Early large cents to headline 2022 Heritage January FUN sale
- Published: Jul 20, 2021, 9 AM
Even though the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auctions don’t get started until mid-August, Heritage has already announced a lead consignment for its 2022 January Florida United Numismatists convention auction in Orlando: the Arizona Collection of U.S. Large Cents.
Heritage wrote, “A discerning eye taking advantage of important opportunities led to the formation of The Arizona Collection of United States Large Cents, a special collection named after the home state of the shrewd collectors who assembled it. The trove features more than 150 coins, mostly within the Condition Census for their individual varieties.”
A 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain, AMERICA cent once in the collection of Dan Holmes is graded Mint State 64 brown by Professional Coin Grading Service and has a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality for the grade. When offered at Ira & Larry Goldberg’s 2009 Holmes auction it was graded MS-63 brown by PCGS and realized $402,500 on an estimate of $150,000 and up. That cataloger observed on the Sheldon 2 Chain cent, “The surfaces are lustrous and show only a trace of very light friction on the highest points. The only marks are a thin nick-like planchet void in the field under the chin, a tiny nick on the bottom of the 7 in the date, and microscopic roughness caused by tiny planchet flakes in the field off the bust tip.”
The 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain cent is well-known as the first cent struck broadly for circulation. The profile of Liberty, which some have suggested looks frightened, was replaced with a more refined Flowing Hair version later in the year with a Wreath reverse.
Among finest 1794 ‘Starred Reverse’ cents
Another exciting large cent in the upcoming sale is an S-48 1794 Flowing Hair, Wreath, “Starred Reverse” cent graded Very Fine 35 by PCGS, which notes on the slab that it is the Chapman Discovery Coin. It was sold by Heritage in a September 2016 auction of the Al Boka Collection where that cataloger noted, “Lovely olive and chocolate-brown surfaces host a few scattered marks and faint hairlines that have no effect on this cent’s beauty or importance. The strike is sharp and well-centered, and every individual star is fully visible.”
Today it’s considered one of the finest known, as the 70-some survivors are often found struck on poor-quality planchets and in low grades.
The “Starred Reverse” cent gets its name from the 94 small stars that mingle with the border dentils on the reverse with an isolated extra berry positioned above the berry at AM of AMERICA. Heritage explains, “According to numismatic lore, the Chapman Brothers were examining large cents in 1877 while Dr. Edward Maris observed. Henry [Chapman] stated: ‘Here is a die with minute stars around the reverse.’ Maris confirmed that the variety was previously unknown.” The exact reason behind the stars, which are seen on only this reverse die, is debated, with some thinking they held a symbolic meaning and others believing they were the result of a bit of whimsey at the Philadelphia Mint. Regardless, today it is among the best-known early American large cents.
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