US Coins

With 'frosty walnut-brown color,' 1793 Wreath cent sells for $2K

A 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath cent graded NGC Very Good Details, Damaged, brought $2,012.50 at Scotsman’s July 18 Midwest Summer Sale. The four apparent indentations at the edges show the grips in the coin’s holder, not defects in the coin itself.

Images courtesy Scotsman Auctions

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Aug. 11 issue.

Scotsman’s Midwest Summer Sale, held July 18, 2014, in St. Louis, brought $1,124,107. Among the lots offered were several 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath cents. It is a scarce one-year large cent type that is in demand from both early copper aficionados and type collectors.

When buying this type of early copper, a buyer has to often balance a variety of issues inherent in a hand-produced copper coin more than two centuries old.

Here is one of three from recent auctions that showcase the varied market for this tough issue below $10,000:

The coin: 1793 Wreath cent, Very Good Details, Damaged

The price: $2,012.50

The story: The least expensive 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath cents — even those nearly worn slick and grading Fair 2 — generally sell for over $1,000. Scotsman offered an entry level example of the Vine and Bars Edge variety, classified as Sheldon 9 in William H. Sheldon’s large cent reference, Early American Cents (later renamed Penny Whimsy), and graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as Very Good Details, Damaged.

It brought $2,012.50 against an estimate of $900 to $1,200.

Like any coin at the low-end of the price scale for a particular issue, it had its pros and cons.

Regarding the positives, the lot description stated, “Modestly micro-porous overall, the coin nonetheless features unexpectedly nice, frosty walnut-brown color that would immediately appeal to any aficionado of early copper.”

On the cons, it stated, “The NGC disclaimer properly calls attention to a prominent, ancient oblong scar in Liberty’s tresses, as well as an additional dig and several irregular smaller hits, a couple of which have found their way up to the top of the obverse rim.”

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Aug. 11 Market Analysis:

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