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Finest Known 1835 Matron Head Large Cent Offered by GreatCollections

Finest Known 1835 Matron Head Large Cent Offered by GreatCollections

GreatCollections is offering discerning collectors the opportunity to bid on an 1835 Matron Head large cent graded MS65 RB by PCGS. Certified by CAC as a “Head of 1836” variety, not only is this coin extremely high grade for the type, but it plays testament to a controversial period in American numismatics. This coin is a beautiful piece of history, and collectors should be aware that bidding ends on Sunday, July 17, 2022, 4:06:04 PM Pacific Time (PT) (7:06 PM Eastern).

At the time of publication, the highest of 70 bids stands at $7,000 USD and the auction has six days remaining.

As the last year of the original Coronet design, Christian Gobrecht would soon redesign the obverse depiction of Lady Liberty to be slightly younger. Called the “Head of 1836” variety, this coin featured the new 1836 obverse design where Liberty has a skinnier, longer jaw line. This variety makes what would be a relatively common coin, quite special and rare. In fact, according to the Noyes Census, this coin is an MS 67 and the “finest seen” while the Bland Census grades it as an MS-65+ and considers it tied for finest known.

While described as “perfectly bright red” over a hundred years ago in the 1907 Chapman auction catalogue for the sale of Charles G. Zug’s collection, it is clear that the coin has retained most of its color and all its luster to this day.

Naftzger’s was an important collection with one major caveat

This coin was part of the Naftzger Large Cent Collection, one of the most important large cent collections ever assembled.

As the “Undisputed king of United States Large Cents”, Ted Naftzger methodically put together one of the finest groupings of large cents to date. Towards this end, he purchased Dr William H. Sheldon’s collection for $300,000. This caused a real scandal, as the coins that Naftzger acquired had been stolen from the American Numismatic Society (ANS), T. James Clarke, and Anderson Dupont collections.

When the issue came to light, Naftzger refused to return the coins to the ANS. In fact, four years after he sold most of his collection for $7.3 million, he and the ANS went to court. Despite the California Court of Appeals ruling against Naftzger in 1996, the legal battle was far from over. After many appeals, the final month-long trial in 1997 resulted in the judge ordering Naftzger to pay the ANS $229,500. While he was not at all involved with the actual thefts, the litigation and loss of personal reputation cost Naftzger much of his health and upwards of $1 million dollars in legal fees and the verdict.

This very Matron Head large cent, not part of the scandalous acquisition,  most recently hammered for $13,513 in January 2013.


A left-facing, somewhat stern-faced Liberty is in the center of the obverse. Curled and flowing hair is swept back to a bun tied by plain cords, with locks draped in front of the ear and down the back of the neck. A coronet worn above the ear and forehead displays LIBERTY. Thirteen six-point stars circle the design within the denticled rim and the date (1835) sits at the bottom of the obverse.

The reverse displays UNITED STATES OF AMERICA as a nearly complete circle concentric with the denticled rim. Inside of that is another circle formed by a laurel branch with berries, ends tied by a ribbon. The wreath is sometimes called a “Christmas wreath”. In the center is the written denomination “ONE CENT”, each word on a separate line, with a short horizontal line beneath. All Matron Head cents were minted at Philadelphia and display no mintmark.

The edge is plain, as it is for all Matron Head cents.

Bidding ends on Sunday, July 17, 2022, 4:06:04 PM Pacific Time (7:06 PM Eastern).

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To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.

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