Looking at the high points of a major, multi-consignor auction often
reveals many of the same types of rare and expensive coins: 1879 and
1880 Stella gold $4 patterns, rare Carson City and New Orleans Mint
Coronet $20 double eagles, flashy $50 Panama-Pacific International
Exhibition commemorative coins. But looking within the sale often
reveals more about the market, and its depth.
Here is one of my favorite coins that was offered at Heritage’s U.S.
coin auctions held Jan. 3 to 8 at the Florida United Numismatists
convention in Tampa:
1792 Roman Head “cent,” Proof 8.
Among the most popular of the many different types of issues struck
in England depicting George Washington is the 1792 “cent” that bears
what is popularly called the Roman Head design. John Gregory Hancock
is believed to have engraved the dies, and the pieces were struck in
Proof format at the Birmingham Mint for collectors. Today around 20
are known and Heritage offered the sole example to show heavy wear,
graded Proof 8 by Professional Coin Grading Service.
Collectors’ Clearinghouse author Mike Diamond
identifies a new kind of error.
Also inside this issue, protecting your paper money collection
from mold and advice for participating in online auctions.
Heritage traces its provenance back to William E. Woodward’s sale
of the Holland Collection in November 1878 where a piece was offered
that was “taken from circulation” in “fair condition.” Researcher
Walter Breen wrote in his 1988 Complete Encyclopedia that the engraver
depicted Washington “as a degenerate, effeminate Roman emperor.”
Connect with Coin World:
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Follow us on Twitter
Yet, the depiction of Washington in the style of a Roman official is
not uncommon and was likely intended to convey strength. The evenly
circulated piece, which has long been called a cent though it was
never meant to circulate, has a lettered edge reading UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA. It sold for $18,000, providing a wonderful entry-level example.