1807 One Cent Comet

By James McCartneyNumismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers ……
 

Our upcoming August 2018 Auction at the ANA World’s Fair of Money will feature a number of significant early American copper specimens, including a popular 1807 Sheldon-271 cent. Certified MS-63 BN by PCGS, it is an exceptionally preserved example of this Comet variety with a provenance stretching back over 110 years. The patina is rich chocolate brown with suggestions of navy surrounding the devices. Glints of orange mint luster remain on the reverse and illuminate areas of the wreath and legend. The surfaces are smooth and frosty, with just a small mark near Liberty’s upper curl noted. A minor planchet defect at eight o’clock is largely obscured by the PCGS holder but visible under inspection. Evidence of clashing is dramatic surrounding Liberty’s portrait, and the eponymous Comet die flaws are now in a late intermediate state equivalent to Noyes Die State B-C. The eye appeal is strong and the overall technical quality is choice.

We first find this piece offered publicly in the Chapman brothers’ sale of the Harlan P. Smith Collection in May 1906. Plated in lot 1111, it sold to George H. Earle for $33, which was a bargain compared to the $160 he paid for the 1792 Silver Center cent in lot 1315.

Earle’s collection was later sold by Henry Chapman in June 1912 and was called by Chapman “the finest collection ever offered in this country.” This Sheldon-271 was featured in lot 3443, there described as “Uncirculated. Minute nick under bow and also on edge. Sharp, bold impression. Steel color. The finest specimen of this rare variety known.” Noted numismatist George Clapp shared this sentiment, choosing it as the plate coin in his 1934 monograph on cents of 1804 to 1814.

It was more recently assigned an EAC grade of AU-50 in the Bland Census of Breen’s large cent Encyclopedia (2000), tied for ninth place therein. Just four examples rank finer on the PCGS Population Report. We last had the opportunity to offer this piece as part of our August 2012 Philadelphia ANA Auction, and we are delighted to once again be offering it in the City of Brotherly Love this August.

This incredible Mint State 1807 Sheldon-271 is being offered as part of the Collection of Thaddeus A. Tatum III, appearing alongside such noteworthy pieces as an Extremely Fine 1792 Half Disme and a Very Fine 1794 Flowing Hair dollar. This collection is one of many significant cabinets in our August 2018 ANA Auction. The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com, or you may contact our offices to secure a printed catalog. To speak with a numismatic representative today, please call 800-458-4646 or email Info@StacksBowers.com. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our exciting auctions via your Android or Apple device.
 

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