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Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach Auction: Lots You Need to Know

Condition Census - Late Date Copper Coins

By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek …..
Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach Auction, offering a range of United States Coins & Currency as well as Ancient and World Coins, will be held from September 3-5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

The auction offers collectors the opportunity to bid on a number of important and attractive coins, including a nicely toned 1857 dollar in Proof, a choice AU 1793 half cent, one of the finest 1881-CC DMPL dollars that we have ever seen, and a rare Bechtler $5 gold coin, to name a few.

U.S. Coin highlights - Goldberg Auctioneer's September 2018 Pre-Long Beach Auction

The sale’s first session kicks off on Monday, September 3 at 10:00 AM PST and features half cents and large cents.

What really caught my attention with this selection of late date large cents was the degree to which one could seriously pursue the construction of a high-quality set of late dates by picking up a number of the pieces that appear in this sale.

There is a great case to be made that late date large cents offer one of the best values in the numismatic marketplace today: late date large cents are largely affordable, even in Mint State; late date large cents offer a great selection of varieties for cherry pickers; and, late date large cents mark the end of an important period of U.S. coin production.

It was from the transition from large coppers to small cents that gave birth to the American coin hobby as we know it. Had that transition not come about when it did, pre-Civil War coinage might today be much more expensive by degrees and many important coins might have been lost.

Beyond the timing and import of the series, numismatically, there is a lot of information that you need to know about these copper coins. Over the course of this auction preview, I will point out some of the most noteworthy pieces, to my eye, highlighting several examples that rank in the top five of the Grellman Condition Census.

What is the Grellman Condition Census?

The Grellman Census is a breakdown of the best-known examples of each variety of large cents struck between 1840 and 1857, according to the opinion of copper expert Bob Grellman.

Grellman compiled his census after years of studying the series, both as a cataloger and as a variety researcher. Grellman and Jules Reiver are the author’s of the standard reference, The Die Varieties of United States Large Cents 1840-1857, first published in 1986.

Today, the Grellman Condition Census includes tens of thousands of listings by die variety and informs many serious collectors and researchers in the field as to which are the finest surviving examples. In the Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach sale, more than 20 pieces ranked in the Top 5 of the Grellman Condition Census will be offered for sale.

Here is a rundown of six of my favorites.


Goldberg’s September 2018 Pre-Long Beach Auction: Grellman Condition Census Late Date Large Cents up for Bid: the Highlights…



Lot 89: 1845. One Cent. N-13. R2. PCGS MS64RB. Goldberg’s MS63. Ex: Heritage 1997 ANA Sale, 7/31/1997:8160-Tony Terranova 8/1997-R. S. Brown, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Superior 6/2/2002:233-Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Goldbergs 1/30/2011:110-William Hamilton Collection (includes the Holmes and Brown collection envelopes and the last 2 lot tickets). Early Die State, Die State A. Grellman CC#2 (TIE).

CoinWeek: This is an early die state example that does not exhibit the expected cud, which appears on later die states along the bottom of the rim. A thin die line running from the dentils to the middle of the T in UNITED, characteristic of the variety, is visible on the reverse. PCGS reports four examples of the 1845 cent in Red Brown, three in MS64 and one in MS65. Goldberg’s puts their estimate for this piece at $1,000, however, in 2016 a middle die state PCGS MS64RB CAC brought $2,468 against a $1,500 estimate.



Lot 97: 1846 N-13 Tall Date Cent - Goldberg's Auctions.

Lot 97. 1846. One Cent. N-13. R4. Tall Date with Repunched 1. PCGS MS64BN. Ex: Louis Helfenstein, Lester Merkin 8/14/1964:235-unknown-Tom Reynolds 5/1993-R. S. Brown, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Superior 6/2/2002:295-Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Goldbergs 1/30/2011:149-William Hamilton Collection (includes the Brown and Holmes collection envelopes and the last 2 lot ticket. Grellman CC#3.

CoinWeek: Tall date variety with the number 1 being clearly repunched (horizontal baseline intersects the center of the stem). A vertical line rises up from the dentils to the right of the 6. Die is blundered just inside the dentils from Star 7 to 13. 

PCGS reports one Mint State example of this variety in MS64RB. That piece (tied for finest in Noyes’ census, ex: DuPont-Naftzger-Twin Leaf, and CAC-approved) brought $7,637.50 at a July 2015 Stack’s Bowers auction. The present piece does not measure up to the eye appeal of that record-setting N-13, but it is just a notch below the virtually flawless Newcomb-Starr-Hawaii N-13 (also PCGS MS64RB) that brought $2,990 against a $1,000 Goldberg’s estimate in 2009. The current estimate of $1,250 seems quite reasonable, all things considered.



Lot 106. 1848. One Cent. N-12. R-1. NGC MS64RB. Ex: Maryland Coin-McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Goldbergs 2/3/2013:536-William Hamilton Collection. Grellman CC#4.

CoinWeek: NGC does not track certified populations by die variety on its website, but does report that from a total population of 880 grading instances, only one qualified for the RD designation, while 52 displayed a degree of original red sufficient to earn the RB designation. PCGS’ population reports denote six RD examples and 105 in RB. Due to crossovers, upgrades, and crack-outs, we expect that the populations reported by the two firms overstate the number of examples that exist in the wild. The obverse of this coin exhibits tremendous eye appeal and the reverse is nearly full-red, save for the presence of numerous black spots that dot the wreath and inside of the letters of ONE CENT. Goldberg’s estimate of $800 seems quite reasonable



1850 Large Cent N-6. Goldberg Auctioneers.

Lot 123. 1850. One Cent. N-6. R-1. PCGS MS64RB. Ex: Heritage 1996 Spring ANA Sale, lot 5076-G. Les Dawson, McCawley & Grellman Auctions 1/11/1997:587-R. S. Brown, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Superior 6/2/2002:795-Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Goldbergs 1/30/2011:395-William Hamilton Collection (includes the Brown and Holmes collection envelopes and all 4 lot tickets). Grellman CC#2 (Tied).

CoinWeek: This is an early-mid die state example that exhibits a little roughness in the neck and bust. The closed 5 and spur extending from the bottom right center of star 6, coupled with diagonal die scratches on the reverse in the area of ONE CENT tip off the variety. Goldberg’s sold the Grellman CC#1 example of this variety in their February 2018 sale, where it brought $1293. That example was graded MS64RB and was CAC-approved. Goldberg’s predicts a more modest price of $600 and up for this lot.



Lot 155: 1855. One Cent. N-13. R2. Upright 55. PCGS MS65BN. Goldberg’s MS62+, Close to MS63. EDS, Die State A. Ex Bowers & Merena FPL-J. R. Grellman 8/1992-R. S. Brown, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Superior 6/2/2002:1434-Doug Bird 11/29/2003-Evan Kopald (via Bob Grellman & Chris McCawley) 5/2006-Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Goldbergs 1/30/2011:651-William Hamilton Collection (includes the Kopald and Holmes collection envelopes and the Holmes lot ticket). Estimate: $400. Grellman CC#3 (TIE).

CoinWeek: Not a rare variety, despite the low census numbers reported at PCGS; one of three N-13’s detailed in the PCGS census. A faint wisp of original red remains, but a large dab of dark toning on the coin’s reverse keeps the coin from earning the EAC grade of MS63. In this CoinWeek video, EAC President Bill Eckberg details EAC grading standards in the grades band of 60-70.

In July 2015, Stack’s Bowers offered a PCGS MS65BN N-13 (CAC-approved) from the Twin Leaf Collection. That piece brought a strong price of $940. That coin, in our estimation, is superior.



Lot 157: 1856. One Cent. N-8. R4-. Upright 5. PCGS MS65RB. Goldberg’s MS64. Ex: Stack’s Bowers 3/21/2012:1361-David Johnson-William Hamilton Collection. Estimate: $800. Grellman CC#4.

Goldberg's Pre-Long Beach September 2018. Lot 159. 1856 N-13 R2 Italic 5. PCGS MS65RB

Lot 159: 1856. One Cent. N-13. R2. Italic 5. PCGS MS65RB. MS63 Noyes; Goldberg’s MS64. Ex James Kelly-Louis Helfenstein, Lester Merkin 8/14/1964:325-unknown-Las Vegas Coin Convention bourse 2/1970-Del Bland 2/7/1973.-R. E. Naftzger, Jr., McCawley & Grellman Auctions/Goldbergs 9/7/2009:1280-William Hamilton Collection (includes the Naftzger collection envelope and lot ticket). Estimate: $1,000. Grellman CC#1.

CoinWeek: The finest known of the variety, according to Grellman, this piece stands heads and shoulders above the PCGS MS63RB that Goldberg’s offered in September 2017. The two examples combine to form the entire condition census for the variety as reported by PCGS. Clearly, many more exist in the wild, as evidenced by the R2 designation.

Goldberg’s estimate of $1,000 and up seems conservative to us. This coin has great eye appeal and is the PCGS Coinfacts plate coin for the variety.



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Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach Auction

Session Listing:

Session 1: Half Cents and Large Cents (Lot 1 – 164)

Monday, September 3, 2018 • 10 AM PST • View Session

Session 2: U.S. Small Cents – Miscellaneous Silver (Lot 165 – 692)

Monday, September 3, 2018 • 1 PM PST • View Session

Session 3: U.S. Small Cents – Miscellaneous Silver (Lot 165 – 692)

Monday, September 3, 2018 • 6 PM PST • View Session

Session 4: Ancient Coins (Lot 1000 – 1629)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 • 10 AM PST • View Session

Session 5: World Gold Coins (Lot 1630 – 1945)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 • 6 PM PST • View Session

Session 6: World Crowns & Minor Coins (Lot 1946 – 2539)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 • 6 PM PST • View Session

Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic author and the editor and publisher of CoinWeek.com. Along with co-author Hubert Walker, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the "Market Whimsy" column for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing. From 2021-2023, Charles served as Governor of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), where he was bestowed the Glenn Smedley Award. Charles is a member of numerous numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

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