US Coins

$47,000 1794 Liberty Cap cent in Goldberg sale

Liberty has a bit of a double chin on this 1794 Liberty Cap, Head of 1793 large cent graded MS-61 brown that sold for $47,000 on February 18.

Images courtesy of Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers.

Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers had something for everyone at its Feb. 18 to 21 Pre-Long Beach Auction at its offices in Los Angeles. The Goldberg auctions always present a wide range of early American copper coins and this sale was no exception, with a strong group of large cents and half cents. The Green Tree Collection of early half cents was a standout, led by a 1793 Liberty Cap, Left half cent graded About Uncirculated 55 by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $34,075.

This early large cent from the Pre-Long Beach Auction showcases some of the challenges and opportunities in this collecting area.


The Lot:

1794 Liberty Cap, Head of 1793 cent, Sheldon 18b, Mint State 61 brown

The Price:


The Story:

The top copper lot at the Goldbergs' auction was a 1794 Liberty Cap, Head of 1793 cent of the Sheldon 18b die marriage graded Mint State 61 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. that brought $47,000. Uncirculated copper coins are categorized broadly into three color groups — brown, red and brown, and red. Full red copper coins produced in the first decades of the Philadelphia Mint are prohibitively rare since copper naturally mellows over time. The offered coin is categorized as brown, but both sides display different color palates. The obverse is described as “frosty light to medium brown with microscopic specks of dark toning scattered over the lower half,” and the reverse is “frosty olive brown and chocolate with a couple small spots of lighter brown toning.”

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Many collectible Sheldon varieties of 1794 large cents exist, and many collectors focus on only this year. The Liberty on this variety closely resembles Joseph Wright’s portrait of Liberty from 1793, which is distinguished by a slight double chin.

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