US Coins

Market Analysis: Rarities can be found at ‘entry-level’ prices

A 1795 Liberty Cap, Jefferson Head cent graded Very Good Details, Excessive Corrosion by PCGS provided an entry level example of this rare private issue, realizing $14,400 on June 18.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

Some coins are expensive in all grades, so a collector has to make some compromises if they want to add one to a collection while still being budget-conscious. A 1795 Liberty Cap, Jefferson Head cent is not a regular U.S. Mint issue but has long been collected with the early large cent series and is listed as Sheldon 80 in Penny Whimsy and is included alongside large cents in the “Red Book.” These cents were coined privately by John Harper with the hopes of securing him a coining contract. The nickname “Jefferson Head” emerged in the mid-19th century.

Nearly all survivors are highly circulated and this one, graded Very Good Details, Excessive Corrosion by Professional Coin Grading Service, has legible details, especially on the obverse. Stack’s Bowers Galleries observes, “Although far from perfect, this coin retains complete outline detail to the obverse portrait with some sharper definition remaining to many of the individual strands of hair.”

It brought $14,400 on June 18. It sold two years earlier at the firm’s June 2018 Baltimore Auction for the exact same amount.

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