US Coins

1856 Flying Eagle cent in appealing VG-10 grade

The Very Good 10 grade is a bit tricky. It’s obviously nicer than Very Good 8, with more details remaining, but falls short of the traditional Fine 12 grade.

In terms of pricing, choice Very Good coins trade at a premium to VG-8 examples and often approach Fine price levels, depending on the eye appeal. 

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This 1856 Flying Eagle cent graded VG-10 by Professional Coin Grading Service brought $9,000 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Aug. 15 Rarities Night auction at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.

The obverse detail falls short of the traditional definition of Fine, which requires that the eagle’s head details and feather tips are sharp. The cataloger observed, “Well worn, as befits the assigned grade, yet retaining full outline definition to all devices. We even note some bolder detail in the protected areas of the eagle’s plumage and within the reverse wreath.” 

Although the 1856 Flying Eagle cent is often categorized a pattern issue, as many as 2,000 are believed to have been struck and examples are popularly collected among regular issues as the first small-sized cent. This one traded on par with comparable Fine 12 examples that have sold at recent auctions.

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