By James McCartney, Stack’s Bowers …..
Offered in lot 1027 of our August 2018 ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction is a magnificent 1796 Liberty Cap cent, exhibiting qualities that will appeal to both the type collector and specialist. It has been certified AU-58 by PCGS and has a CAC sticker, ranking it among the finest survivors from these dies.
A blend of espresso and caramel hues support areas of reddish bronze scattered throughout. A trivial suggestion of friction is apparent across the high points, though the surfaces are otherwise very close to Mint State. Traces of the original planchet texture remain at the left obverse and reverse but actual handling marks are scarce under inspection.
Liberty is sharply defined, showing intricate hair detail and profile features despite evidence of a late die state. Die defects are now prominent in the right obverse field and to the right of the 6 in the date, accompanied by swelling at the first half of STATES on the reverse.
This significance of this piece has long been recognized, as it has passed through the hands of several significant collectors including Dr. William H. Sheldon who selected it to be illustrated in his Early American Cents (1949), which would later become Penny Whimsy (1958).
We most recently handled this example as part of our (Stack’s) offering of the incredible John Whitney Walter collection in May 1999. Featured in lot 1721 with a grade of “Choice About Uncirculated-55, if not slightly finer,” we noted that “traces of original mint gloss can be seen in some of the protected areas on the obverse.
Very sharp strike everywhere.” Nearly 20 years later, we are delighted to be handling it once again alongside additional rarities from the John Whitney Walter Collection in our Philadelphia ANA Auction.
This important Sheldon-91 1796 Liberty Cap cent is pedigreed to the Collection of Thaddeus A. Tatum III and featured in lot 1027 of the Rarities Night session.
It will be sold alongside such incredible rarities as the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel (Proof-66 PCGS CAC) in lot 1096 and a Gem 1895-O Morgan dollar (MS-66 PCGS) in lot 1225. The sale is available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com, or you may contact our offices to secure a printed catalog.
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