US Coins

Why this 1846 Coronet cent is 'controversial'

Stack's Bowers Galleries offered Part III of The Twin Leaf Collection of United States Large Cents on Nov. 3 as part of its Baltimore Expo auctions.

The U.S. Mint started minting large cents for circulation in 1793 with three design types coined that year. Production would stop when no 1815-dated cents were struck and resume in 1816. Coronet cents dated between 1816 and 1839 are considered “Middle Date” while those from 1840 to 1857 are “Late Date.”

The November offering of 233 lots consisted of the collector’s duplicates, but there were many notable coins even in these extras. Here is the third of three we're profiling in this week's Market Analysis.

The Lot:

1846 Coronet cent, Uncirculated Details, Questionable Color

The Price:


The Story:

Collectors love Mint State copper coins to have as much original Mint red color as possible. Sometimes, people will enhance a coin to simulate an original Mint red bloom. Much like with improper cleaning — where there can be a clear difference between obviously cleaned and obviously original, but a vast gray area in between — a “Questionable Color” designation is sometimes challenged.

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PCGS graded this 1846 Coronet cent, Newcomb 19, Uncirculated Details, Questionable Color, but Stack’s Bowers notes that, while it has “somewhat subdued mahogany and faded tan with pale blue overtones seen at a certain angle to the light,” the auctioneers conclude, “we firmly believe that the color is original if a trifle unusual.”

Coronet cent

Coronet cent: The increasing sophistication of minting technology was a godsend for production, but it all but eliminated significant die varieties on U.S. coins, including the Late Date Coronet cents of 1840 through 1857. How much are Coronet cents worth?

The “controversial” large cent, which was offered in 1954 as part of Stack’s sale of the Charles J. Dupont Collection, sold for a modest $705 on Nov. 3.

Keep reading this Twin Leaf Collection Market Analysis:

1835 Coronet centThis recently sold Middle Date cent is among the finest known of its variety: Early American copper collectors are passionate, and “large cents in particular are frequently studied in great detail by their most serious audience.”

1835 Coronet centThis 1818 Coronet cent one of Twin Leaf Collection’s many great options for new collectors: Many of the coins in the offering sold for less than $500, making the collection a great place for a collector to start.

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