US Coins

Collector reports eighth known 1798 NC-2 cent

A Canadian collector has found what ANACS has authenticated and graded as just the eighth-known example of the 1798 Draped Bust cent, Sheldon Noncollectible 2 variety.

The attribution is based on William H. Sheldon’s 1793 to 1814 cent reference, Penny Whimsy.

The example that the collector found was recently encapsulated by ANACS as Style 1 Hair, Very Good 8 Details, Corroded. 

The collector wishes to remain anonymous.

Some large cent collectors assemble collections according to Sheldon numbers, which identify different obverse and reverse die marriages. The book catalogs hundreds of die marriages and additional ones have been found since its publication decades ago. Most of the die marriages are assigned a “Sheldon number,” as in Sheldon 1 or S-1, but a small number of large cent marriages are known by so few examples that they are attributed as noncollectible, or NC, based on Early American Coppers analysis.

Several of these noncollectible varieties are unique, held in museum collections and unavailable to collectors.

The latest discovery is identified as the eighth known NC-2 1798 coin, based on a census kept by William C. Noyes in United States Large Cents 1798-1801. The NC-2 1798 Draped Bust cent is given a rarity rating of R-7, which, according to the Sheldon reference’s rarity ratings, pegs the surviving population at four to 12 coins.

The Canadian collector said he purchased the coin unattributed from a dealer’s stock about a year ago at a coin show in southern California and then determined it to be a candidate for the die marriage. The collector said he had the coin examined by noted large cent dealer and specialist Jack Beymer at the Southern California show, who confirmed his identification of the variety.

At the Jan. 9 to 13 Florida United Numismatists Convention in Orlando, ANACS representatives showed the cent to Noyes and large cent dealer Tom Reynolds from Early American Coin Gallery LLC in Omaha, Nebraska. ANACS senior numismatist and grader Michael Fahey said the rare variety was encapsulated immediately after the FUN convention. Fahey said the coin was taken to the show raw so it could be examined by copper specialists.

The NC-2 1798 Draped Bust cent is described in the Sheldon reference as being struck with Obverse 15-M. The obverse die is distinguished by letters of the word LIBERTY being widely and evenly spaced (and it is the widest representation of LIBERTY for the date). The digits in the date are closely and evenly spaced. A heavy rim break from above the E slants downward, touching the top of RTY, then up to the rim a short distance right of the Y. The dentils along the rim between the T and Y are visible.

1936 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse centInside Coin World: 1917 and 1936 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cents: Among the columns and features exclusive to the Feb. 11 issue of Coin World is “Coin Values Spotlight,” which this week focuses on two Lincoln, Doubled Die cents.

Reynolds says that seven of the eight known NC-2 1798 cents are late die state pieces and exhibit the die break diagnostic while a lone example does not carry any evidence of the die break. The non die-break piece was identified using other markers, such as the positioning and spacing of the letters and numbers, Reynolds said.

On the Reverse M used in the marriage, the fraction bar is short and square at the ends. The denominator is wide with the first 0 low. Right stems points between the feet of A, left to the bottom of U. AMERICA shows extremely wide spacing. Six berries are on the left branch. The leaf to the left of the C in CENT is distant from the back of the C and cuts off the right foot of the T.

While ANACS encapsulated the Canadian collector’s coin VG Details, Corroded, Reynolds said by Early American Coppers grading standards he assessed the coin as Net Good 4.

Several of the 1798 NC-2 variety have appeared over the past decade or so at public auction.

 An example graded Good 4 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. realized $5,280 in a Sept. 8, 2017, Heritage Auctions sale. Another NGC Good 4 example realized $14,100 in a Sept. 6, 2012, Heritage sale. A price of $3,055 was realized in the same 2012 sale for an example certified by Professional Coin Grading Service as Genuine, Very Good Details, Environmental Damage.

An example that was in Reynolds’ large cent collection when it was sold at public auction Jan. 31, 2016, by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers realized $15,000. It was offered as PCGS VG-10. 

The Canadian collector who owns the eighth known NC-2 1798 Draped Bust cent says he will eventually sell his coin, but has no specific timetable for when to do so. 

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