US Coins

Market Analysis: History at an accessible price point

An 1802 Draped Bust large cent with the mark of L. Alden sold for $65, while an 1801 Draped Bust large cent with an E. Brainard stamp on both sides sold for $89.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

One of the charms of counterstamped coins is that they can be available at modest price levels. The Partrick Collection of counterstaped coins, offered in a Jan. 3 online session, had several examples that sold for less than $100, including these two large cents.

An 1802 Draped Bust large cent carries a bar-shaped punch reading L. ALDEN, with the host coin grading About Good and the counterstamp grading choice Very Fine. The details and location of the issuer remain unknown, but six examples of the punch are known on early large cents, including the offered one, which brought $65.

Another handsome piece was an About Good 1801 Draped Bust large cent serving as a host coin to a Very Fine counterstamp reading E. BRAINARD that realized $89. Heritage writes, “The counterstamp appears on both obverse and reverse,” calling it, “an interesting mark, both in letter style and potential attribution,” and concluding, “To our knowledge, the issuer remains unknown.” The four existing examples of the punch range on coins dated from 1801 to 1851, and these merchant punches are an area that remain ripe for research.

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