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HomeUS Coins1814 Classic Head Cent : A Collector's Guide

1814 Classic Head Cent : A Collector’s Guide

1814 Classic Head, S-295. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1814 Classic Head, S-295. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..

The United States Mint mustered 357,830 Classic Head cents in 1814 – which is impressive, given that the country was engaged in a war against Great Britain that saw the nation’s capital sacked on August 24. American victories the next month at Lake Champlain, New York, and Baltimore, Maryland, gave the Americans the sense that they could win the war.

Despite the seat of the Federal Government being located on the banks of the Potomac River, Philadelphia remained the financial capital until the 1830s. Managing the country’s depleted funds would prove challenging for President James Madison and his cabinet.

Specie payments had been suspended. Bullion deposits to the Mint had slowed to a trickle, with the last major deposit being made on September 21.

Copper, a metal heavily imported from England, was in short supply. On October 27, Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt delivered 357,830 copper one-cent coins – the sum total of the year’s cent output. Two weeks later, on November 13, Thomas T. Tucker, the Treasurer of the United States, advised the Mint to suspend further distribution of copper coins until further notice.

What was struck got paid out, with the Bank of Pennsylvania being the vector by which all of the coins entered into circulation. In all likelihood, most of the mintage was distributed in 1815, as the Bank of Pennsylvania did not receive the coins until December 26.

1814 cent date styles. Image: CoinWeek / Stack's Bowers.
1814 Classic Head Cent date styles. Image: CoinWeek / Stack’s Bowers.

The 1814 Classic Head cent was struck with two pairs of easily distinguishable dies. The Crosslet 4 (Sheldon-294) has a crosslet at the end of the 4, while the Plain 4 (Sheldon-295) terminates without one.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Most 1814 Classic Head cent survivors will grade Extra Fine or below. The coin survives in surprisingly low quantity in Mint State and is unknown in Superb Gem condition or in Red (RD)/strong>. The paltry few Red Brown (RB) coins attributed by NGC and PCGS are predominately Brown (BN). The Pogue coin had been previously certified Red Brown by NGC during its time in the Foxfire Collection but is now certified as Brown by PCGS. We believe that it qualifies as RB based on other coins that PCGS has attributed as such.

1814 Classic Head Cent, Sheldon-294, Crosslet 4

1814 cent, S-294. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1814 Classic Head, S-294. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

Top Population: PCGS MS65+RB (1, 4/2024), NGC MS66RB (2, 4/2024), and CAC MS65RB (1:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

The crossbar of 4 terminates with a crosslet.

  • NGC MS66BN #017924-002: RARCOA, September 4, 1996; “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection III,” Heritage Auctions, May 12, 2015, Lot 98028 – $32,900.
  • PCGS MS65BN CAC #06579734: Superior, January 2004, Lot 1289; “The ESM Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, August 6, 2020, Lot 1066 – $40,800; Heritage Auctions, August 24, 2022, Lot 3874 – $33.600. Re-encapsulated and re-CAC’ed. Mustard yellow centers.
  • PCGS MS65BN CAC #05754407: “The Douglas C. Kaselitz Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, July 2015, Lot 5021 – $55,812.50.
  • NGC MS65BN #328673-001: Auction ’81 – RARCOA, July 1981, Lot 42; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr; private collector; Heritage Auctions, April 30, 2009, Lot 2042 – $21,850.
  • PCGS MS64BN CAC #46504183: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3010 – $16,800.
  • PCGS MS64BN #25093431: Chris Victor McCawley, August 2013; Stack’s Bowers, November 2015, Lot 20009 – $14,687.50. Struck slightly off-center.
  • PCGS MS64BN: “The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection,” Bowers and Merena, May 1996, Lot 540 – $9,350; Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2001, Lot 6120 – $8,625.

1814 Classic Head Cent, Sheldon-295, Plain 4

1814 cent, S-295. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1814 Classic Head, S-295. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

The 4 terminates without the crosslet seen on Sheldon-294. As the obverse die fails, a curved die crack develops from the rim through 8 to the rim through star 10.

Top Population: PCGS MS67BN (1, 4/2024), NGC MS66RB (2, 4/2024), and CAC MS67BN (1:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

  • PCGS MS67BN CAC #3195341: RARCOA, July 18, 1997; Heritage Auctions, May 12, 2015, Lot 98029 – $158,625. Old Green Holder.
  • PCGS MS66BN #6595395: Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2009, Lot 1021 – $35,937.50.
  • PCGS MS65BN #32708439: Discovered in England; John Saunders, privately, November 1978 – $10; Jonathan Kern; Jeff Garrett; John West Dannreuther; Gordon J. Wrubel; R.E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr. Collection, by sale, January 1979; Eric Streiner, by sale, en bloc, via Stack’s, February 1992; Jay Parrino. As NGC MS66RB 957212-011. Foxfire Collection (Claude E. Davis, MD), by sale, July 1994; acquired with the Foxfire Collection, en bloc, by sale, via Richard Burdick for the D. Brent Pogue family, October 2004. As PCGS MS65BN #32708439. “The D. Brent Pogue Family Collection,” Stack’s Bowers / Sotheby’s, March 31, 2017, Lot 5139 – $70,500. Submitted to PCGS, downgraded one point, and from RB to BN. Pogue novelty insert.; “The Arizona Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2022, Lot 3063 – $45,600. A compelling case could be made that this coin should be RB. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers.
  • PCGS MS65BN CAC #25662612: Heritage Auctions, January 7, 2016, Lot 5227 – $35,250; “The Arizona Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2022, Lot 3062 – $34,800.
  • PCGS MS65BN CAC #06318421: “The Joshua and Ally Walsh Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2006, Lot 3032 – $18,400. Joshua and Ally Walsh on insert; “The Joshua Collection,” Heritage Auctions, July 2008, Lot 1509 – $29,900; As PCGS MS65BN CAC #06318421. “The Jim O’Neal Collection of U.S. Type, Part One,” Heritage Auctions, April 24, 2014, Lot 5513 – $47,000. CAC added.
  • PCGS MS64+BN CAC #33041121: Oscar J. Pearl, 1944; Stack’s, April 3, 1975, Lot 28; Gordon Gleitz, April 1996; Tom Reynolds; “The Tom Reynolds Collection of Large Cents, Part I,” Goldberg Auctioneers, January 2016, Lot 330. As PCGS MS64+BN CAC #33041121. “The ESM Collection”, Stack’s Bowers, August 6, 2020, Lot 1067 – $26,400. Splash of light coppery color across the obverse and reverse.
  • PCGS MS64BN #2637764: “The Anderson-Dupont Sale, Part I,” Stack’s, September 1954, Lot 522; Emanuel Taylor, October 1960; R. E. “Ted” Naftzger, Jr.; Bowers & Merena, June 2007, Lot 289; The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation. “The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation”, Stack’s Bowers, January 22, 2013, Lot 13026 – $30,550. Pedigree research assisted by Stack’s Bowers.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1814
Denomination: One Cent (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 357,830
Alloy: Copper
Weight: 10.89 g
Diameter: 29.00 mm
Edge: Plain
OBV Designer: John Reich
REV Designer: John Reich
Quality: Business Strike


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

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