By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
The Braided Hair large cent was struck for circulation from 1839 through 1857, when it was retired in favor of the smaller Flying Eagle cent. These “late date” large cents are among the most popular United States coins of the 19th century, and collectors often assemble them by Newcomb variety.
Eleven years after the end of the Braided Hair cent series, the design was resurrected for a series of patterns intended for sale directly to collectors. Technically fantasy pieces, these novelty large cents were dated 1868 and are highly prized by Early American Copper collectors today.
We last offered an example of the copper Judd-611 in our July 2015 sale of the Twin Leaf Collection, which included a Proof-64+ BN (PCGS) that sold for $23,500 USD. Prior to that, we had not offered an example since our March 2005 sale of the Proof-66 BN (NGC) in the Richard Jewel Collection that realized $36,800.
The 2015 Twin Leaf sale also included a Proof-64 (PCGS) 1869 Judd-610, which employed the same dies as Judd-611 but was struck in nickel. That coin sold for $21,150, demonstrating a strong demand for these dies in both metallic compositions. Though the estimated rarities of the Judd-610 and Judd-611 are identical at Rarity-7, the number of auction appearances of Judd-611 offered here is less than half that of Judd-610. In the 10th edition of United States Pattern Coins, by J. Hewitt Judd (edited by Q. David Bowers), just three auction appearances are reported for this issue, ending with our 2005 sale of the Richard Jewel specimen.
This rare and attractive fantasy large cent displays original surfaces and dominant pinkish-bronze patina. Both sides exhibit considerable mint orange in the peripheries that is most pronounced on the obverse. Iridescent lilac-blue and salmon pink can also be seen in the fields. The strike is sharp throughout and a rich, satiny texture blankets the design elements.
This Proof-64 RB (PCGS) Judd-611 will be featured in our June 2020 Baltimore Auction, offered alongside Vermont coppers from the Q. David Bowers Collection and many other rarities. We are accepting consignments to this exciting event through April 21, so contact us today at [email protected] or 800-566-2580 to speak with a numismatic expert. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.