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Delightful 1797 Large Cent, MS65 Brown
S-135, From the Nichols Find

1797 1C Reverse of 1797, Stems MS65 Brown PCGS. S-135, B-5, High R.3. Several hundred high grade examples of 1796- and 1797-dated large cents exist today, due to the activities of Benjamin Goodhue and his descendants. Numismatic lore relates Goodhue, a congressman from 1789-1796 and a senator from 1796-1800, purchased a 1,000-piece bag of cents in 1797 directly from the Mint. Goodhue's daughters reportedly inherited this hoard of cents when he died in 1814, and the family held the coins for many years.
By the late 1850s, when coin collecting became popular in the United States, the hoard seems to have passed to a gentleman named David Nichols, of Gallows Hill, Massachusetts. Nichols reportedly distributed the coins through various channels during the years between 1858 and 1863, by which time the hoard was completely dispersed.
The story of this numismatic windfall was well known to the collecting fraternity, and early catalogers often referred to Goodhue when a particularly attractive specimen of these dates was sold at auction. For example, an early auction appearance of a 1797 large cent took place in the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (Woodward, 10/1864), lot 622. Woodward's description reads, "1797 Bright and uncirculated, almost proof, from the Goodhue hoard, now very rare." Later catalogers tended to associate the hoard with Nichols, and it is best known as the "Nichols Find" today.
The cents from the Nichols Find were struck on high-quality planchets manufactured by Matthew Boulton in Birmingham, England. Coins from the Nichols Find have characteristically smooth, glossy surfaces because of these superior planchets. The planchets arrived in April 1797, but the Mint closed for the summer, due to the epidemic of yellow fever, before any of the cents were struck. When the Mint resumed coinage in November, a large mintage of cents was accomplished, including some coins dated 1796. Goodhue must have purchased his bag of cents sometime after November 22, 1797, as this was the first date on which coins were delivered by the coiner.
The present coin is a representative of the S-135 variety, with an evenly spaced date, six berries on each wreath branch, and a wide 100 in the fraction on the reverse. Experts believe approximately 70 examples of S-135 exist in Mint State today. The coin is sharply struck overall, with just a touch of softness on the central hair curls and the high points of the leaves on the reverse. The coin is struck slightly off-center: The dentils are exceptionally long on the lower right obverse and upper right reverse. The surfaces are glossy light brown, with hints of original red around the dentils. A few flakes of obverse porosity are noted. Eye appeal is outstanding. EAC 63. Population: 8 in 65 Brown, 2 finer (2/09).
From The Joseph C. Thomas Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2242, PCGS# 1422)

View all of [The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part One ]

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2009
28th-3rd Tuesday-Sunday
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Rasmussen Special Edition Catalog
This hard bound volume contains the magnificent Wes Rasmussen Large Cent Collection, formed by a former President of the Early American Coppers society which was auctioned at the 2005 Florida United Numismatic Auction. Reserve your copy of this remarkable volume for just $75 today.
Rasmussen Signed Limited Edition Catalog
A hard bound limited library edition of the Wes Rasmussen Collection Catalog, signed by Wes Rasmussen, Mark Borckardt, Greg Rohan, and Denis Loring, is available while supplies last. Only 100 produced. Reserve your copy of this remarkable limited edition signed volume for just $150 today.

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