Posts Tagged ‘large cents’





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Congratulations Dan, you have managed to accomplish something that all who love and collect large cents can share and enjoy with you into the future.  Your perseverance over the last 35 years has resulted in an historical “first” for the coin collecting community on the whole, and particularly, for large cent collectors everywhere.  To further distinguish your accomplishment, you compiled your collection by what we will call the “old school approach” of untiring patience in your search, meticulousness in your purchases, and all done with an “eye” for unwavering quality in your choice of copper.  Your assembling the most complete set of Early Date US Large Cents in history is an event that will go down in numismatic history as one of the foremost events in our hobby.   

Not only has Dan brought together all 302 Sheldon varieties in the early date years (1793-1814) in a single collection, but even more remarkably, he has managed to couple that with bringing together all 53 of the NC (noncollectible) varieties as well.  Dan was able to obtain all of the noncollectible varieties but one.  Through the generosity of the ANS, they have loaned to Dan that single unique coin, the 1793 NC-5, through his September auction to make it possible to display, and for collectors to view, a complete set by Sheldon number of United States Early Date Large Cents for the first time.   This display contains all 355 varieties including the NC varieties of this remarkable era in our Early American history.  What an amazing triumph!

The extent of Dan’s accomplishment has further been amplified by Bob Grellman when he noted that there are probably two dozen coins in this early date large cent collection whose rarity exceeds both the 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel!!  Another remarkable accomplishment!

And, there are over 50 coins listed as finest known for the variety, or condition census pieces including many of those described below. 

The sale will take place September 6, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills at 1:00 PM with auctioneers Larry and Ira Goldberg in collaboration with Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman, The Copper SpecialistThis continues to be a phenomal team for bringing high quality large cent auctions to the cutting edge for both collector and investor.  We owe these gentlemen a great deal of gratidue in bringing us these landmark events.  Thanks to you and you hard working staffs gentlemen! 

We will mention a few highlights of the auction to further heighten your interest.  We will give you the PCGS grade as well as McCawley and Grellman’s grade (The Copper Specialists/EAC grade).  

Let’s begin with Lot 128, the legendary 1795 Reeded Edge Sheldon-79.  This Holmes coin is the finest of 8 known examples (R7+).  Even through the grade assigned by PCGS is only VG-10, the Reeded Edge is clear and strong with the exception of a small area over the S-OF-A where it is weak or missing.  McCawley & Grellman give the coin a VG-10 designation.  To help put this particular coin in perspective, a G-4 with heavy wear brought $402,500 (lot #1143) in the Nov. 20, 2008, Bowers and Merena auction in Baltimore.  What will be the final hammer for this exceptional treasure, one of the most famous coins in the collection?

Probably considered to be the most valuable coin in the collection is Lot 352.  This is the extraordinary Mint State 1799 Sheldon-189 (Normal Date).  It is the only Certified Mint State coin of that year.   It has been graded MS-62 BN by NGC.   It is the superior coin for that year by a wide margin, the runner-up being a VF-30 example housed in the ANS Museum.  Catalogers McCawley & Grellman give the coin an AU-55 designation.  This is the “must-have” coin for anyone assembling a registry set of mint state large cents!

Lot 3 is another amazing coin.  It is the second finest 1793 Sheldon-2 Chain America graded MS-63 BN by PCGS.  It ranks as an R4+.  This copper has incredibly well defined hair detail and magnificent surfaces beaming with luster.  McCawley and Grellman assign this coin a grade of AU-55 due to the light friction on the highest points.

Lot 5 is another Chain America, the 1793 Sheldon-3, which is the Levick Plate Coin.  It is an R3- and graded MS 63 BN by PCGS.  McCawley and Grellman assign this coin a grade of AU-50+. 

Lot 7 is the Unique 1793 Strawberry with One Cent Centered, NC-2, R8+, graded by PCGS as Fair 2.  This is the Levick-Crosby Plate Coin. McCawley and Grellman assign this coin a grade of Fair-2+.  An extraordinary coin!

Lot 8, also a 1793 NC-3 Strawberry Leaf Wreath Cent with the ONE CENT High is one of only three known and is referred to as the “Common Strawberry”.   PCGS graded this coin as Good-4 with which McCawley and Grellman  concur.  The finest known example is a VG-7 (EAC grade) which sold for $862,500 as lot #51 in the January 5, 2009, Stack’s auction in Orlando.  This set a record  price paid for a large cent.  Will it stand or fall during the Holmes auction?

Accordingly, in a single collection, Dan has assembled two of the four known examples of the Strawberry Leaf Wreath Cent.

Lot 9 is a Prooflike 1793 S-5 (R4) Wreath Cent with Large Date and Liberty.   This is simply a near flawless Wreath Cent.  The coin is sharply struck and has reflective prooflike surfaces.  PCGS graded this coin MS-65 BN while McCawley and Grellman assign it a grade of MS-63 prooflike.  NGC had graded the coin as Specimen-65 BN.  This is simply another amazing coin in Dan’s collection.  Auction estimates are $150,000-UP!

Lot 79 is yet another spectacular and popular coin for the large cent collector.  It is the attractive high condition census 1794 Sheldon-48  (R5) Starred Reverse graded by PCGS as VF-30.  A very rare coin indeed in this grade!  McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of VF-25.  In Dan’s example, all 94 stars are clearly visible and reflect the quality of this great collection.  Someone will walk away with a pristine example of this popular variety.  Once again, auction estimates are $150,000-UP!

Lot 1 is the American Classic 1793 Sheldon-1 (R4) Chain Ameri. graded by PCGS as AU-58.  This coin represents one of the finest known of this variety.  Graded AU-55 by McCawley and Grellman, this is a true American Classic.

Lot 24 is the Finest Known Bisected Obverse 1793 Sheldon-14, a R5 and residing in an AU-53 PCGS holder.  McCawley and Grellman give this coin a grade of EF-45.  With an estimate of $100,000 and UP, given the exquisite nature and rank of the coin, this is surely a figure which will be exceeded.

As we continue, Lot 31 is another remarkable mint state large cent.  This lot is the lustrous 1794 Sheldon-18b, Head of 1793 with Edge of 1794 and is a R4.  PCGS graded this coin as MS-63 (tied for the finest they have graded) whereas McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of MS-60.  Estimated value for this coin is $100,000.

Lot 74 is the Finest Known 1794 Sheldon-45 (R5+), and the finest by a wide margin.   There is no roughness or planchet flaws on this coin which is from the Oswald group of mint state early dates.  PCGS graded the coin MS-65 RB, and McCawley and Grellman concur.  An absolutely beautiful specimen with an auction estimate of $100,000 and UP.

Lot 95 is a Gem 1794 Sheldon-59 (R3-), another Oswald coin graded MS 66 RB by PCGS.  McCawley and Grellman give the coin a grade of MS 65+ and note that it is certainly one of the finest 1794 cents of any die variety.  An incredible gem in all respects as well as being from the famous Oswald collection.   An auction estimate of $100,000 and UP.

Lot 101 is a Choice Mint State 1794 Sheldon-64 with Missing Fraction Bar, graded MS-64 RB by PCGS with an R5- rating.  McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of MS-63 to this choice steel brown coin with ample mint red color remaining.   Another coin with an auction estimate of $100,000 and UP.  Surely a true rarity with a PCGS population of 1 and none finer at PCGS for the variety.

Lot 185 is a Gem 1796 Draped Bust Sheldon-110 with an R3+ rating and graded MS-66 BN by PCGS and MS 65 by McCawley and Grellman.  Tremendous coin, possessing highly lustrous steel brown surfaces which have eloquently faded from the underlying mint red color which still remains strong in the protected areas.  An incredible gem which makes the large cent enthusiast gasps for breath and weak at the knees.

Lot 531 is the Unique Certified Mint State 1804 Sheldon-266c Large Cent graded MS-63 BN by PCGS with an R2 rarity rating.  This is the Sheldon Plate Coin.  McCawley and Grellman assign a grade of AU-58.  It is worth reading the description of this coin to understand the disparity in grade.  In any event, this is the finest known in both census lists.  This coin is a true prize for the most discerning collector of Early American Coppers.

Finally, also offeredd in this sale is the Unique Sheldon-Holmes Color Set.  This set consist of 6 Colonials and 60 Large Cents assembled by Dr. Sheldon and sold intact to Dan in 1976.   Auction estimate is $20,000-UP.  

We all eagerly await September 6, 2009 to learn the outcome of his historical sale.

We also wish Dan the very best and look forward to the remaining three sales in 2010.

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There are reportedly a hundred mints in China rapidly producing counterfeit United States coins that are  infiltrating our borders hoping to find a home with some unsuspecting  US collector.  Most of these coins are coming from the two southern Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.  This problem has been going at an ever increasing rate since the end of 2007 and earlier.  However, now that the Chinese have technology and minting presses from the US,  this problem will force us to a “New Educational Level” to prevent and protect collectors and dealers from buying these worthless reproductions of our historic numismatic past. 

The Chinese are busy making everything from Colonials, Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents, Buffalo Nickels, Standing Liberty Quarters, Morgan, Peace and Trade Dollars, all dominations of Gold coins and paper money.  Their technology is rapidly is improving rapidly improving as well as mastering the color of our early copper coins. 

One of their newest entries is the production of “error coins”,  an area in which they know very well the passion US collectors have for these unique items.   And to be honest, they are getting better and better at producing these counterfeits.  The machinery they are using is becoming, if not already, state of the art.  Their dies are improving, the strikes are improving and with copper coins, they are moving rapidly to getting the color right.

To make life a little more complicated, the Chinese have now introduced counterfeit PCGS and NGC holders into our marketplace.  At present, it appears that these counterfeit holders, as you would expect, contain counterfeit coins, however, that is likely to change in the near future if it hasn’t already.  At some point they will be putting authentic over-graded coins in these holders.  For example, an AU-50 1909 S VDB in a PCGS or NGC holder graded MS 63.  Or just as easily it could be a Fine 1877 Indian Head Cent graded EF 40 or EF 45.  The point is that there is a lot of money to be made by using this combination of authentic coin and counterfeit holder.  Grade inflation is already a major problem as we continue to evolve within the arena of market grading.

I guess these events reminds us all that it wise to buy the coin and not the holder…..buy the book,  then the coin.  In this case, buy a good book on  detecting counterfeit coins (see book list below).  Our best protection regarding these commonly counterfeit rarities is to know the die characteristic of the  authentic coin and not worry so much about what the counterfeit coin looks like.  If you are looking at a 1909 S VDB Lincoln and the “S” mint mark does not have the characteristics of the authentic “S”…..you most likely have a bad coin.  There are exceptions.  Some counterfeiters have been able to duplicate the “S” mint mark on the 1909 S VDB Lincoln so secondary characteristics of the die are required.  Don’t depend on one particular die characteristic but look at two or three to be conclusive.   Know what the real coin looks like  and have a good reference library and you will be able to discard as many counterfeits as they through your way.   Just remember, a second opinion is always important when dealing with counterfeits.  Fine a dealer you can work with and that you have confidence in to help you. 

The best people to help you are people that have had extensive interactions (on site classes) with the ANA (Colorado Springs), the ANS (New York City), Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG), NLG (Numismatic Literary Guild), professional grading services such as PCGS, NGC and ANACS.  These are the people with the greatest amount of experience that can help you the most.

Upcoming educational events on the topic of Chinese Counterfeit coins.

Facing the Chinese Counterfeiting Threat – August 4, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; August 5, 1-5 p.m. Counterfeit coins and slabs made in the People’s Republic of China are pouring into the marketplace in unprecedented numbers. Access to Western technology means that the counterfeiters are able to produce high-quality fakes. In this two-day seminar, learn to protect yourself by becoming a smart online customer, and learn how to use simple, inexpensive tools to authenticate your own coins. Instructors: Susan Headley, numismatic journalist and counterfeit expert; Beth Deisher, editor, Coin World; and Dr. Gregory Dubay, noted Chinese counterfeit expert.
ANA Member Price: $149 through July 1; $169 after.

Links to Coin World articles describing the Chinese Counterfeit activity can be found on the Web through Google. 


 1.  Fivaz, Bill; United States Gold.  Counterfeit Detection Guide.     Whitman Publishing , LLC, 3101 Clairmont Road, Suite C, Atlanta, GA  30329. (2005)

2.  Official Guide to Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection. Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Staff.  Second Edition.  (2004)

3.  Larson, Charles M.; Numismatic Forgery.  (2004)

4.  Fivaz, Bill; Counterfeit Detection Guide.  (2001)

5.  Counterfeit Detection: A Reprint from the Numismatist, Vol I.  American Numismatic Association, Box 2366,  Colorado Springs, CO 80901. (1983)

6.  Counterfeit Detection: A Reprint from the Numismatist, Vol II.  American Numismatic Association, 818 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. (1988)

7.  Hancock, Virgil; Spanbauer, Larry; Standard Catalog of Counterfeit and Altered United States Coins. Sanford J. Durst, Numismatic Publications, New York, N.Y. (1979)

8.  Devine, John; Detecting Counterfeit Gold Coins, Book II; Heigh-Ho Printing Co., 3477 Old Conejo Road C-7, Newbury Park, CA 91320. (1977; Sixteenth Printing in 1980)

9.  Taxay, Don; Counterfeit & Unofficial Misstruck U.S. Coins.  (1976)

10. Devine, John; Detecting Counterfeit Coins, Book I; Heigh-Ho Printing Co., 3477 Old Conejo Road, Newbury Park, CA 91320. (1975)

11. Dieffenbacher, Alfred; Counterfeit Gold Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Fully Illustrated); Dieffenbackher Coin BTD.  Montreal, Canada.  (1963)

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