US Coins

Goldbergs sell 1794 Starred Reverse cent

An archive tracing the Eckfeldt family’s career at the U.S. Mint over two centuries and including a unique gold 1839 medal presented to Adam Eckfeldt upon his retirement from the U.S. Mint, several original presidential appointments and an 1803 Draped Bust gold $10 eagle graded Mint State 61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. brought $270,250 and topped bidding at Ira and Larry Goldberg’s June 4 to 7 pre-Long Beach auction. As is often seen at the Goldbergs’ auctions, large cents counted prominently among the top lots, including three that show the sustained demand for the rarest survivors from the first decades of the U.S. Mint.

Here’s one of the three large cent lots reviewed from the pre-Long Beach auction:

The Lot:

1794 Liberty Cap, Starred Reverse cent, S-48, Fine 12

The Price:


The Story:

The 1794 Liberty Cap, Starred Reverse cent is one of the most enigmatic productions of the early Philadelphia Mint. There are 94 tiny five-pointed stars between — and at times under — the dentils on the reverse. Examples continue to turn up, and today around 75 are known. Heritage offered a new discovery example in a 2006 auction that sold for $34,500. It would sell again in 2012 for $74,750.

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This same example, graded PCGS Fine 12, was offered again, this time by the Goldbergs in its pre-Long Beach auction where it realized $44,063.

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Like most well-circulated early large cents, it has positive elements, like handsome olive brown and steel color, with lighter chocolate brown toning on the reverse, along with its less desirable elements, such as microscopic roughness and a trace of verdigris — called “a speck of light green crud” — on the reverse. Still, nearly all of the tiny stars are still visible and the Goldberg cataloger wrote, “It appears it has never been brushed or ‘conserved’ in any way.”

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