Bill Maryott, who has been an enthusiastic collector of large
copper cents for well over a decade and is a familiar figure in the
Early American Coppers group, recently sent a picture of an
Bill recalls that the hoard brought about $1,500 to $2,000 when it
was sold on eBay in the year 2000. The half cents and cents were
collected by date and mounted on a board, secured in their places by
tacks! This worked, of course, but no doubt the coins showed the
effects of this. The rarities were missing, but most of the dates were represented.
Speaking of tacks, longtime collectors may remember the Nathan M.
Kaufman Collection, auctioned by Rarcoa in August 1978. Kaufman (1863
to 1918), was a native of Marquette, Mich. His business interests
included the Congress Hotel on Chicago. His brother, Louis, was deeply
involved in banking (First National Bank of Marquette; Chatham and
Phenix National Bank, New York City). In later years the N.M. Kaufman
Collection, as it was designated, was displayed in the directors’ room
of the Marquette bank.
Most of the coins were affixed to the display boards with the use
of glue or tacks. In the Rarcoa catalog, such marks were noted when
they were found. The gold series included date sequences, plus some
Mint marks, of denominations from $1 to $20. Proof coins were in
abundance including the rare high denominations of the 1860s onward —
an impressive array with few equivalents anywhere. The highlight was
one of only two known 1825/4 Capped Head $5 half eagles.
I have always had an interest in coin hoards, large and small. It
is always interesting when something enters the marketplace
unexpectedly, having been hidden away for dozens of years or even a
century or more as with the coppers in Bill Maryott’s picture. Of
course, mounting them with tacks to a board is not the way to go — but
in the case of these half cents and large cents, perhaps they would
not have been saved otherwise.
Large copper cents, more than any other denomination, inspired
more people to become numismatists in the early days. There is a
remarkable aspect to such cents: Ever since 1857 the market for them
has been strong! In good economic times and bad, if charted at decade
intervals, the price trend has always been upward!
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, email@example.com,
or at Q. David Bowers LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.