1792 Silver Center cent pattern, among the finest known, realizes $900,000

Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts Rarities Night auction in Baltimore
By , Coin World
Published : 11/22/17
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Classic rarities and collector favorites topped bidding at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Nov. 9 Rarities Night auction as part of its official auctions of the final 2017 Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. 

The top lot was a famed 1792 Silver Center cent pattern graded Mint State 61 brown by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green sticker from Certified Acceptance Corp. indicating quality within the grade that brought $900,000. It is counted among the finest of 14 examples known, with the silver plug in the center of the coin representing an attempt to make a cent coin with a cent’s worth of metal in it, while still maintaining a manageable size. 


Mysterious zinc cent discovered in antique store. A 1982 Lincoln cent and cent blanks encased in acrylic are possibly employees’ souvenirs from when the Ball Corp. began supplying the Mint with cent planchets.


It was consigned by the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation and last sold at auction at Heritage’s 2012 Central States Numismatic Society auction where it realized $1,150,000. The provenance in its most recent offering noted that it traded between dealers John Albanese, Kevin Lipton and Anthony Terranova prior to its acquisition by the foundation.

Another consignment from the foundation was the finest known 1794 Flowing Hair half dollar of the Overton 105 die marriage, graded About Uncirculated 58+ by PCGS, that brought $252,000. Curiously, it was last offered at auction at Bowers and Merena’s August 2010 Boston Rarities Sale where — then also offered as property from the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation and then graded Mint State 62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. — it realized $189,750. 

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The Stack’s Bowers description observes, “Satiny surfaces are dressed in rich steel-olive patina, the luster virtually complete. Splashes of reddish-orange color are evident along the right obverse and reverse borders, direct lighting also calling forth iridescent undertones of antique gold and blue-gray.” In recognizing the potential bidder confusion stemming from its prior offering in an MS-62 holder, the description adds, “With nearly full luster and virtually complete striking detail, this coin has the appearance of Mint State quality.” 

Another early highlight was the only known Mint State 1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle silver dollar of the Bowers-Borckardt 72 die marriage, graded PCGS MS-64, that realized $264,000. The variety is the only die marriage of the 9 by 7 Stars obverse (where there are nine stars to the left of Liberty and seven on the right) with the small letters reverse, and is a distinct variety listed in the “Red Book” (A Guide Book of United States Coins). It previously sold at Heritage’s Eric P. Newman Collection, Part II sale, in November 2013, for $381,875, with the more recent result perhaps providing a cautionary tale in the dangers of reoffering a rare coin too soon at auction. 

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