Two obverses, no date on Flying Eagle pattern cent
- Published: Apr 4, 2017, 6 AM
One of the more focused collections to come to market in recent memory was Steve Brewer’s group of Flying Eagle cent patterns, which sold at Kagin’s March 9 to 10 auctions.
The collector was attracted to the series because of the relative value of the various patterns, especially when compared to the popular (and expensive) 1856 Flying Eagle cent pattern that is regularly collected as part of the regular issue series (the piece cataloged as Judd 180).
He said of the much rarer but less expensive Judd 184 variety, “I’m no math genius but how can something with a population of around 2,000 pieces cost twice as much as one with a population of 12 or so?”
Here is one of three we profile in this week’s Market Analysis that showcase the diverse collecting opportunities in this field.
Undated (1858) two-headed Flying Eagle cent pattern, Judd 219, Proof 62
One of the coolest pieces was a unique Flying Eagle cent pattern with two obverses and no date from 1858. The two-headed Flying Eagle cent was graded Proof 62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and brought $50,525. Of the two sides, it’s a guess as to which is the obverse, but tradition calls the side with no legend the obverse.
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It is listed as Judd 219 in J. Hewitt Judd’s United States Pattern Coins, and its pedigree traces back to 1870. It was even displayed as part of an exhibit at the American Numismatic Society in 1914.
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Flying Eagle and Indian cent expert Rick Snow helped catalog the Brewer Collection; many of its pieces have appeared in Snow’s books.
Brewer offered some lessons for collectors: look for unusual things that make a coin unique, seek out the finest known and look at true rarity, watch out for “gradeflation,” and don’t forget to have fun!
Keep Reading About Brewer’s collection of Flying Eagle pattern cents:
The catalog entry suggests that the golden hue to the surfaces indicates it is oroide, a mix of copper and tin: The eagle on this Judd 169 1855 Flying Eagle pattern for a large cent has a more pronounced muscularity and curved neck when compared to James B. Longacre’s design.
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