US Coins

Market Analysis: When a planchet defect is not unusual

The 1793 Liberty Cap, Left half cent is in demand as a one-year type and the first representative of the denomination struck for circulation. 

Collectors can be a bit more forgiving with some problems for early U.S. coins, especially for copper half cents and large cents. Heritage offered a 1793 Liberty Cap half cent graded Extremely Fine 40 by Professional Coin Grading Service and listed as Cohen 1 in American Half Cents, the Little Half Sisters, which die studies indicate is the first die pair used to strike half cents.

It realized $12,600 at Heritage’s Summer Florida United Numismatists auction in Orlando July 11. 

It has solid details and a nice chocolate brown color, but Heritage notes planchet flaws on each side, writing, “The obverse has a line of lamination from the nose to the border, and the reverse has a patch of lamination inside the lower right part of the wreath.”

PCGS defines a lamination as “a planchet defect originating when a portion of the coin metal separates from itself due to impurities or internal stresses,” adding, “Lamination flaws occur primarily when foreign materials or gas oxide become trapped within the planchet.”

PCGS will not grade a coin with a peeling lamination since the metal could become detached from the coin during the sealing process, but grading services can be more forgiving for established planchet defects on early copper U.S. coins, since collectors expect them to a certain extent. 

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