US Coins

Heritage Auctions sale of United States coins tops $13 million

A 1792 Silver Center cent once part of the famed Norweb Collection realized $705,000 during Heritage Auctions' Sept. 4 to 6 sale of United States coins held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Show in California.

The $13,434,401 realized from the 4,364 coins offered includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won.

The 1792 Silver Center cent, Judd 1 as cataloged in United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd, edited by Q. David Bowers, is graded Mint State 61+ brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

While some other U.S. patterns were struck earlier in off-site facilities, the Silver Center cent is considered to be the first coin series struck within the confines of the newly established U.S. Mint in 1792. The cent pattern derives its name from its method of manufacture.

To create a less bulky coin yet one with intrinsic metal value of one cent, copper planchets were fashioned with a hole in the center, into which a silver plug was inserted. The conjoined planchet was then placed between coinage dies and struck. Had the concept been adopted, cent coins would have been smaller than the first pure copper cents were when actually struck for circulation in 1793.

The 1792 Silver Center cent realizing $705,000 was last offered by Heritage in its April 2013 Central States sale, where it realized $822,000.

Among other highlights from the Sept. 4 to 6 Long Beach auction sessions were a 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle quarter dollar, graded MS-65 by Professional Coin Grading Service, which realized $411,250, and an 1877 Small Head half union $50 pattern in copper gilt, Judd 1549a, in PCGS Secure Proof 63, which realized $176,250.

1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle quarter dollar

This quarter dollar is from a one-year type, with 6,146 coins reported to have been struck at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The coin sold is the Browning 2 variety as cataloged in Early Quarter Dollars of the United States Mint 1796-1838 by Rory R. Rea, Glenn Peterson, Bradley S. Karoleff, and John J. Kovach Jr.

The 1796 quarter dollars feature the Draped Bust obverse modeled from the work of Gilbert Stuart, and the Small Eagle reverse that would soon be replaced with a Heraldic Eagle design.

The total production includes the 5,894 coins struck in 1796, and 252 additional pieces coined in February 1797.

1877 half union pattern

The $50 patterns were struck in both Large Head and Small Head variants. One each was struck in gold — the Large Head coin, Judd 1546, and Small Head coin, Judd 1548, with a small number of copper examples of each design also produced — Judd 1547 (Large Head) and Judd 1549 (Small Head).

The just-sold Judd 1549a coin was gilt, but according to the Heritage auction lot description, “it is not clear if this was done at the Mint or later.”

For more information, visit Heritage Auctions online, telephone the firm at 800-872-6467 or 214-528-3500, or write the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941.

Complete prices realized from the sale can be found online.

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