Matron Head Coronet cents of 1816 to 1835 are tough to find in Uncirculated condition, except for the first five years of issue.
Experts credit the abundance of Uncirculated examples of the 1816 to 1820 Coronet cents to the Randall Hoard, whose discovery is dated to 1869.
The story of the hoard has long suggested that they were found in a post-Civil War railroad station in Georgia, though as with many facets of the find, facts are elusive, and even when they are known, have been stretched.
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An 1820 Coronet cent, graded Mint State 65 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., is part of Numismatic Auctions LLC’s June 20 sale. The auction house says the coin is “spot free with glowing ember red in devices.”
While the coins are valuable today, soon after the Randall Hoard began entering on the market their high-grade condition made them suspect, and they traded at a discount, according to Q. David Bowers in American Coin Treasures and Hoards.
Randall, who lived in New York, actually bought the coins outright from someone in New York who received them from someone in Georgia for payment of a debt, according to Bowers’ book.
The example offered in the June 20 auction is classified as Newcomb 13 by Howard Newcomb in United States Copper Cents 1816–1857.