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1793 1C Strawberry Leaf Good 4 PCGS. NC-3, B-15, Low R.8. Also, Pollock-17. Our EAC Grade Good 4. ...

2014 January 10 The Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection FUN Signature Auction - Orlando #1200

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Auction Ended On: Jan 10, 2014
Item Activity: 15 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Orange County Convention Center
9800 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
1793 NC-3, B-15 Cent, Good 4
The Extremely Rare NC-3 Strawberry Leaf Cent
1793 1C Strawberry Leaf Good 4 PCGS. NC-3, B-15, Low R.8. Also, Pollock-17. Our EAC Grade Good 4. Ex: Dan Holmes Collection. Although a finer example exists with an EAC grade of VG7, this example has the sharpest detail of any existing Strawberry Leaf cent. The actual sharpness is at least Fine 12, or perhaps even finer. Both sides are covered in moderate corrosion that is a trifle stronger on the obverse. The fields are blue-steel, and the devices are light brown. The obverse has a tiny rim bruise over BE of LIBERTY and the reverse has a small rim bruise over ST of STATES. The date is distorted but readable, and the strawberry leaves are fully visible.

Breen Die State. There is no apparent die deterioration on any of the three known examples.

Commentary. For more than 60 years, the provenance of the unique NC-2 and this NC-3 have been nearly identical. The present sale may see the two pieces remain together, or may see them take separate paths.

While the Strawberry Leaf cents have been known by several names, and have been classed as various types of coins, from true cents, to contemporary counterfeits, to patterns, new evidence suggests that the pattern classification is most likely. The fact that none of the four known examples shows any evidence of die deterioration indicates that they were struck as samples of a proposed new design, and that design was discarded along with the dies.

The 2004 Study. At the 2001 ANA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, famous numismatic scholar Eric P. Newman suggested to Dan Holmes that an edge study of 1793 Wreath cents might reveal the true nature of the Strawberry Leaf cents. A little more than three years passed until that study finally took place in December 2004 at the American Numismatic Society. The study participants included Dan Holmes, who owned the two examples offered in the present sale, along with Bob Grellman, John Kleeberg, Jim Neiswinter, and Robert Hoge. Three of the four known Strawberry Leaf cents were together in one place, and Holmes had previously examined the fourth known piece, along with his two, at an October 2004 coin show. All participants agreed that the edges on all four known examples were identical. A report of the gathering appeared in the March 2005 issue of Penny-Wise.

The study participants continued with an examination of the edges of all other Wreath cent varieties. The researchers discovered that the Vine and Bars edge device of the Strawberry Leaf cents was identical to that found on S-5, S-6, S-7, S-10, S-11a, NC-4, and NC-5. A second edge device was used for S-8 and S-9. A further comparison showed that the edge device of S-8 and S-9 was also identical to the Vine and Bars edge found on the Chain cents.

The 2004 study suggested that a revised emission sequence for the Wreath cents might be in order. The meeting prompted John Kleeberg to discount his own work of the previous decade where he opined that the Strawberry Leaf cents were contemporary counterfeits. The Strawberry Leaf cents were clearly products of the Philadelphia Mint in 1793, and are likely patterns to suggest a design modification.

Provenance. William Rabin (who discovered this piece in Philadelphia and offered it for sale in the September 1941 issue of The Numismatist, page 736); James Kelly (5/1949), lot 1044; Floyd Tallmadge Starr (Stack's, 6/1984), lot 7; Isaac Tatnall Starr (6/12/1989); R.E. Naftzger, Jr. (2/23/1992); Eric Streiner; Jay Parrino (10/7/1995); Anthony Terranova (10/16/1994); Dan Holmes (Goldberg Coins, 9/2009), lot 8.
From The Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection. (Variety PCGS# 35483, Base PCGS# 1353)

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