US Coins

Market Analysis: Struck from a shattered die

Struck from a shattered obverse die, this S-35 1794 Liberty Cap cent graded AU-50 by PCGS is among the finest examples of this variety and sold for $66,000.

Images courtesy of Early Cents Auctions.

Part of the charm of early large cents is that one sees the evidence of the effort that went into making them. Lot 511 in the Early Cents Auctions offering of the exceptional Del & Larry Bland Collection of 1794 Cents was an 1794 Liberty Cap cent of the Sheldon 35 variety struck from a late die state of a shattered die, with strong die cracks on the obverse.

Graded About Uncirculated 50 by Professional Coin Grading Service, it is graded Very Fine 35 under the more conservative Early American Copper evaluation. It is tied with another as the finest of the variety available to collectors, safely behind a finer example in the American Numismatic Society’s holdings in the overall condition census.

Its provenance goes back to an old collection in Australia that was offered in 1965 by Empire Coin Company, a firm run by Q. David Bowers and James F. Ruddy. It later spent time in the Naftzger, Paschal, Husack and Boka collections, among others, and its most recent auction appearance was in Heritage’s September 2016 sale of the Larry A. Bland Collection where it sold for $64,625. In Austin, it improved on that result slightly realizing $66,000.

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