1795 1C Lettered Edge. MS64 Brown PCGS. S-75, B-3, R.3....
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Equivalents. Proskey 2; Doughty 67; McGirk 2A; Clapp-Newcomb 3; EAC 3; Encyclopedia 1671; PCGS #1377.
Variety. Top of the 5 is buried in the bust. Double leaf at top of the right branch. The obverse appears on S-74 and S-75. The reverse appears on S-75. Lettered Edge.
Surfaces. Olive and lighter tan are blended over frosty surfaces. A short old scratch on Liberty's cheek will identify this famous cent. Low areas inside the wreath are related to striking and have no influence on the grade. Breen notes: "Sometimes found with foreign matter having adhered to the reverse die, so that areas around ONE CENT look as though flakes had come off the planchet."
Die State V. The obverse is buckled with considerable die rust through the date area. The reverse bulge at A is evident, although that letter is not obliterated as described by Breen for Die State VI.
Appearances. The obverse and reverse are illustrated in Noyes (2007).
Census. A solid Mint State piece, this cent is easily within the top 10 of the variety. Just one Gem is recorded by Bland, who lists two others as MS63.
Commentary. Sheldon-75 is clearly the most plentiful 1795 Lettered Edge variety. At least a dozen Mint State examples are known, more than the other three varieties combined, affording the collector an excellent opportunity to acquire an attractive example such as the present coin.
Provenance. Chapman Brothers (6/1906), lot 546, $40; Dr. George P. French (B. Max Mehl, 1929 FPL), lot 90, $225; H.A. Sternberg; J.C. Morgenthau (4/1933), lot 13, $37; Carl Wurtzbach; T. James Clarke (1950); Dr. William H. Sheldon (4/1972); R.E. Naftzger, Jr.; Auction '81 (Stack's), lot 1509; R.E. Naftzger, Jr. (2/1992); Eric Streiner (1/1994); Chris Victor-McCawley (9/1995).
Personality. Joseph Whitehead worked at the Mint for 81 days from June 20, 1793, until his death of yellow fever on September 23, 1793. Albion Cox made payment for his service to his widow. Whitehead and Joseph Wright were both victims of the yellow fever in 1793. Yellow fever was an annual epidemic that closed the Mint nearly every year during its first decade of operation, yet only a handful of employees lost their lives to the disease.
Henry William DeSaussure succeeded David Rittenhouse as the second director of the Mint. He was born in South Carolina on August 16, 1763, and died there on March 29, 1839. He participated as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, and was a prisoner of war after his capture circa 1781. His tenure at the Mint was extremely short, perhaps because he considered his background as a practicing attorney to be inappropriate for the position. He was known at the time for his legal abilities and strict ethics. DeSaussure served for just three months after his appointment on July 8, 1795. In South Carolina, he served for 18 years in the General Assembly. (Variety PCGS# 35717, Base PCGS# 1377)
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