Census-Level 1797 S-121b Gripped Edge Cent1797 1C Reverse of 1795, Gripped Edge. AU53 PCGS. S-121b, B-3b, R.3. Bland XF45; tied for CC-5. Noyes XF40; tied for CC-5. Photo #23958. Our EAC Grade XF45.
Equivalents. Proskey 1; Doughty 93; McGirk 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E; Clapp-Newcomb 3; EAC 3b; Encyclopedia 3b; PCGS #1416.
Variety. Close date. Reverse of 1795. The obverse appears on S-121a and S-121b. The reverse appears on 1796 S-90, 1797 S-120, S-121, and NC-1. Gripped Edge.
Surfaces. This example has a 29.1-mm diameter and weighs 169.7 grains. Lovely tan and chocolate-brown surfaces are nearly mark-free, with traces of luster remaining. A tiny mark above the top ribbon end in the left obverse field and a faint vertical planchet line between S and O verify the provenance.
Die State IV. The obverse die is extensively cracked, although the crack through ERT is not as well developed as the S-121a, above. The reverse is heavily clash marked.
Appearances. The obverse and reverse are illustrated in Noyes (2007).
Census. Two Mint State pieces and an AU are recorded by Bland; the AU in the ANS Collection.
Commentary. The S-120 and S-121 die combinations present the only opportunity for collectors to obtain a 1797 cent with the 1796 Reverse, identified by single leaves at the top of both branches of the wreath.
Provenance. Hollinbeck Stamp & Coin Co. (5/1950), lot 3839; Hollinbeck Stamp & Coin Co. (9/1951), lot 957; Hollinbeck Coin Co. (5/1953), lot 483; Glen Wallace; Abe Kosoff; RARCOA (5/1974), lot 838; C. Douglas Smith (8/1976); G. Lee Kuntz (Superior, 10/1991), lot 135, $6,050; Douglas F. Bird (8/1995); Dr. Philip W. Ralls.
Personality. The Governor & Company of Copper Miners was incorporated in the late 17th century, with operations in England, Ireland, and eventually Wales. The Mint purchased about 15 tons of copper from Governor and Company in two deliveries, dated October 16, 1796, and October 31, 1797. William Coltman was the Mint's contact. Coltman and Governor & Company were recommended by Thomas Clifford, who had sold copper to the Mint in February 1796. (NGC ID# 223Y, Variety PCGS# 35903, Base PCGS# 1416)
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