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Condition Census 1793 S-11a Vine and Bars Cent, AU58
The Dr. French Specimen; Plated in Breen

1793 1C Wreath Cent, Vine and Bars AU58 PCGS. S-11a, B-16a, High R.4. The Breen Plate Coin. Breen Die State I with perfect dies aside from a faint reverse bulge between ONE and CENT. The S-11 die combination is known with three edge types, creating three different sub-varieties cataloged as S-11a (Vine and Bars edge), S-11b (Lettered edge with two leaves), and S-11c (Lettered edge with one leaf). Of the three, S-11a is clearly scarcer than the others.
Del Bland wrote in his Condition Census that this piece has "a long line-like planchet defect in the left obverse field." It is that planchet defect that positively identifies this as the Dr. French specimen, and the ANS replacement coin. The American Numismatic Society large cent episode involving Dr. Sheldon has been discussed many times, and needs little further discussion here. The ANS released this coin in exchange for the original Clapp Collection specimen that was removed from the museum several decades ago. The Clapp specimen carries an MS60 grade, while this piece carries an XF45 grade in the Bland Condition Census, and a conservative XF40 grade in the latest Noyes Condition Census. Our own opinion is in line with Del Bland, leaning toward the AU50 level.
The planchet defect that Bland discusses in no way detracts from the splendid appearance of this glossy cent. The olive-brown surfaces show faint iridescence, with reflective fields, traces of cartwheel luster, and bold devices. Traces of light orange appear on the obverse border outside the beads from 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock. Splashes of light orange patina appear behind TATES of AMER on the reverse. The surfaces are remarkable and far finer than most known examples of any 1793 Wreath cent. Based on the strict grading of early copper specialists, less than 20 Mint State Wreath cents exist of all die varieties, followed by about two dozen AU pieces. Most of the top grade pieces will be found in specialized collections, leaving few others for date and type collectors. We place this piece among the finest Wreath cents that are currently available in the market. MRB XF45.
Ex: Dr. George French (B. Max Mehl, 1929 Fixed Price List), lot 12; Henry Sternberg Collection (J.C. Morgenthau, 4/1933), lot 8; Dr. William H. Sheldon; Charles R. Mathewson; Copley Coin Company; Dr. William H. Sheldon; ANS; American Numismatic Rarities (7/2003), lot 107.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 223J, PCGS# 1347)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
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