Among the finest known of a popular variety, VF 1803 Draped Bust cent realizes $70,500

Market Analysis: Collectors continue to love early American copper coins
By , Coin World
Published : 06/28/17
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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:

1803 Draped Bust, Large Date, Small Fraction cent, S-264, Very Fine 25

The Price:


The Story:

The top large cent in the Goldbergs’ pre-Long Beach auction was this 1803 Draped Bust, Large Date, Small Fraction cent graded Very Fine 25 by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $70,500. Listed as Sheldon 264 in William H. Sheldon’s Penny Whimsy — the standard reference to the series — it is a popular “Red Book” variety.

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The moderately circulated cent has traded quite a bit over the past two decades, most recently at the September 2009 auction of the Dan Holmes Collection, where it sold for $25,300, so its June 4 result was a nice surprise for the consignor and auctioneer (but certainly not the underbidders).

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The description observes, “The surfaces appear smooth and the eye appeal is excellent, but a glass reveals fine granularity that covers the planchet, strongest in the fields on the reverse,” adding that there is no verdigris and that the date is bold and the legends are clear. It is among the finest known of the popular variety.

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