The fifth-known example of the Noncollectible 11 variety of 1794
Liberty Cap cent was reported Jan. 7 during the Early American Coppers
meeting held in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists
convention in Orlando.
The new example was reported at the EAC meeting by Greg Hannigan
from Hannigan’s Rare Coins LLC, in Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
All known examples are heavily circulated, with the finest known,
the initial discovery piece, being a Very Good 8, and the lowest a
Noncollectible attributions represent those varieties whose rarity
is such to afford fewer than a half dozen examples being in
collectors’ hands. The NC-11 1794 Liberty Cap cent is not listed in
William H. Sheldon’s 1958 Penny Whimsy, since the variety was
not attributed until four decades after the publication of Sheldon’s book.
The variety is identified in Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of
United States Large Cents as “NC 11.”
Tied for third
Bob Grellman, large cent specialist, researcher and cataloger, and
EAC Region 4 chairman, said Hannigan’s example, in About Good 3, ties
for third in ranking on EAC’s Condition Census for the variety.
Hannigan said he acquired the fifth known example of the NC-11
1794 Liberty Cap cent during the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in
Baltimore in November, and sold it for an undisclosed sum during the
FUN show to Tennessee collector Mike Swift, who was seated in the same
row of chairs as Hannigan during the EAC meeting.
Hannigan said the coin had been previously acquired by eBay seller
Jeremy Mayor, and submitted to large cent attribution expert James
Young Jr., who now, along with his brother Chris, is responsible for
finding or attributing three of the five known NC-11 cents.
The NC-11 variety was initially discovered in 1995 by James H.
Young (no relation to James Young Jr. or Chris Young), who attributed
the previously unknown variety more than four decades after it was
originally acquired by its owner.
Ossining, N.Y., grocer Harry Leifer received that discovery coin
over the counter at his grocery store circa 1950 and kept the coin
until his death in 1991. In 1995, Leifer’s son, Bret, who inherited
the coin, had it attributed as the new NC-11 variety by James H.
Young. The Very Good 7 coin was subsequently sold to consummate large
cent collector Robinson S. Brown Jr. in a private sale.
The coin was sold at public auction in 1996 by Superior Stamp
& Coin Co. for $23,100 to collector Daniel W. Holmes Jr.
Ira and Larry Goldberg, Auctioneers, sold the Holmes’ coin at
public auction in September 2009 for $26,450.
The NC-11 1794 Liberty Cap cent pairs the Obverse 11 die with
Reverse K. (Researchers assign the obverse dies a numerical
designation and reverse dies an alphabetical designation.)
Obverse 11 is noted by, according to Breen: “Very wide date,
spaced 17 94 with the 9 and 4 tipped to the left. Hair ends in seven
thin sharp locks. Most are longer than usual, the bottom is shorter
than usual, and the top two are unusually far apart. Pole does not
enter the cap. Shallow shoulder loop. Dentils at the left and top are
joined for much of their length. Narrow extra dentil between two wider
ones opposite the base of the cap. liberty is unusually close to the
border with li and er closer together than other letters. Heavy period
between the bases of li and another at the base of i.”
According to Breen Reverse K diagnostics are: “The ribbon knot is
large. Broken or incomplete leaves are below ta, above o(n) and (n)e,
and below ri. The inner leaf nearest (n)t is narrow, the left leaf
below that t is weak at left, and later looks as though something has
taken a bite out of its left edge. Six berries on each branch with
that right of (n)e minute, its stem faint and incomplete. Fraction bar
is nearer the numerator, which is above the right curves of the first
u is low and its base is heavy.” ■