US Coins

Fabulous half cents headline Goldberg sale

The Green Tree Collection of United States Half Cents will headline Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers’ Feb. 18 to 21 Pre-Long Beach Auction at its offices in Los Angeles.

The auction kicks off with three 1793 Liberty Cap, Left half cents, representing three of the four distinctive Cohen varieties for this year as listed in American Half Cents: The “Little Half Sisters” by Roger S. Cohen Jr. The total mintage of 1793 half cents is recorded at just 35,334 pieces, and examples are in demand from both half cent aficionados and type set collectors.

In 1968, everything changed”1968 shifted the landscape of coin collecting in America, with a return of Mint marks and a new Proof set. Also inside this issue, we discover what the term “fine style” means.

The first of the three, cataloged as the Cohen 1 die marriage, is graded About Uncirculated 50 by Professional Coin Grading Service. The variety shows “beautiful glossy medium brown and light chocolate with slightly darker steel brown toning on the highest points of the devices,” with the only notable marks being a couple of small rim nicks before Liberty’s face. It was last offered at an October 2012 Heritage auction where, then carrying a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the grade, it sold for $41,125.

The C-1 variety is noteworthy as the first half cent struck at the Philadelphia Mint and as Heritage noted in 2012, “For that reason it is clearly the most important variety among all 1793 half cents.”

The Green Tree Collection’s Cohen 2 1793 Liberty Cap half cent is graded PCGS Extremely Fine 40 and features “attractive glossy medium brown and chocolate with darker steel brown toning on the highpoints.” Two thin, shallow planchet lamination streaks are seen on the cap and in the field below. These were inherent to the planchet when the coin was struck, but the description notes that these imperfections, along with some other small marks, are not distracting and the half cent offers solid eye appeal overall.

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It was previously offered at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’s March 2015 Baltimore auction where — then graded EF-40 by ANACS — it sold for $16,450. There it was described as presenting “an impressive eyeful of quality.”

The highest graded of the trio of 1793 half cents is the Cohen 3 marriage, graded PCGS AU-55 and exhibiting “frosty medium olive brown and steel with lighter steel brown and tan toning in the protected areas.” The description observes the originality of the surfaces, writing, “It appears this piece has never been brushed or ‘improved’ in any way.”

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