US Coins

Undated Classic Head cent, 30 percent off center

An undated AU-55 Classic Head cent struck 30 percent off center can be dated to 1808 because of a reverse die crack and die clash marks specific to the S-277 variety. It realized $6,462.50.

Images courtesy of Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers.

Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers had something for everyone at its Feb. 18 to 21 Pre-Long Beach Auction at its offices in Los Angeles. The Goldberg auctions always present a wide range of early American copper coins and this sale was no exception, with a strong group of large cents and half cents. The Green Tree Collection of early half cents was a standout, led by a 1793 Liberty Cap, Left half cent graded About Uncirculated 55 by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $34,075.

This early large cent from the Pre-Long Beach Auction showcases some of the challenges and opportunities in this collecting area.

The Lot:

Undated (1808) Classic Head cent, struck 30 percent off center, S-277, AU-55

The Price:


Who buried the Saddle Ridge Hoard?Exploring the source of a valuable hoard from the American Gold Rush era reveals almost endless possibilities. Also in this issue, what is a ‘full torch’ designation as it relates to coins?


The Story:

Few series have been studied as deeply as U.S. large cents, which have been scrutinized, not just for die pairings of obverse and reverse dies, but for die states within those dies. This allows discoveries like this undated Classic Head cent struck 30 percent off center to be dated to 1808 and attributed to the Sheldon 277 variety as listed in William H. Sheldon’s Early American Cents (later retitled Penny Whimsy).

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Though undated, it can be attributed as an early-to-middle die state of the S-277 variety because of the die crack through the D in UNITED on the reverse, and clear die clash marks on both sides. The Classic Head type of large cent was struck only between 1808 and 1814. This one, which the cataloger said was one of the best examples of this type of U.S. Mint error on a Classic Head cent he had seen, sold for $6,462.50.

Community Comments