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Historic 1793 Strawberry Leaf Cent Could Bring Over Half-Million Dollars at Auction

Historic 1793 Strawberry Leaf Cent Could Bring Over a Half-Million Dollars at Auction

By James McCartneySenior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is thrilled to offer the finest known example of the 1793 Strawberry Leaf Cent in their August 2020 Las Vegas Auction, presented as part of the ESM Collection of United States Large Cents.

First purchased for $77.50 in 1877, this early cent could bring more than $500,000 in the Rarities Night Session, to be held on the evening of August 6.

Among the 348 die varieties of early U.S. large cents numbered by specialist Dr. William Sheldon, no variety captures the imagination of specialists so much as the 1793 Strawberry Leaf cent. Only four specimens are known, all of which are well worn, a fact that contributes to the mystery and desirability that surrounds them.

In the August sale, Stack’s Bowers Galleries is offering the finest known of these four, which has been graded Very Good-10 by PCGS. Researcher Walter Breen noted in a 1959 article that this specimen is “the only strawberry leaf coin with all four numerals of the date legible,” allowing for the easiest comparison of the very strong similarity between these digits and the punches used on other 1793 Wreath cent varieties. Both sides of this coin are finely and evenly granular, the devices and peripheries a medium shade of brown that contrasts with the deeper dark brown toning present in the fields.

In addition to ranking as the finest known, it is also the most historic survivor of this variety.

It was purchased at auction by famous Boston bean-baker Lorin G. Parmelee in October 1877 for $77.50 and was sold alongside his entire collection at auction in 1890, where it realized $79. It went on to be owned by several significant collectors throughout the late-19th and early-20th centuries including Bostonian Dr. Thomas Hall and Virgil Brand of Chicago.

In May 1941 it quietly sold to a nearly unknown collector from Maine, Roscoe E. Staples, for $2,750. Roscoe Staples, a successful businessman, joined the Maine National Guard in 1934 and embarked for the Pacific theater in fall 1942. While his troops were actively engaged in taking the Munda airfield from the remaining Japanese forces in 1943, then-Major Staples was shot and killed by a Japanese sniper. Staples was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for bravery, and he was noted for being “a brilliant officer who had the respect of his men and his superiors.” After Staples’ death, the coin remained with his family until sold in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries 2004 Frog Run Farm Collection sale.

The firm could not be more proud to once again offer this great rarity in lot 1006 of their August 2020 Las Vegas sale, now part of the fabulous ESM Collection of United States Large Cents.

Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowershttps://stacksbowers.com/
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, internet, and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection, and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with galleries in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris, and Vancouver.

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