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1809 1C MS62 Brown PCGS. S-280, B-1, R.2. ...

2008 February Long Beach, CA Signature Coin Auction #460

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Auction Ended On: Feb 15, 2008
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Long Beach Convention Center
100 S. Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802

Lot Viewing:
Room 103B,C (Tuesday Only)
Booth 400 (Wednesday - Saturday)

Auction Room:
Room 103 B,C

Impressive 1809 S-280 Cent
1809 1C MS62 Brown PCGS. S-280, B-1, R.2. Noyes AU50; tied for CC-7. Photo #36856. Our EAC Grade AU50.

Proskey 1; Doughty 210; McGirk 1A; Clapp 1; EAC 1; Encyclopedia 1775; PCGS #1546.

Repunched 9. High leaf below center of S. The obverse appears on S-280. The reverse appears on S-280.

An impressive piece with average surfaces for the grade. Cartwheel luster is present on both sides with mottled medium brown and tan on the obverse and darker olive color on the reverse. Although a few hair curls are slightly blunt, the strike is sharp overall, with strong star details and excellent leaf details. A few blemishes on each side are insignificant. Tiny marks on Liberty's neck and cheek are blended into the surrounding surface, only visible with magnification. The reverse has some roughness through many of the letters in the legend, again visible with a glass.

Die State IV. Raised ridges on the obverse are clearly visible through stars 11 and 12. The reverse has a prominent die crack from the base of E in STATES to a leaf below the final S. Faded clash marks are visible right of ONE CENT. The obverse has strong flowlines from the rim to the date and all stars, with some stars slightly distorted. The reverse has light flowlines between the letters and border.

Census. Del Bland records a dozen pieces in MS60 or finer grades, while the 12th finest in Bill Noyes' Census grades just AU50. Bland and Noyes agree that the piece illustrated by Noyes in his 1991 reference is the finest known.

Commentary. This date has always been considered a rarity, although an R.2 large cent variety is normally considered common. Since S-280 is the only known die variety for this date, the additional pressure from date collectors keeps demand high. Among Classic Head large cents, 1809 appears more frequently than any other date, principally due to its higher market value. As Pete Smith wrote in 1985: 'This is a case where marketability supersedes rarity."

The obverse has a repunched 9 prompting many older collectors to label this an "1809/8" overdate. Careful examination of the final digit clearly reveals that it is nothing more than a repunched 9. Frossard said nothing about an overdate or repunched date, merely exclaiming that "the date is remarkably large."

It appears that F.W. Doughty may have been responsible for the overdate description when he reported: "This obverse is said to have been sunk from the same hub as the die employed in 1808, the 9 at the end of the date having been cut over the 8, in order to hide which it was made larger than the other figures."

Provenance. New Netherlands (1953); Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 2845, $4,180; Bowers and Merena (9/1997), lot 297, $5,060.

Personality. Moritz Wormser was the founder of New Netherlands Coin Company, operated by his son Charles, but it was the collaboration of John J. Ford and Walter Breen that put this firm on the numismatic map. Breen was the researcher who would put everything he knew about a coin on a note card, while Ford created exceptional descriptions. The firm handled many important copper sales, including the collections of Hillyer Ryder, Boyd and Gaskill, Homer Downing, and duplicates of R.E. Naftzger, Jr. (Variety PCGS# 36466, Base PCGS# 1546)

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