How a 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain cent with several flaws can be a good ‘value’

Market Analysis: Stack’s Bowers presents Blue Moon Collection and Rarities Night sale
By , Coin World
Published : 04/30/17
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Off the market for nearly 40 years, a 1794 Flowing Hair dollar graded About Uncirculated 58+ by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker was a top lot at Stack’s Bowers Galleries Baltimore Expo auctions, realizing $910,625. It came from the Blue Moon Collection, which was especially strong in 19th and early 20th century Proof type coins and silver dollars, including an impressive group of Gobrecht dollars. While the Baltimore headlines were dominated by the final installment of the D. Brent Pogue Collection auctions, here are three more lots that represent the diversity and quality seen in the March 29 to 31 floor session auctions at the Baltimore Expo. 

Below is the third of three lots we profile from the Blue Moon Collection:

The Lot:

1793 Flowing Hair, Chain cent, Very Fine Details, Scratch

The Price:


The Story:

1793 Flowing Hair, Chain cents are tricky coins because they were often struck on less-than-perfect planchets.

Raised lines spark collector interestRaised lines spark collector interest: Inside Coin World: Raised lines and die gouges can create curious effects on coins. This week's Inside Coin World has plenty on the topic.

This example with Very Fine Details has a few issues. First, it has two parallel planchet flaws that run diagonally across the obverse from 3 to 6 o’clock. It also has a major die break that starts in the center and extends toward to the rim, running from the I in LIBERTY through the point of the bust of Liberty, which helps identify it as a Sheldon 4 variety. Both of these flaws are “as struck” — meaning that they were there when the coin was struck (though the planchet flaws may have become more pronounced over time, since copper is a reactive metal).

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The scratches came later and this large cent has several obverse scratches, especially in front of Liberty’s face.

For those willing to compromise, it offered strong detail, and as the description suggested, “You would be hard-pressed to find another cent that offers this much eye appeal for anywhere close to this price point,” concluding it is “perfect for a value conscious collector.” It sold for $8,225 where a “problem-free” example might bring $30,000.

See more coins from the Blue Moon Collection

This ‘unicorn of sorts’ Indian Head $5 half eagle sold for nearly a quarter of a million dollars:  Pogue sale aside, the Stack's Bowers Galleries Baltimore Expo is no stranger to a variety of rare coins. This 'unicorn' Indian Head $5 is a great example.

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