,900. “The Walter J. Husak Collection”, Heritage Auctions, February 15, 2008, Lot 2079 – $19,550.
  • NGC MS-61BN #3569357-003: Stack’s Bowers, October 25, 2018, Lot 2018 – $12,000. Corrosion above Liberty’s head to the base of I.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-77

Plain Edge. R-3.

  • PCGS AU-53 #13470527: “The Thomas P. Warfield Collection”, Associated Coin Auction, October 1955, Lot 197 – $33; Willard C. Blaisdell; Gordon J. Wrubel; Bowers and Ruddy, marketed in Rare Coin Review #25, Spring 1976; unknown intermediaries; Heritage Auctions, June 1989, Lot 1686 – $3,080; Anthony Terranova; Stack’s, 1991 Fixed Price List, Lot 12; Stack’s, January 1993, Lot 1109 – $3,300; Anthony Terranova, Thomas D. Reynolds, and Chris Victor-McCawley. “The Walter J. Husak Collection”, Heritage Auctions, February 15, 2008, Lot 2080 – $13,800. Husak Collection on insert; Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2014, Lot 2525 – $11,162.50.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-78

R-1. Plain Edge. Free date variety. Centered ONE CENT on reverse. T of cent lower than EN. LI slight space then BERTY on obverse. Tip of 5 touches truncation. Through 11/07, PCGS had graded 14 in MS-63BN with eight finer.

  • NGC MS-65RB CAC #315396-003: “The Charles J. DuPont Collection”, Stack’s, September 1954, Lot 107 – $210; “The Gene Reale Collection”, Sotheby’s, January 1998, Lot 22 – $23,100; Eugene H. Garnder. As NGC MS-65RB CAC #315396-003. “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection III”, Heritage Auctions, May 12, 2015, Lot 98016 – $49,350.
  • PCGS MS-65BN #5730964: Dr. George P. French; B. Max Mehl, 1929 Fixed Price List, Lot 93 – $40; H.A. Sternberg; J.C. Morgenthau & Co., April 1933, Lot 14; H.A. Sternberg; F.O. Brown; Barney Bluestone. May 1935, Lot 500; H.A. Sternberg; B. Max Mehl, 1944; T. James Clarke, 1950; William H. Sheldon, 1972; R. E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr., 1992; Bowers and Merena, August 1998, Lot 17; private collector; Joseph O’Connor; “The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation”, Stack’s Bowers, January 22, 2013, Lot 13006 – $44,062.50.
  • PCGS MS-64BN #50010977: “The Joshua and Ally Walsh Collection of United States Cents”, Heritage Auctions, January 2006, Lot 3022 – $17,825; Heritage Auctions, March 21, 2006, Lot 13006 – $21,850; “The ESM Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, August 6, 2020, Lot 1014 – $16,800.
  • NGC MS-63BN #1216445-001: Stack’s, November 2010, Lot 407 – $18,400; “The Collection of Thaddeus A. Tatum III”, Stack’s Bowers, August 15, 2018, Lot 1023 – $11,100. Thin scratch to the right of Liberty’s chin. A series of thin diagonal marks across face and neck. Some red in the protected areas on the coin’s obverse and reverse.
  • PCGS MS-63BN #84356095: As PCGS MS-63BN CAC #2260025. Heritage Auctions, May 28, 2009, Lot 57 – $20,700; “The Jim O’Neal Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 25, 2013, Lot 4118 – $21,150. Rattler. As PCGS MS-63BN #84356095. Heritage Auctions, September 7, 2017, Lot 3726 – $16,800. Regraded. CAC sticker removed. Discoloration to the right of Liberty’s lips.
  • PCGS MS-64BN #38502899: “The Harlan P. Smith Collection”, S.H. & H. Chapman, May 1906, Lot 1084 – $26; S.H. & H. Chapman; “The Charles M. Williams Collection”, Numismatic Gallery, November 1950, Lot 91 – $80; Harold Bareford, September 1985; “The Herman Halpern Collection of United States Large Cents”, Stack’s, March 1988, Lot 113 – $7,700; David Bloom; “Marvin P. Matlock, M.D. Collection”, Bowers and Merena, March 1991, Lot 141 – $7,975; John B. MacDonald; “The Wes Rasmussen Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 2005, Lot 3091; Chris Victor-McCawley’s Fixed Price List #78, 2005. As PCGS MS-63BN #50191827. Stack’s Bowers, November 14, 2019, Lot 3010 – $9,600; Heritage Auctions, January 8, 2020, Lot 3122 – $12,600. As PCGS MS-64BN #38502899. Heritage Auctions, April 23, 2020, Lot 3635 – $16,200. Regraded. Upgraded by one point. Noyes CC #12. Two large dark spots to the right of Liberty’s chin.
  • PCGS MS-63BN: Stack’s Bowers, November 16, 2012, Lot 3006 – $11,197.75. Incomplete detincles . Scattered marks throughout the obverse field. Die cud between the flag of 5 and the bust truncation. Flat denticles on the reverse. Dark discoloration underneath leaves and denomination.
  • PCGS MS-63BN #06328412: Henry Chapman, November 1915; New Netherlands Coin Company, April 1960, Lot 1368; John Jay Pittman; “The John Jay Pittman Collection”, David Akers, October 1997, Lot 167. As PCGS MS-63BN #06328412. Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2008, Lot 197 – $18,400. EAC 60. Pittman on insert; “The Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2014, Lot 2527 – $17,625.
  • PCGS MS-63BN: Stack’s, January 15, 2008, Lot 8026 – $16,100.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-79

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-79. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).
1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-79. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com).

Reeded Edge. Only nine to 10 examples known.

  • PCGS VG-10 #13666804: Dr. S.T. Millard (Discovery Coin); B. Max Mehl, March 1915, Lot 75 – $15.50; G. Kraft; Robert D. Book, May 1930; George H. Clapp, traded for a “famous 1794 Cent”; “The Howard R. Newcomb Collection”, J.C. Morgenthau & Co., February 1945, Lot 76 – $165; James Kelly, (Fixed Price Lists 21-23, 1945-1947 – $350 to $175; Celina Coin Co., March 1947, Lot 2037; James Kelly, November 1947, Lot 927 – $150; James Kelly, April 1948, Lot 1327 – $150; Christian M. Petersen; Hollinbeck Coin Co., October 1953, Lot 278 – $660; Dr. William H. Sheldon, April 1972; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr., February 1992; Eric Streiner; Anthony Terranova, December 1993. As PCGS VG-10 #13666804. “The Daniel W. Holmes, Jr. Collection”, Goldberg Auctioneers, September 2009, Lot 128; “The Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2014, Lot 2528 – $646,250.
  • NGC VG Details – Corrosion #4184374-001: An old Texas Collection; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; House of Davis McKinney #22, January 1964, Lot 227 – Unsold; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; House of Davis McKinney, December 1968, Lot 36 – Unsold; L.R. Davis McKinney, Jr.; McKinney Estate; “The House of David McKinney”, Heritage Auctions, January 7, 2016, Lot 5225 – $258,500. Corroded. Deep scrape at the top of the wreath.
  • PCGS G-04 #19252679: Henry Chapman, discovered in a large lot of old coins; “‘George W. Lewis Collection”, Henry Chapman, June 1916, Lot 634 – $1,75; Henry Chapman, March 1917, Lot 549 – $5.75; Howard R. Newcomb, February 1939; Henry C. Hines, 1945; Dr. William H. Sheldon; Dorothy I. Paschal, January 1974; Denis W. Loring, May 1974; Dr. Robert J. Shalowitz; George Korsing; “The Newport Collection”, Bowers and Ruddy, Newport Collection, January 1975, Lot 908 – $3,000; George Korsing; Hap Seiders; Ronald Cooper; “Matthew Bryan Collection”, NASCA, November 1977, Lot 96 – $6,200; As NGC Fine Details – Corrosion #121151-001. Heritage Auctions, January 2011, Lot 5422 – $431,250. As PCGS G-04 #19252679. “The ESM Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, August 6, 2020, Lot 1015 – $132,000. Newcomb-Hines on insert. Heavily porous.
  • PCGS FR-02 #20734463: Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2012, Lot 3034 – $74,750.
  • PCGS Genuine #18258799: John Baker; Greg Hannigan; Goldberg Auctioneers, September 2010, Lot 796; “The Padula Family Foundation Collection”, Heritage Auctions,  September 8, 2017, Lot 4230 – $192,000; “The Poulos Family Collection, Part II”, Heritage Auctions, September 6, 2019, Lot 4608 – $78,000. Porous, details of Good.

1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-80, Harper’s “Jefferson Head”

Sheldon-80. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1795 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-80. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

Rarity 5-. Jefferson Head. Plain Edge.

Struck outside the Mint as part of an experiment to see if outside companies could strike coins cheaper. Research by Walter Breen, and later other researchers, traced the coin’s origin to John Harper, a Philadelphia machinist. Harper, it is said, produced the ersatz coinage to demonstrate his coin-making abilities to the Mint in hopes of procuring a contract to strike one-cent coins. Harper’s shop, located on North 6th and Cherry Streets, is believed to be the location where the first 1792 half dismes were struck. The Mint was built a block away on 7th Street. On January 23, 1795, Harper visited the Mint to suggest improvements to the Mint’s operations. These suggestions were shrugged off.

However, 10 months later on November 4, Harper reached out to newly appointed Mint Director Boudinot with a proposal to produce copper coinage for the Mint, writing to the director:

I propose to engage with you… To receive sheet copper of the right size and coin the same into cents complete for circulation at the rate of eighty dollars per ton and to return the same in Cents and shruf deducting twenty-five pounds in each ton for waste. I will also forge and harden all the dies, beds, and punches for the same.

On February 3, 1796, Mint Director Boudinot filed a report to the House of Representatives detailing Harper’s private one cent coinage, informing them that Harper had gone to the trouble of building a coin press and cutting machine at his own expense.

As a result, a House committee paid a visit to Harper’s operation. Boudinot would take Harper’s dies back to the Mint and offer him a job as assistant coiner. Some members of the Congressional delegation may have taken examples of Harper’s cent as souvenirs. Harper declined the offer.

The Jefferson Head cent was already known to numismatists as something unusual and scarce by the 1860s. Edward Cogan offered one for sale in June 1864, in a section called “Fabrications”, calling the coin “1795 Cent, Jefferson Head”. It sold for 25¢. W. Elliot Woodward’s October 1864 sale had one (lot 617), which he described as “1795 Sometimes called the Jefferson Head, in rather poor condition but an extremely rare type.” The coin was purchased by New York-based coin dealer William Strobridge for $1.

Finest known is XF example in the ANS Collection.

  • VF-35: Sharpness of EF-45 – burnished, scratched, and gouged – ANS Collection.
  • VF-25: Sharpness of VF-20 – Carnegie Institute – Clapp
  • NGC VF-25: ex: Garrett, sold by Heritage, March 2012, $184,000.
  • VF-20: Plated in Noyes’ United States Large Cents.
  • ANACS VF-20: dark and porous, (per Breen in Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents, “Fine 15, Sharpness of VF 35”, discovered in Pennsylvania in 1987, offered by Stack’s Bowers, 8/7/2012, #11182, $30,550.
  • PCGS F-15: lightly porous, sold by Stack’s? September 2009, $94,875.
  • PCGS XF-40 CAC #35744098: “The John P. Young Collection”, M.H. Bolender, September 1951, Lot 45 – $67.50; Melvin Danner; World Numismatiques, April 1959, Lot 1430 – $375; “The F. Dabney Caldwell, Jr. Collection”, Stack’s, April 1988, Lot 2094 – $31,900; Alan V. Weinberg. As PCGS XF-40 CAC #35744098. “The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part I”, Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2019, Lot 4319 – $264,000.
  • NGC VF-30BN #5747052-006: “The C.T. Whitman Collection”, Chapman Brothers, August 1893, Lot 834 – $23; “The George H. Earle, Jr. Collection”, Henry Chapman, June 1912, Lot 3394 – $12; J.C. Barnes; David Proskey; Henry C. Hines, 1944; Dr. William H. Sheldon, April 19, 1972; R.E. Naftzger, Jr., February 23, 1992; Jay Parrino; Donald G. Partrick. As NGC VF-30BN #5747052-006. “The Donald G. Partrick Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 21, 2021, Lot 3973 – $144,000. Donald G. Partrick Collection on insert.
  • NGC VF-25BN #3419326-001: Dr. Edward Maris; Harlan P. Smith, June 1886, Lot 270 – $50; T. Harrison Garrett; Robert Garrett, 1919; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; “The Garrett Collection”, Bowers and Ruddy, November 1979, Lot 80 – $7,500; Tom Morley; John W. Adams, April 1981; Denis W. Loring, May 1981; John Harper. As NGC VF-25BN #3419326-001. “The Dr. John Y. Harper, Jr. Collection”, Heritage Auctions, March 8, 2012, Lot 3052 – $184,000.
  • NGC VF-20BN #6054805-001: “The Major Alfred Walter Collection”, New Netherlands Coin Company, June 1967, Lot 1203; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick. As NGC VF20BN #6054805-001. “The Donald G. Partrick Collection”, Heritage Auctions, April 22, 2021, Lot 3063 – $55,200.
  • PCGS VF-20 #26341240: Jerry Cavalier, metal detector find, circa 1987. As ANACS VF-20. Stack’s Bowers, August 2012, Lot 11187 – $88,125. As PCGS VF-20 #26341240. Heritage Auctions, January 2013, Lot 5523 – $111,625; Heritage Auctions, August 2014, Lot 5525 – $105,750; “The ESM Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, August 6, 2020, Lot 1016 – $90,000. Porous, corroded. In our opinion, not as nice as the Parmelee-Pogue coin.
  • PCGS VF-20 #32189855: George F. Seavey; William H. Strobridge, 1873; Lorin G. Parmelee; “The Lorin G. Parmelee Collection”, New York Stamp and Coin Company, June 1890, Lot 713 – $26; Sylvester Crosby; Alvin J. Fink; K.P. Austin; Dr. Robert J. Shalowitz; Del Bland, April 1973; James T. McConnell, Jr.; Dr. Robert J. Shalowitz; Jerry A. Bobbe; West Coast Collector; Bowers and Merena, July-August 2003, Lot 129. As PCGS F-15. Stack’s, January 5, 2009, Lot 56 – $149,500; D. Brent Pogue Family Collection, via Larry Hanks. As PCGS VF-20 #32189855. “The D. Brent Pogue Family Collection, Part V”, March 31, 2017, Lot 5103 – $99,875. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers.
  • PCGS F-15 #27199508: “The Collection of Thaddeus A. Tatum III”, Stack’s Bowers, August 15, 2018, Lot 1024 – $60,000.
  • PCGS F-12 #34456403: “The Loma Linda Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2017, Lot 4743 – $66,000.

* * *

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1795
Denomination: One Cent (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 37,000 (Lettered Edge); 501,500 (Plain Edge)
Alloy: Copper
Weight: 13.48 g (Lettered Edge); 10.89 g (Plain Edge)
Diameter: 29.00 mm
Edge: Lettered: ONE HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR + leaf; Plain
OBV Designer Joseph Wright (Lettered Edge) | John Smith Gardner (Plain Edge)
REV Designer Joseph Wright (Lettered Edge) | John Smith Gardner (Plain Edge)
Quality: Business Strike

 

* * *

CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Park Avenue Numismatics Gold and Silver Bullion

AU Capital Management US gold Coins

NGCX Holders and Grading