By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……
So, it’s been a while since my “last” installment of this series! In year-end reviewing and organizing my archive folders and images, I “found” this one misplaced.
And as I have in all of the previous articles I will start with the certified “Dark Corner” example, an 1804 S-266 large cent:
As certified, this example would be from the perfect state of the dies, State “A”, with no obverse or reverse die breaks. A genuine example has the reverse rotated as noted in the lot description of the “finest known” example in a past Stack’s Bowers auction:
“Th(is) die state is traditionally known as “Sheldon-266c,” with substantial cuds over RTY of LIBERTY and MERIC of AMERICA, the last of the three main die states. Clash marks are seen at Liberty’s profile and throat, as well as under her hair bow. Breen describes this state as his state IV. This specimen shows the distinctive die rotation typical of this variety, with the reverse aligned roughly 45 degrees counterclockwise of proper coin turn.”
The Stack’s example showing the rotation of all genuine examples (and the die breaks of the late state):
I understand the subject example was sent to a major auction house as a consignment; the cataloger noted the issues with it and notified the TPG. I do not have images in the slab, but the lack of proper reverse rotation should have been a clue!
Cert images are typically shown in the “proper” coin orientation, so no help there.
As I have stated in my previous articles, the first place to start in authenticating any coin is ATTRIBUTION, and had that been done during the grading (I know, it takes precious time…), then this one would have never made it into a slab.
Comparison images with a genuine example in the same die state “A” gives these results:
Images indicate the subject example is an altered date; counterfeiters picked a decent variety as the host but certainly not good enough!
It was quickly determined that the host is an 1803 S-260 large cent:
I understand the coin was returned to the owner; I do not know what happened from there but can state the cert was removed.
As always, the research on this one and all of the others has been a team effort, with friends and fellow members of Early American Coppers (EAC) and the Dark Side Group instrumental in the effort, as well as others – including my wife, who puts up with me and this!
Best as always,