The fact that a unique coin does not necessarily have to be an
expensive coin was born out in Heritage’s recent auctions at the
Denver American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money when a
uniface error realized well under $1,000.
The coin is an 1831 Matron Head, Medium Letters cent with a normal
obverse and a blank reverse — a form of error coin called a uniface
piece. The error resulted when two planchets were fed into the coining
press at the same time. Two uniface errors would have been created,
each unique, with one bearing a blank obverse face and normal reverse
face, and the subject coin with the mirror opposite configuration.
The reverse face of this piece, while lacking design elements, does
feature incused regions opposite the raised areas on the obverse,
including a central depression opposite the portrait of Liberty.
The fallout from the Enhanced Uncirculated Coin
Another column in the August 21 weekly issue of Coin World reveals
that while forms of numismatic literature like fixed-price lists
were meant to be fleeting, they can actually be quite useful.
As with all striking errors, uniface errors are generally unique in
that they are not die varieties but instead are the product of an
entirely random event occurring at the moment of striking.
The coin bears the obverse used for the Newcomb 2 and Newcomb 3 die
marriages as cataloged by Howard Newcomb in United States Copper
Cents, 1816–1857. According to the cataloger in the Heritage
auction, “The obverse is the die that was used to create N-2 and N-3,
both Medium Letters varieties despite the Large Letters designation
that PCGS has assigned.” The exact variety cannot be determined
because of the lack of the reverse design, which would identify the
specific reverse die and thus the die marriage.
Connect with Coin World:
up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on
us on Twitter
Professional Coin Grading Service assigned a grade of Very Fine 35
to the coin, a strong indication that the lack of a reverse design did
not deter the coin’s use in circulation. The coins has an Early
American Coppers grade of Very Fine 20. Members of EAC, a club for
collectors of pre-U.S. Mint copper coins and of half cents and large
cents struck by the Philadelphia Mint, use somewhat different criteria
for grading large cents than the major grading services do.
The catalog description notes “Light corrosion appears on the
dappled brown and steel surfaces of this error large cent.”
The coin realized $646.20 in the auction, showing that an error with
a spectacular appearance can sell for a price that is within the
affordability range for many collectors.